Alan Hume, Founder of Colby-Hume Center, Dies at 93

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Alan and Dorothy Hume, circa 1998
By Laura Meader
February 21, 2020

Dr. H. Alan Hume, former Colby medical director and friend of the College, has passed away. Dr. Hume’s generosity led to the Colby-Hume Center on Messalonskee Lake, a beautiful setting that holds a special meaning for the Colby community. Dr. Hume died Feb. 19, 2020, in Augusta, Maine, at 93.

While serving on Colby’s Board of Visitors, and later at the Health Center (1990-2000), Dr. Hume developed an affinity for the College and its community that led to several unique acts of generosity. In 1991 Dr. Hume and his wife, Dorothy, donated a 10-acre parcel of land around their home on Messalonskee Lake, where they had lived for decades. The lakeside resource, originally including 450 feet of shorefront with an additional hundred feet added later, was named the Colby-Hume Center and became a well-loved location enjoyed by Colby students, alumni, and employees, especially in the summer.

Not only did the Humes donate their land to Colby, Dr. Hume built and equipped a woodworking shop and a blacksmith’s shop and created Jan Plan courses, including the popular furniture-making course, to share his interests with Colby students. “Just as applied art and music courses provide lifetime enjoyment for students,” College Historian Earl Smith wrote in his book Mayflower Hill, “Hume believed the same was true for learning to work with wood and metal.”

The Humes also opened their home to dozens of Colby pre-med students who lived with them during summer work-study programs. Dr. Hume was a role model for these students, many of them shadowing him, and he remained in touch with them as they went on to successful careers in the medical field.

Based at the Hume Center, Colby’s crew teams have practiced on Messalonskee Lake, also called Snow Pond, since 1991 and benefit from a boathouse built for them by the Humes. Alan and Dorothy Hume acted as “godparents” to the teams, Smith wrote, and were “in large measure responsible for the teams’ ability to achieve varsity status in 1993.”

For all of Dr. Hume’s contributions to the College, he was given a Colby Brick Award in 2006.

Dr. Hume was the son of a doctor and spent two years in the Navy before practicing medicine as a surgeon. He has been chief of surgical service at Presbyterian-University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, chairman of the Department of Surgery at Taylor Hospital, director of emergency medical services for the State of Maine, and chief of staff at Mid-Maine Medical Center. He was a founding member of the American Trauma Society and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery. He received his B.A. from Haverford College and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1953.