Colby is one of the nation’s preeminent liberal arts colleges. The breadth of resources available allow our students and faculty to reach their full potential through increased research, scholarship, and community engagement.
Founded in 1813, Colby is the 12th-oldest private liberal arts college in the country. Located in central Maine, our 714-acre Mayflower Hill campus overlooks downtown Waterville and the Kennebec River Valley.
Colby’s 2,000 students come from nearly every state and more than 70 countries to take advantage of our renowned academic programs, a curriculum that encourages educational exploration, and collaborative learning experiences led by world-class professors.
Our exploratory Jan Plan term, extensive study-abroad opportunities, and graduate-level research experiences are pillars of the Colby education. In both the classroom and the field, students work closely with professors—a collaboration that is transformational for both and often results in lifelong connections.
Co-curricular and campus life programs optimize learning opportunities and help students develop leadership and communication skills. Members of the Colby community come from a range of backgrounds and offer diverse perspectives. Every member of the community has different experiences to share, enriching classroom and dining hall discussions.
Our liberal arts curriculum, combined with many other facets of the Colby experience, prepares students for postgraduate success in nearly every field imaginable. Students graduate with the skills and experience that employers and grad schools desire.
ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS AND PROGRAMS
ADDITIONAL ACADEMIC OPPORTUNITIES
Professor Adrianna Paliyenko, Chair
- Creative Writing
- East Asian Studies
- French and Italian
- Religious Studies
- Theater and Dance
Professor Charles Connover, Chair
CENTER FOR THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES
“We aim to make the Humanities the conceptual and physical crossroads of the campus, where students and faculty meet to research, study, and debate topics of shared concern and to create a vibrant culture of creative and innovative work in the various fields that comprise the Arts and Humanities.”
—William D. Adams, President of Colby College (2000-2014)
The Center, established through an extraordinary grant in 2012 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, celebrates the pivotal role of the arts and humanities in the intellectual life of the College and the community, and it promotes the long-term benefits of the skills developed through humanistic research.
Each year, the Center hosts an annual theme with accompanying guest lectures, courses, humanities labs, and events. The 2017 Center for the Arts and Humanities theme, Origins, took an interdisciplinary look into where we come from and where our world is going. On April 3, 2018, Colby welcomed Dr. Cornel West to campus as the Center’s keynote speaker.
GOLDFARB CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs connects the Colby community to the world of public affairs and inspires active citizenship. Founded in 2003 with a generous gift from Colby Trustee William Goldfarb ’68, P ’00, the center aims to link the Colby community with local, state, national, and international leaders to explore creative, interdisciplinary approaches to complex challenges.
The Goldfarb Center strives to make a vital difference in the lives and educational experience of Colby students. Through hundreds of events featuring world leaders, innovative thinkers, influential politicians, and cutting-edge academics, the center has set a high standard for public affairs programming at a liberal arts institution. Through research grants, internship opportunities, and course development stipends, the center contributes to the intellectual life of the College in varied, significant ways.
OAK INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
“Colby proposes an institute for the study of international human rights be established that would bring to campus noteworthy practitioners in the field from various global venues…”
—William R. Cotter, President of Colby College (1979-2000)
In 1998, a generous grant from the Oak Foundation established the Oak Institute for Human Rights. The Institute champions the struggles for dignity, freedom and justice for people throughout the world.
Each year, the Oak Institute hosts an Oak Human Rights Fellow to teach and conduct research while residing at the College.
COLBY COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART
Founded in 1959 and now comprising five wings, nearly 8,000 works, and more than 38,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Colby College Museum of Art has built an important collection that specializes in American and contemporary art with additional, select collections of Chinese antiquities, European paintings, and works on paper. The Museum serves as a teaching resource for Colby College and is a major cultural destination for the residents of Maine and visitors to the state.
HISTORY OF THE COLBY COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART
1950s – 1980s
In the early 1950s Adeline and Caroline Wing gave paintings by William Merritt Chase, Winslow Homer, and Andrew Wyeth to Colby College. In 1956 Mr. and Mrs. Ellerton M. Jetté donated their American Heritage Collection, comprising 76 works by American folk artists. The next year the College received the Helen Warren and Willard Howe Cummings collection of American paintings and watercolors. Two years later, in 1959, the Museum opened its first official galleries in the Bixler Art and Music Center. The Jetté Galleries, a major addition designed by E. Verner Johnson and Associates, opened in 1973. In that same year Norma B. Marin and John Marin Jr. gave 25 works of art by John Marin. The John Marin Collection at the Colby College Museum of Art remains the largest collection of Marin’s work in an academic museum in the country. In 1984 the Museum celebrated its 25th anniversary with the exhibition, Portrait of New England Places, which covered a span of nearly 200 years in American art.
In 1991 the Museum expanded again, increasing the collection storage facilities and adding the Davis Gallery designed by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott of Boston. In 1992 the Museum received a gift of 414 works by Alex Katz from the artist. In 1996 the Museum inaugurated the Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz to house this collection. The collection now holds more than 800 works by the artist.
In 1999, with a lead gift from Peter and Paula Lunder, a new wing opened for the exhibition of Colby’s growing collection of American art. The Lunder Wing, designed by architect Frederick Fisher, comprises 13 galleries and 9,000 square feet of exhibition space for the Colby Museum’s growing collection.
2000 – PRESENT
In 2000 Richard Serra’s monumental 4-5-6 was installed in the Paul J. Schupf Sculpture Court. This three-part Corten steel sculpture dramatically anchors the courtyard and main entrance to the Museum. In 2002, on the Museum’s east lawn, Seven Walls, a concrete structure by conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, was installed with support for its construction provided by the Jere Abbott Acquisitions Fund.
In 2004, through a partial gift of the artist and Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), the Museum became the sole repository of the complete print oeuvre of Terry Winters. In 2006 Paul J. Schupf promised the Museum his collection of more than 150 works on paper and one sculpture by renowned American artist Richard Serra. This gift makes the Colby Museum one of the largest repositories of Serra’s works on paper.
In 2007 Peter and Paula Lunder, longtime benefactors of the Museum, promised their outstanding collection to Colby College. The gift included more than 500 works of art, the majority of them by American artists, as well as 40 exceptional examples of ritual and mortuary art that make up the Lunder-Colville Chinese Art Collection. In 2009 the College approved the designs for the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, named in recognition of a gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation and the partnership and friendship between Harold Alfond and Peter Lunder. Also in 2009 the Museum marked its 50th anniversary by presenting the exhibition Art at Colby: Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Colby College Museum of Art.
In July 2013 the Colby Museum inaugurated the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion. Refined and minimalist in design, the glass pavilion completes a circuit with the four existing wings of the Museum. The pavilion provides a spacious lobby that includes a sculpture gallery and terrace, as well as new exhibition galleries, classrooms, expanded collection storage, and staff offices. A three-story wall drawing by conceptual artist Sol LeWitt occupies the glass-enclosed stairwell. The pavilion’s upper floor is dedicated to the College’s Art Department, providing new studios for photography and fine art foundation classes.
LUNDER INSTITUTE FOR AMERICAN ART
The Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College was established in 2017 following a gift of over 1,150 works of art from Peter Lunder ’56, D.F.A. ’98, and Paula Lunder D.F.A. ’98. The transformational. $100-million gift of art, representing over 150 artists, includes paintings, sculptures, photography, and works on paper, including a 1501 Albrecht Dürer.
The Institute creates a unique space for scholarship, creative works, dialogue, and mentorship among visiting scholars and artists, Colby faculty and students, and the central Maine community; facilitates institutional exchange in the United States and internationally; and trains future leaders in the field of American art through the Colby Museum and partner institutions around the world.
To advance critical and creative research in American art and related fields, the Institute hosts a residential program for scholars and artists on campus and in downtown Waterville. Residencies are offered to graduate students, scholars, curators, and emerging and internationally renowned artists who may develop new site-specific works on campus and in the community.
COLBY COLLEGE LIBRARIES
“Pivotal to my development as a student was direct access to the resources of Miller Library. I spent hundreds of hours there, particularly during my senior year, when I pursued an honors thesis on Maine’s politics during the early nineteenth-century. My experience with that thesis persuaded me to pursue graduate study in history and to concentrate my work on the early American republic. The collection at Miller Library proved essential to the first three articles that I published including one that derived from my honors thesis.”
—Alan Taylor ’77, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Chair, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia, and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History
Iconic Miller Library, at the heart of campus, houses materials in the social sciences and humanities. During your visit, be sure to see the beautifully restored Brewster Reading Room, with its wonderful view of hills to the east.
Miller Library is also home to Special Collections, which is partnered with the Libraries’ digital production workshop to increase availability of their unique holdings. Explore the rich List of Manuscript Collections and enjoy multi modal electronic access to portions of the Wesley McNair Collection. Learn more about their Services to Alumni.
Colby has been a pioneer in committing to environmental sustainability both academically and institutionally, reaching carbon neutrality in 2013—the fourth college in the United States to do so.
Our historical commitment to green values has made Colby a leader in environmental initiatives—many of which were spearheaded by students and faculty in the Environmental Studies Program.
The entirety of Colby’s 714-acre campus is a State Wildlife Management Area, 128 acres of which constitute Colby’s Perkins Arboretum, a wildlife refuge and bird sanctuary. The Arboretum is used academically as an outdoor laboratory and recreationally for cross-country running and skiing.
The Colby-Marston Preserve is a 34-acre classic kettle-hole sphagnum bog and is National Park Service Registered National Natural Landmark.
COLBY GRANTS FOUNDERS’ CIRCLE
These organizations are recognized for their outstanding support of Colby teaching, research, and innovative programs that have had lasting impact:
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Borman Family Foundation
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
Davis Educational Foundation
E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation
F.M. Kirby Foundation
Harold Alfond Foundation
Henry Luce Foundation
James S. McDonnell Foundation
Margaret A. Cargill Foundation
Sherman Fairchild Foundation
Learning By Giving Foundation
William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust
COLBY GRANTS PRESIDENTS’ CIRCLE
These organizations are recognized for their extraordinary commitment to Presidential initiatives since July 1, 2000:
Alex Katz Foundation
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Bernard Osher Foundation
Charles Irwin Travelli Foundation
Davis United World College
Elfrieda Frank Foundation
George I. Alden Trust
Harold Alfond Foundation
Henry Luce Foundation
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Joan Whitney Payson Foundation
Louis Calder Foundation
Sam L. Cohen Foundation
Smart Family Foundation
Thomas J. Watson Foundation
William Randolph Hearst Foundation