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WATERVILLE, ME, November 21—Three years ago Colby College began the largest campaign in liberal arts college history, Dare Northward, with a $750-million goal. On Wednesday the College announced it reached a key milestone, $500 million, with contributions from more than 20,000 donors. Though not yet complete, Dare Northward is having an extraordinary impact on Colby students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community.
“The acts of generosity that sustain and propel this institution are truly remarkable,” said President David A. Greene. “The College has never been stronger in the quality of its academic programs and student experience, and we are deeply grateful to every member of the Colby community who is making this journey possible.”
The campaign has supported strategic growth of the faculty including an almost 15-percent increase in positions. This has resulted in an expansion of curricular offerings and Colby’s research profile in fields such as computational biology and genomics, environmental humanities, and data science. Growth of the faculty also expands many departments and programs, including creative writing, art, computer science, mathematics and statistics, and global studies. Partnerships between Colby and world-class institutions, including the Jackson Laboratory and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, are providing students with research experience and the ability to make important contributions to areas of critical concern in today’s world.
Colby’s DavisConnects program, another important result of Dare Northward, makes access to research, internship, and global opportunities universal to the student experience. Last year 93 percent of students engaged with DavisConnects, and the program has provided significant funding for these experiences, which greatly enrich student learning and position students for successful careers. The new Linde Packman Lab for Biosciences Innovation and the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment are also connecting students to a rapidly changing world and preparing them to solve the most vexing issues of our time.
Through the Dare Northward campaign, Colby has taken a larger leadership role in higher education by announcing two new financial aid programs, and it continues to be one of the few colleges in the country to replace student loans with grant aid. As part of the Colby Commitment, families with a total household income of $60,000 or less and typical assets now expect a parent or guardian contribution of $0. And because of a wonderful gift to establish the Fair Shot Fund, families earning up to $150,000 with assets typical of that range can expect a parent or guardian contribution of $15,000 or less a year.
Colby’s commitment to the local community, which is bringing new energy to Waterville and deepening the connection between Colby and the city, has received important support from Dare Northward. Initiatives include the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons in downtown Waterville, which opened in 2018 and is home to 200 students, faculty, and staff who are active in the community through new and reimagined programs in civic engagement. Last year Colby students contributed approximately 27,000 hours of community service working in partnership with a multitude of organizations and individuals in the Central Maine region. The Lockwood Hotel and Paul J. Schupf Art Center will join Alfond Commons in the coming years to continue to make Waterville a dynamic place to live and work.
Dare Northward is also supporting the arts and athletics. The new Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts is in the final stages of design. It will, along with the singular assets and benefits of the Colby College Museum of Art and the Lunder Institute for American Art, place the arts at the center of Colby’s liberal arts education. The museum’s collection and its engagement with the community have also expanded with support from the campaign.
Scheduled to open in 2020, a new 350,000-square-foot athletics center will be an important asset to Colby and the local community. The athletics center will join the College’s newly constructed fields for baseball, softball, field hockey, and lacrosse, which are already attracting hundreds of visitors to the region annually. Particularly after the athletics center opens, that number will continue to grow.
Significant investments are also being made in areas such as academic advising, counseling, and enhanced social and community spaces to help integrate academic, social, and extracurricular life at the College.
To meet its ambitious goals, the Dare Northward campaign will need to raise an additional $250 million towards its $750-million goal by June 30, 2023. “We’ve made great progress over the last three years, but we’re not done,” said Greene. “We’re going to ensure that Colby is a leader in higher education for generations to come, and that means there is much more work ahead. I’ve learned never to underestimate the passion and determination of the Colby community, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in the years ahead.”