Colby Receives $7-Million Gift to Expand Access for Maine Students

Announcements4 MIN READ

Bangor and Waterville Students First In Line for New Financial Aid Fund

Contact: George Sopko ([email protected]) 207-859-4346
October 4, 2021

Colby College is delighted to announce that it has received a $7-million gift for financial aid that will further enhance the College’s commitment to increase access and affordability to the most talented students from all backgrounds. The generous gift, from the George G. Petrikas Revocable Trust, will establish the George G. Petrikas Financial Aid Fund designed to support high school graduates from Bangor or Waterville who enroll at Colby. Should no student meet either criterion in a given year, the fund may award financial aid to Maine students who are graduates of high schools in Kennebec, Penobscot, or Somerset counties. If again no students are eligible, financial aid will then open to graduates of any Maine high school.

“Increasing access for talented students from Maine, particularly those from our local communities, is extremely important to the College,” said Vice President and Chief Institutional Advancement Officer Matt Proto. “Colby has a long history with and commitment to Waterville, central Maine, and the broader state. This gift allows us to continue to expand opportunities for great students in those areas to benefit from the distinctive elements of a Colby education.” 

A Maine native, George Petrikas ’56 was the son of Bangor residents George A. and Anthoula (Pepris) Petrikas. He was educated in the local school system and graduated from Bangor High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Colby, where he was a member of the track team for two years. With a quiet and reflective nature, Petrikas was a voracious reader and an avid Red Sox fan who carried a lasting connection to the Waterville community. 

Petrikas served in the U.S. Army in the 1950s, and for many years helped run his family’s restaurants: Atlantic Sea Grill in Bangor and Park’s Diner, a 24-hour restaurant housed inside an actual railroad car that was a popular spot for Colby students and Waterville residents. Petrikas passed away in 2019 at the age of 85. 

“We are so grateful to Mr. Petrikas for his commitment to providing greater opportunities to students from Maine to attend Colby,” said Assistant Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid and Dean of Admissions Randi Arsenault ’09. “Gifts like this one not only highlight the profound impact Colby has on its community, but they further our efforts to enroll the most talented students from all backgrounds and create long-lasting benefits that extend well beyond campus.” 

A National Leader in Access and Affordability

The College’s ability to expand its financial aid programs reflects a community of passionate and generous donors such as George Petrikas. Since the start of the Dare Northward campaign in 2017, more than $63 million in financial aid gifts have been made, with donors raising more than $16 million to support Maine students alone.

The George G. Petrikas Financial Aid Fund further enhances Colby’s position as a national leader in access and affordability. Through innovative financial aid programs, along with leading admissions and outreach efforts, the College has continually enrolled great students from all backgrounds. This year’s first-year class—the largest class in the College’s history with 667 students—is the most recent example of those efforts, with members selected from a record-setting 15,857 applicants. 

Key financial aid initiatives supporting these students include the Colby Commitment, which positions Colby as one of a small group of highly selective schools to meet 100 percent of demonstrated need without loans—providing students the opportunity to graduate without loan debt. If a student’s family has a total income of $65,000 or less, approximately the median household income in the U.S., and assets typical of that range, the College guarantees a parent or guardian contribution of $0. For families earning up to $150,000 with assets typical of that range, Colby’s Fair Shot Fund ensures the parent or guardian contribution will be capped at $15,000. Based on the latest United States Census Bureau data, this makes the cost of a Colby education accessible to most U.S. families, and in many instances more affordable than attending public institutions.

The Class of 2025 will also have the opportunity to experience a wide range of new programs, buildings, and initiatives that set the College apart from its peers. Highlights include the recently announced Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, which is the most advanced and comprehensive D-III facility in the country, and the recently opened Greene Block + Studios for artistic creation, innovation, and community interaction in downtown Waterville. Colby’s deep commitment to the arts can also be seen in the recent groundbreaking on campus for the one-of-a-kind Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts. Colby’s extraordinary momentum through these and other initiatives continues to be evident both on Mayflower Hill and in the broader community.