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A $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will provide funding for Colby College’s new Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement. The Mellon grant will be used to fund a series of programs during the first three years of the center’s existence.

The mission of the Goldfarb Center, established in 2003 as an initiative of the Strategic Plan for Colby, is to link teaching and research at Colby with contemporary political, economic and social issues and problems in ways that strengthen the undergraduate experience and enhance the national and international academic profile of the college, said L. Sandy Maisel, Colby’s William R. Kennan Jr. Professor of Government and the center’s inaugural director.

Most of the $300,000 Mellon Foundation gift will be used to start those programs that will be the core of Goldfarb Center activity, including collaborative faculty and student research, course development and visiting fellows, as well as conferences, lectures and seminars of interest to members of the surrounding community.

“We are extremely grateful to the Mellon Foundation for enabling us to jumpstart the Goldfarb Center’s programs,” Maisel said. “Colby students and faculty are poised to move off in new directions, to be involved with the communities in which they reside and, in turn, to involve those communities in our work.”

The Goldfarb Center was established through the generosity of Colby trustee William H. Goldfarb, a 1968 graduate, and it will coordinate resources including Maine’s first academic survey research center, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab, an auditorium, conference space and teleconferencing capabilities. The center, created to draw on Colby’s established strengths in the social sciences and closely related interdisciplinary programs, will be housed in a new social sciences and interdisciplinary studies building that is scheduled for construction beginning in 2005.