Date: October 1998
Contact: Linda Goldstein
While the Boston Red Sox took the field at Fenway for their American League playoff game against Cleveland on Saturday, Sox part-owner Harold Alfond was in Waterville, Maine, to watch the Colby College White Mules football team in their home opener against Middlebury College. And to accept the college's thanks for $2.5 million he's donated toward Colby's newest building.
"To show you how important this is, I gave up the ballgame today to come," Alfond told almost 100 people gathered for the building's cornerstone ceremony.
Colby College announced Saturday that philanthropists Harold and Dorothy "Bibby" Alfond had donated the $2.5 million for the construction of a new on-campus apartment complex for college seniors. Under construction since last spring, "The Harold and Bibby Alfond Residence Complex" will open for next year's fall semester. The apartments are an integral component of a $40-million plan to upgrade residence halls and reconfigure campus housing so Colby can once again be a fully residential college.
"This really will be the crown jewel in Colby's master plan," for upgrading residence halls throughout the campus, said Joseph Boulos of Portland, a Colby trustee and president of The Boulos Companies real estate businesses.
Colby President William R. Cotter said, "Whenever anything needs to be done in Waterville, it is Harold and Bibby who have responded - again and again."
This gift from the Alfonds is the latest chapter in a history of major gifts to Colby going back half a century. Mr. and Mrs. Alfond have given the Alfond Ice Arena, the Alfond Arcade in the Bixler Art and Music Center and the Alfond Lounge in the Eustis administration building. Their challenge grants helped the college build an all-weather track and a sports-medicine facility. After a fire caused extensive damage to Wadsworth Gymnasium, the Alfonds donated $3 million that helped repair and renovate the athletic complex and added new locker rooms and a fitness center. The sports complex was renamed The Harold Alfond Athletic Center in 1994.
The $2.5 million for construction of the apartment complex brings the total of the Alfonds' gifts to improve Colby's facilities to more than $6 million since 1950. Their philanthropy at Colby also extends to scholarships, endowments and other grants.
Harold Alfond, a successful businessman who was the founder of Dexter Shoe Company, is a part-owner of the Boston Red Sox. Mrs. Alfond was a member of the Class of 1938 at Colby and the college gave Mr. Alfond an honorary doctorate in 1980. Their son William graduated from Colby in 1972 and granddaughter Jennifer graduated in 1992.
Among Maine's leading philanthropists, the Alfonds gave the naming gift to the new Harold & Bibby Alfond Youth Recreation Center that is under construction in Waterville and have contributed to colleges, universities and youth programs in New England and beyond. Last spring Mr. Alfond was recognized for his generosity and humanitarianism when he received a national Alexis De Tocqueville award from the United Way.