Presidential Highlights: William D. Adams

 President William D. Adams announced Jan. 9 that he will retire in 2014. Here is a look back at some of his most notable accomplishments.

  • Diversity

    In his inaugural address, in 2000, President Adams said a Colby education “will be multicultural and international in perspective, providing the intellectual foundations for engaging the cultural diversity and complexity of American society and the world.” During Adams’s tenure Colby’s diversity was enhanced along many dimensions, including the number of international students and the number of domestic students from traditionally underrepresented groups.

  • Museum of Art

    The Colby College Museum of Art was already considered one of the finest in Maine before it acquired the Lunder Collection of American Art, which has been valued at more than $100 million. In 2013 the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion will open, providing a showcase for the artworks and additional studio space and further enhancing the College's reputation in the visual arts. This architectural rendering shows the 26,000-square-foot expansion.

  • Sustainability

    President Adams saw the implementation of a campus greening initiative as a way to build on existing strength, and it was included in the strategic plan. A major component of Colby’s sustainability efforts is the biomass steam plant, which opened in 2012 and was expected to replace 1 million gallons of oil annually with byproducts from Maine’s forestry industry. This put Colby one step closer to its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral campus.

  • Environmental Studies

    President Adams’s commitment to building on Colby’s strong environmental studies tradition led the College to more than double the number of faculty positions in ES in the past two years and to create a marine conservation track within that program. A partnership with the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences established in 2010 provides students unique opportunities to work with Bigelow’s research scientists. Here, President Adams (top, second from left) accompanies Bigelow scientists and Colby students on a research trip.

  • Goldfarb Center

    A building to house social sciences and interdisciplinary programs was part of the strategic planning process that President Adams concluded in 2002. The Diamond Building, which opened in 2007, serves that purpose and is home to the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, founded, in part, in response to Adams’s call for emphasis on service learning.

  • Endowment Growth

    Since the inauguration of President Adams, Colby’s endowment has seen dramatic growth. The $376-million Reaching the World Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in the history of Maine, concluded in 2010.

  • Arts and Humanities

    A commitment to the fundamental liberal arts disciplines led Colby to establish a center for arts and humanities in 2012, thanks to a grant from the Mellon Foundation. Also, the cinema studies minor, first offered in 2011, provides students with another path through which to study the arts. Here, President Adams delivers an art talk in the museum about an exhibit he curated in 2012.

  • Athletics Improvements

    The 2002 strategic plan called for an artificial turf field. A decade later, Colby has not one but two state-of-the-art turf fields for use by varsity teams, intramural sports, and the community. The Harold Alfond Stadium, pictured here, and the Bill Alfond Field, expand opportunities for student athletes to practice.

  • Science Building

    A key priority of President Adams’s 2002 strategic plan was a new science building. Though the recession that began in 2008 delayed groundbreaking, construction of the science building began in 2012 and is slated for completion in 2014. This architectural rendering shows the building relative to the Diamond Building—across the Colby Green (also built during Adams's presidency).

  • Supporting Local Initiatives

    Under President Adams’s leadership Colby has supported numerous local projects, particularly those related to the arts and the outdoors. Railroad Square Cinema, the Waterville Opera House, the Maine Lakes Resource Center, Quarry Road Recreation Area, and others have benefited from Colby’s discretionary funds.

  • New Places

    Key initiatives established in the 2002 strategic plan were to create an effective gathering place for students and an alumni center. Pulver Pavilion, pictured here, has provided students with a campus center since its opening in 2007. The Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center opened in 2005 and is generally the first place alumni visit when they return to campus.