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Less than a month after announcing plans for an ambitious expansion of its campus, Colby College in Waterville, Maine, has received a $6-million gift for one key academic building in the new campus district.

Colby President William Adams announced that the Diamond Family Foundation tendered the gift this month toward construction of a new social sciences and interdisciplinary studies building. The Diamond Family Foundation was established by Robert E. Diamond Jr. (Class of 1973) and his wife, Jennifer, for the purpose of supporting educational and philanthropic initiatives.

The foundation’s grant is one of the largest ever received by the liberal arts college.

At Colby, Robert Diamond was an economics major and he earned an M.B.A. degree at the University of Connecticut. The building he has funded will house several social science departments as well as the Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights and the new Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, an innovative interdisciplinary program that will capitalize on the college’s strengths in policy matters and in civic participation at the local, state and national levels.

The building will be located on the proposed Colby Green, across Mayflower Hill Drive from Colby’s Eustis Administration Building. Construction of Colby Green, the site for several new buildings proposed in the college’s strategic plan, will begin this summer. Construction of the social sciences and interdisciplinary studies building will commence once groundwork is complete and fund raising for the academic building is wrapped up. The total project cost for the building is $12 million, and college officials said construction is likely to begin in 2005 or 2006.

In 1993, during Colby’s last capital campaign, Diamond endowed a faculty position in the humanities division and named the endowed chair in memory of his father, a former school superintendent and principal in Massachusetts. That gift of more than a million dollars created the Robert E. Diamond Professorship of Humanities, currently held by Jane Moss, the Robert E. Diamond Professor of Women’s Studies and French.

“Bob and Jennifer Diamond’s dedication to Colby has been extraordinary,” President Adams said. “This gift is remarkable both in its magnitude and its capacity to change Colby for the better. Not only will this new building create tremendous opportunities for our students and the community, but the gift lays the groundwork for a broader campaign that will underwrite other ambitious aspirations in our strategic plan.”

“Bob Diamond’s loyalty to this institution over many years has been demonstrated in the generous measure of time he spends helping govern the college, in the world-class expertise he provided as chair of our investment committee, and in his generous financial support over the years,” Adams said. “Support like this is critical if we are to sustain the rigorous liberal arts experience that we provide here and that has such a powerful effect on students’ lives.”

Diamond’s service to the college includes three years on the Board of Overseers and a nine-year term on the Board of Trustees, during which he was named chair of the Investment Committee. He recently was reappointed as a Colby trustee and began a new term in May.

As chief executive of Barclays Capital, Diamond runs a major international investment bank with a presence in all major markets around the world. He also is chairman of Barclays Global Investors, the company’s asset management division. He has been with the firm since 1996, when he joined BZW, a former branch of Barclays, as chief executive of global markets. Before that he was vice chairman and head of global fixed income and foreign exchange at Credit Suisse First Boston. He began his career as a bond trader with Morgan Stanley, where he later served as a managing director in London. In 1990 he served as a member of the New York Stock Exchange’s delegation to Moscow.

As a leader on Colby’s Board of Trustees, Diamond was heavily involved in a recent strategic planning process that created a blueprint for the growth of the college’s programs and facilities over the next 10 years. The building for social sciences and interdisciplinary studies is one of four new buildings proposed in the plan. The Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, which will be based in the building, is one of six planned programmatic initiatives to enrich Colby’s rigorous academic profile.