Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs
The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs connects the Colby community to the world of public policy, inspires active citizenship, and fosters discussion about creative, interdisciplinary approaches to complex societal challenges through a nonpartisan, inclusive approach that welcomes every opinion as part of a healthy discourse. Our events include world leaders, innovative thinkers, influential politicians, community activists, and cutting-edge academics. Founded in 2003 with a generous gift from Colby Trustee William Goldfarb ’68, P’00, the center is also known for providing grants to support student research and internships and fostering the leadership skills of Colby students through the Goldfarb Student Executive Board.
The Goldfarb Center events include world leaders, innovative thinkers, influential politicians, community activists, and cutting-edge academics from across fields and disciplines discussing the most pressing issues in public affairs. The center’s Faculty Advisory Board and Student Executive Board help plan and execute events that foster a quality of connection and depth of engagement between speakers and audience.
Annual flagship events include the William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate Series and the Senator George J. Mitchell Distinguished International Lecture Series. The center is also highly engaged with supporting prominent award ceremonies on campus such as the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism and the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Award for Judicial Service.
Each spring, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs sponsors a Freedom of Expression Symposium and prize competition on a current topic in public discourse. Students compete for up to $2,000 in prize money by crafting innovative policy proposals and giving public presentations that respond to a topic selected by Goldfarb’s Student Executive Board.
Unique Experiences, Funding Opportunities
In collaboration with DavisConnects, the center facilitates and funds Jan Plan internships in Washington, D.C., designed to provide students with exposure to paths for public affairs-related career opportunities as well as to gain skills needed to succeed in careers in this field.
In addition, dozens of student internships and research projects are funded each year through the Goldfarb Center’s Sandy Maisel Student Internship and Research Grants, thanks to the generosity of alumni seeking to honor Professor Maisel, the Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of American Government, Emeritus, and founding director of the Goldfarb Center.
This support allows Colby students to build on their classroom experience with hands-on opportunities throughout the United States and abroad. Awards are intended to encourage students to explore internship opportunities related to public affairs; funds may also be used to support research in public affairs, such as a senior thesis.
Each spring, the Goldfarb Center awards the $5,000 Franko-Maisel Prize for Public Policy to a graduating senior planning to pursue a career in public policy who exemplifies a commitment to public affairs. The award is made in honor of Professors Maisel and Patrice Franko, the Grossman Professor of Economics, director of the Global Studies Program, and former director of the Goldfarb Center.
The Goldfarb Student Executive Board works directly alongside Goldfarb Center staff to deliver and execute a slate of robust programming. All students are welcome to join the Goldfarb Center, and they can self-nominate to be a part of the executive board, which helps guide programming and has unique opportunities to engage with Colby leadership and guest speakers from Goldfarb events. Goldfarb student leaders meet weekly and participate in activities to build and challenge their leadership abilities. By engaging in high-profile events and taking advantage of internships and research opportunities, Goldfarb Center students develop the ability to lead and influence tomorrow’s policy agenda.