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Colby College President William D. Adams has announced the creation of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, an innovative academic initiative designed to engage students and faculty in projects in the local community, the state of Maine, the nation and other countries where they study and work.

The Goldfarb Center will mount its inaugural event in October—a symposium on journalism—and will launch a full program of events and opportunities in the spring term.

The center is named for William H. Goldfarb of Avon, Conn., a 1968 graduate of Colby and a 17-year member of the Colby Board of Trustees who made a major gift to the college to help build a new social sciences and interdisciplinary studies building that will house the Goldfarb Center. Goldfarb is a principal with HRW Resources, Inc., a real estate investment firm in Farmington, Conn. His daughter Paula Goldfarb graduated from Colby in 2000. Both graduated as government majors.

The Goldfarb Center will allow students and faculty from various disciplines and interdisciplinary departments to work together on important problems at all levels of society. Its mission is to link teaching and research with contemporary political, economic and social issues and problems in ways that strengthen the undergraduate experience, assist research efforts of faculty and provide resources for the policy communities that faculty and students can serve.

“I think the Goldfarb Center is going to provide extraordinary opportunities for students and faculty to expand their classroom work beyond the campus into institutions and arenas as close-by as the local service organizations and as far flung as South Africa and Asia,” said President William D. Adams. “Among Colby’s most dramatic strengths are its outstanding faculty and its tradition of service, which sees faculty and students playing important roles in local and national initiatives and dialogues. The Goldfarb Center is designed to build on those strengths, and in doing so it will further strengthen the unique learning experiences that Colby offers,” he said.

L. Sandy Maisel, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Government at Colby, was named the first director of the Goldfarb Center. “My colleagues and our students are tremendously grateful to Bill Goldfarb for his generosity and his commitment to Colby,” Maisel said. “We are very excited about the opportunities that the Goldfarb Center will provide for us to be involved in public affairs—here in Waterville, in Maine, in Washington, and really throughout the world.”

Goldfarb Center programs will include seminars and conferences on campus and research projects on campus and elsewhere, Maisel said. All will involve collaboration among faculty and students. There will be a Goldfarb Center Fellows Program, which will start by bringing two former members of Congress to Colby this spring. The Goldfarb Center also will coordinate internship and outreach efforts to promote student and faculty engagement in local and statewide agencies and programs.

Facilities for use by the center are on the drawing board and include auditorium and conference space as well as research facilities, such as a professional survey laboratory for data gathering and analysis. The latter would allow students to work with outside entities to conduct surveys and analyze results.

“For many years I’ve been impressed by, and very proud of, the truly excellent faculty at Colby and the way the professors combine teaching with important work beyond the campus,” Goldfarb said. “Their engagement in the world is evident in examples ranging from involvement in local community initiatives to high level policy work in Washington.”

“I am delighted to help provide a platform that will enhance their efforts, and, I hope, to gain recognition for the tremendous jobs our professors do for Colby and the nation,” Goldfarb said.

Colby College, located in Waterville, Maine, is a private liberal arts college founded in 1813. It currently enrolls 1,800 undergraduates. This fall Colby is breaking ground on a multi-million-dollar campus expansion to make room for several new buildings including the social science and interdisciplinary studies building that will house the Goldfarb Center.