In Their Footsteps

Let the bicentennial celebration commence.

This fall Colby will begin “In Their Footsteps,” a year-long commemoration of the College’s 200th birthday. Four years in the making, the celebration will include a bicentennial launch in October on campus and in Waterville, a series of alumni events taking place throughout the year across the country and in London, and a Bicentennial Distinguished Lecture Series.

“Lots of work by lots of people over a long period of time,” said Sally Baker, vice president and secretary of the College and co-chair of the bicentennial planning committee.

Colby SealThe launch of the bicentennial will take place October 20, with a tailgate party at the Colby-Hamilton football game and the premier of In Their Footsteps, a documentary film commissioned by the College and shown at Railroad Square Cinema. Also that day, a commemorative bicentennial bench will be presented to the city. In addition, a reception and a faculty panel discussion will be held for area alumni and community members at the Hathaway Creative Center. An exhibit of Colby memorabilia prepared by the College’s Special Collections archivists will be on display at the center as well. “The theme is the Waterville-Colby connection,” said Margaret Bernier Boyd ’81, director of alumni and donor relations. “We want to highlight that strong relationship.”

An event commemorating the bicentennial of the College charter will be held Feb. 27 on campus, with a special address by President William D. Adams and performance of “Light of the Mind,” a work created by professors Lynne Conner (theater and dance) and Jonathan Hallstrom (music) for the occasion.

Baker said the theme “In Their Footsteps,” was chosen to recognize the individuals without whom Colby would not have moved forward. “They stepped in,” she said, “at significant moments.”

Not all of those who contributed to Colby’s success have been prominent, noted Clem Guthro, Colby’s director of libraries and co-chair of the bicentennial committee. Guthro also pointed out that the College’s long history means it has survived “some pretty dicey times. … The fact that we’re going strong after two hundred years, making an impact on the world—it’s definitely something to be celebrated,” he said.

Baker said the theme was chosen with the knowledge that contributions to Colby continue today. “The footsteps are not just behind us,” she said. “We’re leaving them, too.”

While events will include retrospection, they also will mark Colby’s milestone by looking forward. Looking forward, the lecture series will include several distinguished speakers sharing their vision of how the mission of the liberal arts college should evolve in the future.

Also looking to the future is a project that will create a time capsule containing materials meant to represent a cross section of Colby life today, including letters to the future from incoming Colby students.

A bicentennial website, which includes a timeline of Colby history, a detailed schedule of events, historic profiles of key alumni, and other related material, will be available at the beginning of the fall semester.