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Colby College President William D. Adams announced today that theĀ  Board of Trustees approved an increase in the College’s current “Reaching the World” fund-raising campaign to $370 million. The new goal makes Colby’s effort the largest fund-raising campaign in Maine history. The previous goal, announced in October 2005, was $235 million in gifts and pledges to be raised by 2010 — then the most ambitious fund-raising campaign in Colby’s history.

“Raising the goal is just one indication of how bullish our community is about Colby,” said Joseph Boulos, chair of Colby’s Board of Trustees. “We are focused on improving what we do best — providing a transformative educational experience to students who go on to be citizens of the world. We are raising funds to further strengthen everything we do and to improve access to one of the finest liberal-arts educations in the world.”

This news comes on the heels of Colby’s announcement earlier this month of the largest gift in its 194-year history: more than 500 objects, with 464 works by American masters including John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, George Inness, William Merritt Chase, Winslow Homer, Paul Manship, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, and Jenny Holzer. A crucial area of the collection is 201 prints by James McNeill Whistler, the largest single collection of art by Whistler to be given to an American academic museum. The gift comes from Peter and Paula Lunder, art collectors and long-time supporters of the College and the Colby College Museum of Art.

“The Lunders’ gift gives us tremendous momentum going forward,” Adams said, “and Colby’s trustees and alumni are inspired by it. We are excited to be lifting our aspirations so dramatically.”

In addition to the Lunder gift, the College has raised $153 million toward its original campaign goal. This includes $34.9 million in financial aid endowment. Funds have been raised for the construction of important campus facilities, including a $5.7-million alumni and development center (opened in 2005), a $2.5-million synthetic turf athletic field (2004), and a $14.5-million academic building for the social sciences and interdisciplinary studies (April 2007). In the fall, a $10-million, 8,000-square-foot addition to the student union will open, followed by a bookstore addition the next year.

The campaign increase includes fund-raising goals for the construction of a $6.5-million exhibition space to house the works donated by the Lunders and for establishing a $3-million endowment fund for operation of the new space. The additional space will give the museum the largest gallery space for art in the state of Maine.

By raising the overall fund-raising goal, Colby maintains its pursuit of strategic goals outlined in The Plan for Colby, developed in 2001 as a master blueprint for the College as it faces the challenges of a premier liberal arts institution: increasing endowment for financial aid, faculty support, academic and campus life, and facilities; funds for building new facilities; and unrestricted annual gifts supporting the College’s operations.