Colby Surpasses and Extends Dare Northward Campaign Goal

Announcements7 MIN READ

The College builds on momentum to redefine the liberal arts

Photo by Caitlin Penna
By George Sopko
Contact: George Sopko ([email protected])
November 2, 2023

To continue to provide extraordinary opportunities for its students and ensure its position as a global leader in the liberal arts, Colby College announced that it has exceeded its Dare Northward campaign goal and established a revised target of $1 billion.  

The extended campaign, which had an original goal of $750 million and recently reached $780 million, is one of the most ambitious fundraising initiatives in the United States by a liberal arts college. Originally scheduled to finish at the end of 2023, Dare Northward is now expected to be completed by the end of 2027.

“Dare Northward has elevated Colby’s academic programs, provided unprecedented support and opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff, dramatically expanded and improved our facilities, and catalyzed a historic revitalization of our hometown, Waterville,” said President David A. Greene. “None of this would have been possible without the remarkable generosity of the Colby community, for which I am so grateful. But our work is hardly done, and we will need to continue investing in our people and programs if we are to ensure Colby’s preeminence for generations to come. From world-changing science to guaranteeing access for talented students no matter their ability to pay, the next phase of Colby’s evolution will require a focused and unyielding effort and continued support. I know it is a lot to ask of our community, but I have seen time and again how Colby rises to the occasion and makes the improbable a reality.”

The extension of Dare Northward builds on the strategic vision and values of the College as outlined at the launch of the campaign. Top priorities that have been established for the next phase include an expanded and distinctive approach to educational and scholarly work in the sciences; continued investments in access and affordability through strengthened and endowed support for financial aid; and improved residential experiences and facilities.  

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I thank the entire Colby community for the outpouring of support we have seen since the launch of Dare Northward in 2017. We appreciate every single one of the 28,000 alumni, families, and friends who supported Dare Northward with gifts of all sizes,” said chair of Colby’s Board of Trustees Jane Powers ’86. “The Colby community is exceptional in its embrace of the commitment to advancing the College’s mission and vision. We are so excited about the opportunities that will come from this extended campaign goal.” 

The impact of Dare Northward

Since the launch of the campaign in 2017, remarkable progress has been made on a wide range of priorities. In addition to establishing one of the most generous financial aid programs in the country, highlights include supporting a dynamic initiative to create an arts ecosystem that provides outstanding experiences for the Colby community and also helps drive economic activity throughout the area.

This includes the Lunder Institute for American Art, the Greene Block + Studios, the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, and the just-opened Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts, the largest academic building project in the College’s history.

The Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, the most advanced, comprehensive, and sustainable D-III college athletics facility in the country, also resulted from Dare Northward. It is an extension of Colby’s mission to develop and educate students holistically, and to make an active and healthy lifestyle a critical part of the student experience at Colby.

“Dare Northward has elevated Colby’s academic programs, provided unprecedented support and opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff, dramatically expanded and improved our facilities, and catalyzed a historic revitalization of our hometown, Waterville”

President David A. Greene

Another initiative that’s benefited greatly from the campaign is the revitalization and rebirth of downtown Waterville. While there have been numerous milestones with this work, the most significant achievement is that Colby’s leadership has attracted other investors and new businesses to the city, with total investment in downtown from Colby, private, and public sources now exceeding $200 million. 

“From opening our doors wider for talented students from all backgrounds to developing industry-leading facilities and programs, the Colby community has been there every day to help move this campaign forward,” commented Colby’s Vice President and Chief Institutional Advancement Officer Matt Proto. “By extending the Dare Northward campaign, we will be able to provide even more extraordinary opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff and continue to become a true global leader in the liberal arts.”

Redefining the liberal arts

Dare Northward has been focused on immediately impacting the Colby experience by shifting what a liberal arts education looks like. Key to this has been making the liberal arts more deeply engaged with and connected to the broader world and its complexities.

“The world is changing at a rapid pace and it’s imperative that the liberal arts are always at the leading edge of these important changes,” commented President Greene. “That means constantly evolving to ensure our programs are deeply relevant, supporting our faculty so they can shape new intellectual fields and approaches to education, and keeping our commitment that Colby graduates will be prepared to lead across enterprises that require nimbleness of mind and rigorous approaches to addressing the most vexing challenges.”

Examples of Colby’s efforts to redefine a liberal arts education include the new Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the first cross-disciplinary institute for AI at a liberal arts college, as well as a series of interdisciplinary labs and learning centers in the sciences, arts, and entrepreneurship that provide distinctive experiential learning opportunities. These include the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment, the Linde Packman Lab for Biosciences Innovation, the Halloran Lab for Entrepreneurship, the Lyons Arts Lab, and the College’s new Island Campus off the coast of Maine.

Civic engagement has also been a distinctive feature of the College. Highlights of the program include the opening of the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons that’s comprised of a residential community focused on civic engagement activities throughout central Maine, the O’Hanian-Szostak Fellows for Civic Leadership, and an ongoing integration of civic engagement into the curriculum, to name a few.  

DavisConnects is another example of reimagining a traditional program so it is more relevant and impactful. A completely new model for post-graduate success that has had a profound impact on thousands of students over the last six years, the innovative program integrates the liberal arts with guaranteed access to unique internships, research, and global experiences for every student, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Continuing the momentum

Expanding the Dare Northward campaign will allow Colby to continue to protect and invest in its distinctive programs, further build intellectual and cultural capital to drive innovation, and provide the most compelling and opportunity-rich student experience. Over the next four years, key areas of focus will include:

Access and Affordability

Continuing to open Colby’s doors wider for the most talented, hard-working students, no matter their personal financial situation, through an exceptional and endowed financial aid program will remain a top priority of the campaign. The College has substantially broadened its demographic and socioeconomic diversity, and through Dare Northward can continue its successful trajectory of enrolling and graduating a diverse and academically competitive student population.

Science and Technology

Dare Northward will play an important role in elevating Colby’s position to become one of the top science colleges in a liberal arts setting. The goal is to develop sector-leading applied and multidisciplinary science programs to complement our existing departments and majors. This will require industry-leading facilities, an expanded faculty, and investments in computational resources.

The Residential Experience

Creating a more vibrant and interconnected residential experience that builds community, supports Colby’s academic mission, fosters increasing independence and personal growth, and meets the needs of our diverse student body will continue to be an important focus of the expanded campaign. To that end, Colby is in the design process for a major new residence hall for juniors and seniors and planning for renovations and improvements to our historic residences.

Distinctive Assets

Building upon the College’s distinctive assets and identity will be a key priority of the campaign. The goal is to create nationally recognized centers of excellence in areas where the College already excels and has a leadership position—from the arts and the Colby Museum to artificial intelligence, climate change, and sustainability.

“We’ve adopted a boldly ambitious plan to ensure Colby’s preeminence, and we’ll continue to act with discipline to carve a path forward that will ensure the College’s distinctive leadership and impact in the world,” said President Greene. “We are privileged to be Colby’s stewards at a time of amazing growth, and I’m looking forward to working with this wonderful community to continue our tremendous momentum.”