Kate Carlisle (

Colby has received an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development of a campus-wide multidisciplinary initiative in environmental humanities.

This award will allow faculty and students in Colby’s arts and humanities programs to bring the perspectives of their disciplines to environmental topics in new ways, in partnership with the College’s already well-known Environmental Studies Program.

The grant will build upon key strengths of the College fostered by previous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has supported Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Colby College Museum of Art.

“In the years ahead humanities at Colby will play a crucial role in an expanded effort to study the environment and human responses to environmental change,” said President David A. Greene. “We will be investing in faculty and students in the humanistic disciplines to bring a range of perspectives — artistic, cultural, ethical, historical, and literary — to environmental topics.”

Colby’s interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program has a strong focus on the natural and social sciences and is one of the nation’s oldest programs of its kind. It has grown significantly over time and is now the fourth largest major on campus. The program has focused on pressing global issues, tying academic training with field research and partnering with preeminent institutions, including the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

The new initiative will allow Colby to bring the strengths of the College’s arts and humanities programs to bear on these pressing issues as well. Colby scholars — both scientists and humanists — will collaborate on innovative solutions to global environmental challenges, connecting the liberal arts to the world.

“Scientific data alone has not changed human behavior,” said Colby Provost and Dean of the Faculty Lori G. Kletzer. “A strong environmental humanities program will prepare Colby students to join the next generation of leaders who are tackling global environmental questions.”

Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at