As Colby College’s 20th president since 2014, David A. Greene has been executing an ambitious program for ensuring Colby’s place among the world’s finest liberal arts colleges. Colby, long an innovator in higher education, is distinctive in the ways it connects the liberal arts to the world. The investments underway are designed to enhance Colby’s intellectual culture, which is defined by the rigor of its academic programs and its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Current projects in support of those goals include expanding resources for and the ranks of the faculty, strategic partnerships to broaden opportunities for students, and major facilities projects to support educational and campus life programs.
Among facilities projects underway and in planning are a major arts and innovation center and a completely new athletic complex. Colby recently completed construction on a downtown apartment complex for students and faculty focused on civic engagement and community partnership and a center to support global, research, internship, and postgraduate experiences for students. And an outdoor competition center was completed in 2017 that includes a first-in-NESCAC baseball and softball complex featuring separate artificial turf fields and state-of-the-art fields for soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and rugby.
Recognizing that a vibrant downtown Waterville is critical to both the region and to Colby, Greene has worked with city leaders to make downtown revitalization a priority. The College’s early action, including the redevelopment of key properties downtown, has spurred additional private investment in real estate and economic activity on and around Main Street. Colby renovated a historic bank building downtown into a technology center that houses CGI Group Inc., which has plans to create 200 technology jobs in Waterville, a business incubator space, and restaurants on the ground floor. Colby is also working to develop a boutique hotel downtown.
A major priority in his administration has been to advance the College’s efforts around diversity and inclusion and investment in programs to increase its global focus. Greene led the creation of DavisConnects, an innovative program that guarantees funded global experiences for Colby students and supports internships and research opportunities through partnerships with corporations and nonprofit and civic organizations. Partnerships also support the Colby Labs, such as the Buck Lab for the Environment and Climate Change, a new initiative Greene spearheaded to create multidisciplinary connections around major global challenges and to facilitate funded internships, research, and global experiences for students.
Greene has led outreach efforts to communicate the value and impact of a Colby education, which resulted in more than doubling the number of students seeking admission to Colby in the past three years. These efforts produced the most academically prepared and diverse classes in the College’s history. Colby has realized exceptional support for its programs, setting institutional records for funds raised over the past two consecutive years.
Before arriving at Colby, Greene was executive vice president of the University of Chicago and, prior to that, served in leadership roles at Brown University and Smith College. At the University of Chicago he led high-priority initiatives including revitalization of community and commercial areas in Hyde Park, near the university’s campus; a master plan to support $3 billion in infrastructure improvements and expansion including residence halls, research buildings, clinical care facilities, and art centers; an affiliation with the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole and establishment of the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics; and development of new research and teaching centers in Chicago, New Delhi, and Beijing.
Greene received a bachelor’s degree in history from Hamilton College and a master’s degree in human development and psychology from Harvard University before earning a master’s and a doctoral degree in education and social policy at Harvard. In addition to the economics of education, his research interests include social and political movements and their influence on individuals and institutions.