Colby is pleased to announce that Nancy Greer Weiland ’65, P’93, GP’24 and her husband, Andrew ’64, P’93, GP’24, have endowed the Weiland Welcome Grant, which will award $1,250 in addition to financial aid for expenses associated with necessary school items to first-year students, starting with the Class of 2026 whose families earn $65,000 or less per year with typical assets and are eligible for $0 parent or guardian contribution.
To introduce the Weiland Welcome Grant, Colby will award $625 to qualifying students in the Class of 2025 beginning with the 2022 spring semester. The Weilands, who met at Colby, donated $3 million toward the College’s Dare Northward campaign to establish the Welcome Grant.
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The creation of the grant was driven in large part by Nancy’s arrival at Colby in the early 1960s with a full scholarship, but with limited money to pay for extras. “I came from a family of seven, and when I got to campus, I had no spending money, or very minimal spending money. It was tough,” Nancy Weiland said. “It’s nice to give these kids financial aid to get them there, but once they get there, they have to be comfortable.”
Colby joins a handful of colleges and universities across the country that offer similar startup grants, which are designed to help first-year students pay for things not covered by financial aid that help them acclimate to new surroundings and succeed—like textbooks or computer equipment, household items for their residence halls, and winter clothing.
The Weiland Welcome Grant will ensure that first-year students receive the additional financial assistance they need to make their transition to campus smooth and easy, said Colby President David A. Greene.
“This gift means that students who come from lower-income families will be in a stronger position to succeed and thrive when they start on campus. We know that removing financial barriers allows students to focus on learning and taking full advantage of a Colby education,” Greene said. “We’re grateful for Nancy and Andy’s generous support. They want to make a real difference in the lives of Colby students, and this gift will do just that.”
Matt Proto, vice president and chief institutional advancement officer, said the Weiland Welcome Grant is part of the College’s ongoing initiative to recruit exceptional students regardless of family income or circumstance and to meet each admitted student’s demonstrated financial need without loans. He estimated that about 100 first-year students would receive a Weiland Welcome Grant each year, and that number would vary depending on the size of the incoming class.
“There are often unanticipated costs associated with a college education that students learn more about when they begin their college experience. The idea behind this grant is to help cover those costs so that all students have a better opportunity to thrive at Colby,” Proto said. “I am deeply grateful for Nancy and Andy’s understanding of this need and for their incredible generosity to address it at Colby.”
Recent changes in Colby’s admissions operation have opened doors for more students from all backgrounds to attend Colby, none more so than an increase in the financial aid from $28 million in 2014 to $52 million in 2021. Colby is among a small group of colleges that meets 100 percent of demonstrated need without student loans. Among first-year students in the Class of 2025, 11 percent are projected to be the first in their families to graduate from college, and more than 100 are Pell Grant recipients, triple the number of students receiving Pell Grants from only a handful of years ago, said Randi L. Arsenault ’09, dean of admissions and assistant vice president of admissions and financial aid.
“Low-income college students often arrive with financial needs that extend beyond traditional financial aid packages,” she said. “These costs can present a substantial financial strain and stress for new students and their families.”
A Deep Colby Legacy
As Colby students, the Weilands both majored in biology, and both enjoyed exceptional careers in science and medicine.
After Colby, Andrew earned his M.D. from Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University and became a pioneering hand surgeon and preeminent expert on microvascular hand surgery. After beginning his career at Johns Hopkins in Maryland, he spent most of his career in New York City at the Hospital for Special Surgery and as a professor of surgery at the Weill Cornell Medical College.
Nancy followed Andrew to Wake Forest for her M.S. and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland Medical School. An expert on the effect of sex hormones on the brain, she was an assistant professor and neuroendocrinology/neurobiology research scientist at Rockefeller University and a physiology researcher at the University of Maryland Medical School. She served on the Colby College Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2010 and is now a trustee emerita.
The Weilands are a three-generation Colby family. Their daughter, Sarah Weiland Holland, graduated from Colby in 1993 and is a plastic surgeon in Falmouth, Maine. Sarah’s daughter, Lucy Holland, is a member of the Class of 2024. Their son, Daniel E. Weiland, is an orthopedic surgeon. The Weilands have six grandchildren.
Citing Colby’s superior science programs for inspiring and motivating them, the couple created the Weiland Family Scholarship Fund in 1999. As part of the Dare Northward campaign, the Weilands considered donating money to supplement the scholarship fund but opted to establish the Welcome Grant instead.
Andrew Weiland said it was an easy, and obvious, decision. “In view of Nancy’s past history of coming to Colby on a full scholarship but not having a lot of funds to live on once she got there, we felt this was a meaningful way of giving back to students with limited means will feel more comfortable in an environment where a lot of the kids have a lot of financial means,” he said.