Colby Receives $16-Million Gift to Advance Major Initiatives

Announcements4 MIN READ
By Laura Meader
March 5, 2020

Colby College today announced that it has received a $16-million gift from Trustee Marieke Rothschild P’16 and her husband, Jeff Rothschild P’16, in support of three of the College’s highest priorities: financial aid, the arts, and health and wellness.

“This is a magical gift,” said President David A. Greene. “It accelerates the implementation of initiatives that better the lives of students and strengthen the College. It will also encourage others to join in at this important moment to guarantee Colby’s mission is met at the highest level.”

Five million dollars of the gift will be directed to making Colby affordable to families across the income spectrum. The Rothschilds previously made a $4.5-million gift to financial aid that set the College on a path for creating some of the most generous and straightforward financial aid packages among liberal arts colleges.

The additional resources for the Rothschild Family Endowed Financial Aid Fund will extend the College’s capacity to level the playing field for lower- and middle-income families seeking an extraordinary education for their children. Colby has focused on affordability for all talented students seeking a liberal arts education, and is one of the few institutions in the country that meets 100 percent of demonstrated need without student loans. Families earning up to $65,000 annually can expect a parent or guardian contribution of $0, while families with a total household income of up to $150,000 with typical assets can expect a parent or guardian contribution annually of $15,000 or less through the Fair Shot Fund.

An additional $5 million of the gift will support the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts, a critical component of the College’s intent to have the finest arts programs associated with a liberal arts college and, in partnership with the city of Waterville, to have the arts be a defining part of the cultural traditions of Central Maine.

The other $5 million will support a final push to complete fundraising for Colby’s all-new athletics and recreation center, which is slated to open later this year and will provide a wide range of opportunities for community members to pursue a healthy, active lifestyle—from varsity sports to intramural and club activities to individual health and wellness options.

“Our initial goal in supporting Colby was to provide financial aid that would build on the College’s commitment to attracting talented students from all backgrounds,” said Marieke Rothschild. “As we talked with President Greene and continued to understand the College’s priorities, we were struck by the ongoing efforts to provide students with the support necessary to have extraordinary experiences related to the arts and an ongoing commitment to healthy living.”

In addition to their commitment for financial aid, the arts, and health and wellness, a $1-million portion of the Rothschilds’ gift will be directed to the Colby Fund over several years to ensure that the College has the flexibility to direct resources for its most pressing needs.

“Marieke and Jeff Rothschild are rare in their depth of knowledge about organizations and what they need to succeed in challenging environments,” added President Greene. “And, their generosity is rarer still. The best way to show true gratitude for their spectacular support is to deliver on the promise of these initiatives and for others to join in to make them fully possible.”

Attracting Talented Students and Providing Outstanding Experiences

The Rothschilds’ multipurpose gift will have an immediate and long-term impact on the community by more deeply integrating the arts and a healthy, active lifestyle into the student experience.

Serving as a creative laboratory for the performing arts, the approximately 75,000-square-foot Gordon Center will bring together theater, dance, music, and cinema studies into a highly collaborative and multidisciplinary space for creative expression supported by multimedia and interactive technologies. The building will house a major recital hall as well as a series of flexible spaces for teaching, rehearsal, and performance along with a multipurpose forum that knits together the various venues. Students will engage with the center through a number of programs across academic disciplines.

To further its commitment to a cohesive student experience, the College is also enhancing programs and opportunities for all students to engage with the new athletics and recreation center. These include new exercise studios, mindfulness and meditation rooms, fitness and education programs – from kickboxing and Pilates to nutritional cooking and CPR – as well as personalized training options for all levels.

“We’re very impressed with how hard the College is working to make these new initiatives available to the entire campus, as well as the broader community, including Waterville, Maine, and New England,” commented Marieke. “This is an incredibly exciting time for Colby, and we’re looking forward to seeing the significant impact that these dynamic initiatives will have on the College and community.”