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The Diamond Family Foundation has made a $4-million donation to Colby College to support interdisciplinary study of the environment, energy policy, climate change and sustainability. Colby is a pioneer in
environmental studies as an undergraduate discipline and a national leader in environmental and sustainable campus initiatives. The gift will help to build the college’s strengths in these areas.

Robert E. Diamond Jr., President, Barclays PLC and a Trustee at Colby, announced the gift June 6, on the occasion of his 35th class reunion. The college, in consultation with the faculty and the Diamond family, will determine specific uses of the gift in the coming months.

“Colby’s extraordinary environmental curriculum was developed by outstanding faculty members who have approached sustainability, climate change, energy policy and broad environmental issues, very appropriately, as interdisciplinary challenges,” Diamond said. “These issues are critically important to the United States and to humankind, and there is no better solution for environmental challenges than giving the best young minds the best possible preparation within the context of a broad liberal arts education.”

Colby President William D. Adams said, “Bob Diamond is known around the world for his business acumen, and his investment in Colby’s environmental programs and curricula will elevate our already outstanding offerings to world-class status. The return will be Colby graduates who can truly make a difference on what sometimes seem to be intractable problems.”

The Diamond Family Foundation was established by Robert E. Diamond Jr. (Class of 1973) and his wife, Jennifer, to support educational and philanthropic initiatives. The new Diamond Family Foundation gift follows an earlier $6-million gift that the foundation made in 2003 to help finance the Diamond Building, a social science and interdisciplinary studies center and a landmark at the center of campus. The Diamond Building was designed to reduce energy use and environmental impact and was certified as a “green” building by the LEED program. The two gifts, totaling $10 million, are among
the largest donations Colby has received in its Reaching the World capital campaign.

At Colby, Diamond was an economics major. He earned an M.B.A. degree at the University of Connecticut, graduating first in his class. Diamond served on Colby’s Board of Overseers from 1990 to 1993 and joined the Board of Trustees in 1993.

As President of Barclays, the London-based international financial services business, Diamond oversees large international investment banking, investment management and wealth businesses with a presence in all major markets around the world. Barclays will open a customer-care center in Wilton, Maine, this month, with an initial workforce of 50 expected to quadruple over the coming decade.

Diamond began his career as a bond trader with Morgan Stanley, and went on to run major businesses at that firm, and then at Credit Suisse First Boston, before moving to Barclays in 1996. He and his wife have three children, one of whom will be a freshman at Colby and a member of the Class of 2012. 

Located on a 714-acre campus in central Maine, Colby is an ideal living laboratory for the study of environmental issues and has had programs in environmental studies since the early 1970s. It currently offers majors in environmental studies with a focus on either science or policy, and students may major in environmental science tracks in either biology or chemistry.

The college has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency,Maine governors, and the National Wildlife Federation for its commitment to sustainable practices, which include LEED certification for green buildings, leadership in use of green electric power, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, waste reduction and recycling.

Among many graduates who have gone on to careers in environmental arenas are Kent Wommack ’77, who has headed The Nature Conservancy in both Australia and in Canada, and Jonathan Fink ’73, director of the Global Institute of Sustainability and chief sustainability officer at Arizona State University.

More information is online.