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Colby College in Waterville, Maine, begins a new year by launching the public phase of a $235-million capital campaign with events in Boston on January 20 and in New York January 26. Reaching the World: A Campaign for Colby is designed to bolster the college’s financial aid resources, to grow its endowment, and to build new facilities necessary to keep the college on the list of America’s finest campuses.

A major emphasis of the initiative is access — expanding financial aid funds to ensure that the best-qualified and most-deserving applicants can attend Colby, regardless of their families’ ability to pay, said Colby President William D. Adams.

“This college has serious aspirations,” Adams said. “We need to attract the best students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and we are determined to equip our students with the best possible preparation for facing the challenges of the twenty-first century.”

The Reaching the World campaign will run through 2010. Joseph Boulos, chair of Colby’s Board of Trustees, announced that almost half of the goal was raised during the quiet phase of the campaign. As of December 22, Colby has raised $115 million of the $235-million goal in gifts and pledges, Boulos said.

Adams explained that the fund-raising goals of Colby’s Reaching the World campaign are tied closely to the college’s strategic plan, adopted in 2002. The Plan for Colby provides a blueprint for new facilities, curricular innovations, richer student life and culture, increased financial strength, and enhanced connections to Waterville and Central Maine. The capital campaign is structured to fund those initiatives, with $30 million slated for new facilities, $115 million for new endowment, and $90 million for current operating support.

Colby’s endowment, which has grown from $162 million ten years ago to $424 million at the end of fiscal year 2004-05, remains smaller than the endowments of most of the college’s peers in higher education. College endowments operate like any savings or investment portfolio: the principal is invested and grows over time, while a small percentage is spent each year to fund a portion of the annual operating budget.

The campaign kickoff events are designed to galvanize support for the capital campaign and to communicate Colby’s strengths, its aspirations, and what it needs to stay competitive, said Richard A. Ammons, vice president for college relations. Events at the State Room in downtown Boston on January 20 and at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center in New York on January 26 are expected to draw hundreds of Colby alumni and supporters from those metropolitan areas to help launch Colby’s Reaching the World capital campaign.

For information about the campaign visit http://www.colby.edu/campaign.