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A significant new gift to Colby College will go entirely to support financial aid for students from Maine, the College announced April 19.

The $2.5-million commitment from Steve Ford ’68, P’05 and Mary Ford P’05 is only the most recent support that Ford, a native of Gardiner, Maine, has provided to Maine students at Colby, where he received financial aid and where he has strong family ties.

Ford, a member of the Colby Alumni Council Executive Committee, president of his class and its 50th Reunion chair, has donated more than $3.5 million to his alma mater.

“Colby helped me financially so I was able to attend,” Ford said. “It was important to me that the College invested in me, so I want to give back.”

The Fords, who say giving to Colby is a way to honor both Colby and their family, have contributed to Colby for the past several decades, including the last 37 consecutive years. Their son Bill Ford graduated in 2005, and Steve’s father, William Ford, graduated in 1926. In 2013 Steve was granted a Colby Brick Award for consistent dedication to the College.

“Steve and Mary have been among Colby’s most generous and committed supporters,” said President David A. Greene. “Between their consistent giving, volunteer engagement, and now an incredibly generous gift in support of Colby’s mission to ensure that this education is fully accessible to students from all backgrounds, the Fords are making a remarkable difference at Colby. We are especially grateful that this gift supports Colby’s commitment to the students from our home state of Maine.”

The Fords have also been seasonal residents of Maine for nearly 40 years. Steve Ford had a lifelong career as a corporate attorney, including 20-plus years with Scott Paper and S.D. Warren, working with their Maine operations and timberlands.

“Steve has an incredible history of volunteer leadership at Colby, and he and Mary have been loyal supporters for many years,” said Dan Lugo, vice president of college advancement. “His family connection with the College is a long one—nearly 100 years—and this gift is just the latest example of the Ford family giving back. We are grateful for their generosity and for all that it will mean to students from Maine for generations to come.”

Colby currently offers about $6 million per year in financial aid to students from Maine, who make up about 10 percent of the student population. Currently, there are 211 Maine students at Colby, with 53 Mainers scheduled to graduate in May with the Class of 2018.

Colby meets the full demonstrated financial need of all students, without loans. Under a recent expansion of its financial aid program, Colby guarantees that for families with an income of $60,000 or less, the expected parent or guardian contribution will be $0. The median household income in Maine is $53,079.

The Colby Class of 1968, celebrating its 50th Reunion in June, is currently breaking gift records. The class reunion-gift total is nearly $16 million.