Colby College
MottoLux Mentis Scientia
Motto in EnglishKnowledge is the Light of the Mind
Endowment$599.6 million (2012) [1]
PresidentWilliam D. "Bro" Adams
Academic staff171 full time and 48 part time
LocationWaterville, Maine, USA
Athletics32 varsity teams, 11 club teams
Colors     Royal Blue
     Priscilla Grey

Colby College is a private liberal arts college located on Mayflower Hill in Waterville, Maine. Founded in 1813, it is the 12th-oldest independent liberal arts college in the United States. Colby was the first all-male college in New England to accept female students, the first of whom was Mary Caffrey Low—valedictorian of the Class of 1875.[2]

Approximately 1,800 students from more than 60 countries are enrolled annually. The college offers 54 major fields of study and 30 minors. More than two thirds of Colby students participate in study abroad programs. Colby College competes in the NESCAC conference and is one of the "Little Ivies".



File:The formative period in Colby's history.djvu

On February 27, 1813, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted a petition to establish the Maine Literary and Theological Institution, the 33rd chartered college in the United States.[3] The petition was led by Baptists who had come to the region for missionary work, and who wanted to train their own ministers, to end the reliance on England for providing men of learning. From 1816-1818, the new institution found a home in Waterville on 179 acres of land donated by citizens. In 1818, trustees assigned the institution to Rev. Jeremiah Chaplin, a Baptist theologian. Chaplin arrived in Waterville in the summer of 1818 with his family and seven students, including George Dana Boardman, the institution's first graduate. They were put up in a vacant Waterville home, and in that home the first classes were held.[3]

After Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820, the first Maine legislature affirmed the Massachusetts charter for the institution, but made significant changes. Students could no longer be denied admission based on religion, the institution was prohibited from applying a religious test when selecting board members, and the trustees now had the authority to grant degrees. A turning point, the Maine Literary and Theological Institution was renamed Waterville College on February 5, 1821. In 1822, Elijah Parish Lovejoy, who would become a celebrated martyr to emancipation and to freedom of the press, graduates as valedictorian. In 1825, the theological department was discontinued.[4] In 1833, Rev. Rufus Babcock became Colby's second president, and students form the nation’s first college-based anti-slavery society.[5]

During the Civil War, many young men were called away from school to join the fight; from Waterville College, Richard C. Shannon, Henry C. Merriam, and Benjamin Butler. Twenty-seven Waterville College students perished in the war, and more than 100 men from the town. In the years following the war, as was the case at many American colleges, Waterville College was left with few students remaining to pay the bills and a depleted endowment. Waterville College was on the verge of closing.[3]

Colby UniversityEdit

File:Colby University Logo.png
On August 9, 1865, a Boston merchant, prominent Baptist philanthropist, and Maine native Gardner Colby, attended Waterville College's commencement dinner, and unbeknownst to anyone in attendance except college president James Tift Champlin, announced a matching $50,000 donation that would allow the college to remain open. On January 23, 1867, the college was renamed Colby University in gratitude.[6]

Now on solid financial footing and just 16 months after The Battle of Appomattox Court House, trustees of the college voted to construct a library and chapel to honor the Colby men who died in the war, making Memorial Hall the first Civil War memorial erected on a college campus. The building began construction in the summer of 1867, and dedicated at commencement in 1869.[3] At commencement in 1871, The Lion of Lucerne, a sculpture by Martin Milmore, was added as the centerpiece of the building. The lion was brought to Miller Library from Memorial Hall in January 1962.[7]

In the fall of 1871 Colby University was the first all-male college in New England to accept female students.[4] The national Sigma Kappa sorority was founded at Colby in 1874 by the college's first five female students.[8] One of the buildings is named after the first woman to attend, Mary Caffrey Low, who was the valedictorian of the Class of 1875.[2]

Colby CollegeEdit

On January 25, 1889, Colby president Nathaniel Butler, Jr. '73, having come from the University of Chicago, renamed the "university" Colby College.[9] In 1920, Colby celebrated its centennial, marking not the date of the original charter, but the date of its charter from the new State of Maine in 1820.

Mayflower HillEdit

Franklin W. Johnson was appointed president of the college in June 1929. Citing a recently released Maine Higher Education Survey Report, a cramped location between the river and the railroad tracks, an aging physical plant, and lack of dining facilities for men, amongst others, Johnson began a campaign to move the college to a more adequate location.[3] Franklin's campaign to raise funds for the move were complicated by the Great Depression, but ended up including a gift from the City of Waterville - in an effort to keep Colby from relocating to Augusta, Waterville deeded 600 acres (2.4 km2) on Mayflower Hill, near the outskirts of the city, to the college.[10]

In 1937, construction broke ground on Lorimer Chapel, the first building on the new campus Mayflower Hill campus. In 1951, the last class took place on the old campus in Coburn Hall.

In 1984, following an investigation of campus life commissioned by the Board of Trustees, a decision was made to withdraw recognition from Colby’s Greek system as it was seen to be "exclusionary by nature".[11] The day that fraternity and sorority decision was announced happened to fall on a Sunday and was known as "Bloody Sunday" by many on the campus at the time.[12]

In 2000, William D. Adams, a demonstrated advocate of liberal arts education, became the President of Colby.[13] Adams initiated strategic plan that detailed aspirations and directions for the institution,[14] a fundraising effort for which raised $376 million.[15]


University rankings
Forbes[16] 20
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[17] 18
Washington Monthly[18] 84

Students choose from courses in 54 major fields and have wide flexibility in designing independent study programs, electing special majors, and participating in internships and study-abroad programs.[19] Colby's most popular majors are Government, Economics, and Biology. Consequently, the three majors are also some of Colby's strongest. The Economics Department is the 6th most published of any liberal arts school.[20] The Government Department's faculty are cited in media outlets including the New York Times and Washington Post, and are called to testify on Capitol Hill on a regular basis. Colby emphasizes project-based learning,[21] while volunteer programs and service learning take many students into the surrounding community.

4–1–4 CalendarEdit

The academic year follows a 4–1–4 with two four-course semesters plus a Winter Term session in January. The Winter Term, often called "Jan-plan", allows students to enroll in one intensive course, pursue independent research, or complete an off-campus internship.

The Goldfarb CenterEdit

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement organizes Colby's engagement in the local community, the national stage, and throughout the world.[22] The Goldfarb Center organizes and awards the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award annually;[23] it also organizes the The Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award,[24] the William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate Series, the Senator George J. Mitchell Distinguished International Lecture Series, and Colby's Visiting Fellows Program. The Oak Institute for International Human Rights at Colby is a Goldfarb Center program.[25] The center also organizes Colby's civic engagement programs: the Colby Volunteer Center[26] and Colby Cares about Kids.[27]

First Year ExperienceEdit

In 1975 Colby instituted its first outdoor orientation trip. The program, which has been expanded to include on-campus orientation and is called COOT2, now offers 52 trips in the fall semester and an ICED COOT program for those students who spend the first semester of their freshman year abroad. Destinations for fall trips include hiking trips at Acadia National Park, Mount Katahdin, and other locations around Maine; canoe trips on the Kennebec and Moose Rivers, along with other trips around the state. The various trips are designed to appeal to incoming students with a variety of interests and fitness levels and more "front country" trips have been added in recent years including service- and arts-oriented options.[28] The primary goals of COOT are to ease new students' transition into college and to introduce them to the Maine's cultural and natural resources. COOT leaders are chosen from upperclass students who apply for these positions and are expected to help the students both during and after the trip with the adjustment to campus life.[28]


Together with Bates College and Bowdoin College, Colby is one of three highly selective liberal arts colleges in Maine. The 2013 annual ranking of U.S. News & World Report categorizes it as 'more selective' and rates it tied for the 18th best liberal arts college in the nation[29] and 19th for "Best Value".[30]

Forbes in 2012 rated Colby 25th overall in its America's Best Colleges ranking, which includes military academies, national universities, and liberal arts colleges[31] and 12th among national liberal arts colleges.[32]

Kiplinger's Personal Finance places Colby at 12th in its 2012 ranking of best value liberal arts colleges in the United States.[33]

Colby was also named one of "25 New Ivies" by Newsweek,[34] named to the list of the top ten environmental programs by the 2010 Fiske Guide, [35] and ranked 13th by the 2011 Sierra Club rankings of America's coolest schools.[36]

Graduate School PlacementEdit

Colby is very successful in its graduate placement of alumni. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal ranked Colby among the top 50 "feeder schools" of elite graduate institutions, behind Bates and Bowdoin.[37]


File:Colby miller library.jpg

Colby's 714-acre campus is situated on Mayflower Hill overlooking the small city of Waterville, Maine, located along the Kennebec River Valley in Central Maine. Colby's campus buildings vary in age from the original Mayflower Hill construction in the 1930s to its newest building, Diamond, completed in 2007. Most of Colby's buildings are designed in the Georgian Revival style of the original Mayflower Hill construction, but recent architectural additions have largely branched out.


Colby’s three libraries—Miller Library, the Bixler Art and Music Library, and the Olin Science Library—have a collection of more than 900,000 books, journals, microfilms, music scores, sound recordings, videos/DVDs, and manuscripts. They provide access to more than 100 electronic databases and more than 47,500 electronic journals. Computer labs, wireless networks, laptops, study areas, and a listening center are available for student use.[38][39]

Colby College Museum of ArtEdit

The Colby College Museum of Art, founded in 1959 with the building of the Mayflower Hill Campus, is one of the largest art museums in Maine. Admission is free to the museum, which serves both as a teaching resource for Colby College and as an active cultural institution for the residents of Maine and visitors to the state. It is notable for an entire wing dedicated to works by American painter Alex Katz, a particularly strong collection of American art, and its major outdoor sculptures by Richard Serra and Sol LeWitt. The museum is part of the Bixler Art and Music Center, a building named in honor of President J. Seelye Bixler (1942–1960) in recognition of his visionary support for the arts at Colby.[40]

Athletic FacilitiesEdit

The Harold Alfond Athletic Center is the center of athletic life at Colby, and home to the Colby White Mules. In addition to athletic offices, it contains:[41]

  • The Wadsworth Gymnasium, with a capacity of 2,600 people
  • Alfond Rink, with 1,750 seats, home to the men's and women's ice hockey programs.
  • The Boulos Family Fitness Center
  • The Colby swimming pool, 25-yard by 25-meter indoor swimming pool with 10 racing lanes, three-meter, and one-meter springboards.
  • The Dunaway Squash Courts - five international-sized, glass-backed squash courts built in 1993 with maple floors, motion-activated lighting, and fiber-resin walls.
  • a field house with a four lane, 220-yard track.

Surrounding the Harold Alfond Athetlic Center:

  • Harold Alfond Stadium new in 2008, contains an illuminated 400-meter, 8-lane track, with area for the long and triple jump, new discus and hammer cage and separate areas for shot put and javelin competition.
  • Seaverns Field, inside the stadium, is an illuminated synthetic turf field used by the football, soccer, and lacrosse teams.
  • Bill Alfond Field is an illuminated synthetic turf field for field hockey and men's and women's lacrosse.
  • The Alfond-Wales Tennis Courts - 10 hard-surface courts, including the Klein Tennis Pavilion
  • The Colby soccer field and Loebs Field, two full-size playing fields west of the soccer field for soccer practice as well as intramural sports and summer sports camps.
  • Crafts Field is home of the Colby softball team.
  • Coombs Field, home of the baseball team,
  • The Campbell Cross Country Trails are used for cross-country running and skiing.

In addition to the on-campus facilities, the White Mules also utilize:

  • The Colby-Hume Center, located on Messalonskee Lake for Colby's crew and sailing teams. It is also open to the Colby community.
  • The Sugarloaf Ski Resort is home to the Alpine Ski Team, and is used extensively by recreational skiers from Colby because of its proximity to campus, about 50 miles away.
  • The Waterville Country Club for golf.

Housing and Student Life FacilitiesEdit

File:Colby College Anthony Mitchell Schupf.JPG

Colby is a residential college and almost all students live on campus.[42] The dormitories vary in design and age; some are from the original Mayflower Hill construction, with the newest addition being the Alfond Senior Apartments. Room arrangements range from singles to quads and apartment suites.

All meals on campus including catered events are served by Colby Dining Services, which operates 4 dining establishments on Campus plus the Marchese Blue Light Pub. Cotter Union is the center of student life and programming, which houses the Pulver Pavilion, Pugh Center for Multicultural Affairs, Page Commons audtiorium, and the Student Post Office. Mary Low contains the Colby Outing Club and the Mary Low Coffee House for student performances, Roberts houses student offices for the Colby Echo and the radio station WMHB.[43]

Student LifeEdit

Student GovernmentEdit

Students established the Student Government Association (SGA) to "enhance the student community." The SGA is headed by an elected president, and inclues class presidents, dorm representatives, a finance chair, and a publicity chair and other positions.[44] The SGA has representation on the Colby College Board of Trustees and every all-college committee; additionally, the SGA represents the official student body to the Faculty operated College Affairs Council and President's Council.

The SGA distributes funding to all student operated clubs and organizations on campus. The Pugh Community Board (PCB) and the Student Planning Board (SPB) are the largest organizations that plan lectures, concerts, and other major student events.[45]


File:Colby college runner.jpg

The Colby Mules compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference, and the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Consortium. There are 16 varsity teams for women, 15 for men, and one co-ed team. The official school colors are blue and gray. Approximately 1/3 of the student population participates in one or more of 32 intercollegiate varsity sports. Colby also offers club sports, and an intramural sports program called I-Play.

Student ProgrammingEdit

In 2003 the college created a Student Programming Board (SPB) to produce social events on campus. This student-run organization sponsors multiple programs every week ranging from dances to special lectures to bingo nights to large-scale live performances. In the past, SPB has brought such acts as Wiz Khalifa, Jurassic 5, Citizen Cope, Blackalicious, Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, OK Go, Dane Cook, Talib Kweli, Matisyahu, State Radio, Lupe Fiasco, Blue Scholars, Guster, Common, Mates of State, CAKE, Bob Marley (comedian), LL Cool J, Naughty By Nature, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. In addition to SPBs programming, clubs on campus often put on all-school events.

File:Wiz Khalifa at Colby College - May 2011.jpg


Colby's student newspaper, The Colby Echo, has been published since 1877. The Colby Echo staff currently consists of 20 editors, who are responsible for assigning and writing articles, overseeing the production process and maintaining the Echo’s online presence. The Colby Echo editors also assign weekly articles to a team of 15 news staff writers. The Colby Echo is published every Wednesday that the College is in session, with 1,300 copies printed each week.

Inside Colby is a student publication that highlights student life by blogs, essays, photos, and videos.

WMHB 89.7 FM, is Colby's non-commercial College radio station, directed, managed, and staffed entirely by students. It has been on air since March 1949, and broadcasts new and diverse programming to Waterville, Winslow, Oakland, Fairfield and surrounding communities, and around the world on the Internet via its webcast.



Colby’s 1,800-plus students, evenly divided between men and women, come from virtually every state and more than 60 countries. Colby students are listed as 62-percent white, 18-percent unknown race, 14.5-percent ALANA (Asian American, Latino/a, African American, Native American), and 5.3-percent international (2009–10).[46] Colby's class of 2014 is the most diverse in its history, with 24% of its students being ALANA and 7% being international.[47]

Colby's was one of the five original schools to partner with the Shelby Davis Scholarship program for graduated from the United World Colleges, dramatically increasing the international student population.[48] Colby also participates in the Posse Foundation for multicultural scholars. In 2005, Colby was presented the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

Notable alumniEdit

See also Category:Colby College alumni

Alumni, now numbering more than 25,000, are represented in all 50 states and 75 foreign countries.[49] Alumni remain engaged with the College through alumni programs, affinity groups, and a directory and related services online, all offered by the Office of Alumni Relations.

Notable facultyEdit

Category:Colby College faculty

Presidents of the schoolEdit

Presidents of Colby College years as president
1 Rev. Jeremiah Chaplin (1822–1833)
2 Rev. Rufus Babcock (1833-1836)
3 Robert Everett Pattison (1836-1839)
4 Eliphaz Fay (1841-1843)
5 David Newton Sheldon (1843-1853)
6 Robert Everett Pattison (1854-1857)
7 James Tift Champlin (1857-1873)
8 Henry Ephraim Robins (1873-1882)
9 George Dana Boardman Pepper (1882-1889)
10 Albion Woodbury Small (1889-1892)
11 Beniah Longley Whitman (1892-1895)
12 Nathaniel Butler Jr. (1896-1901)
13 Charles Lincoln White (1901-1908)
14 Arthur J. Roberts (1908–1927)
15 Franklin W. Johnson (1929–1942)
16 J. Seelye Bixler (1942–1960)
17 Robert E. L. Strider (1960–1979)
18 William R. Cotter (1979–2000 )
19 William D. Adams (2000– )

Environmental practicesEdit

File:Colby College Biomass Plant.JPG

In the Fall of 2009, Colby launched Green Colby[50] to highlight Colby's environmental policies (carbon footprint, conservation, student involvement etc.).[51] In this vein, the school has signed a number of official agreements to reduce its environmental impact, including the Governor’s Carbon Challenge and the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.[52] [53] [54] All of the school's electricity comes from renewable sources[55] —hydro and biomass—with 10 percent of campus electricity provided by an on-campus cogeneration turbine.[52][specify] The college has stated that all new buildings will comply with a minimum LEED silver standard, and renovated buildings will also include green features.[52] The dining halls make an effort to purchase local and organic foods, and the elimination of trays has saved 79,000 gallons of water and 50 tons of food waste annually.[52][specify] Colby also has an ambitious composting program, which processes more than 100 tons of food and yard waste annually.[52] On the College Sustainability Report Card 2009 Colby earned a B; Colby's grade was brought down by its lack of endowment transparency and shareholder engagement.[56]

Alma materEdit

Colby's alma mater is "Hail, Colby, Hail". The lyrics to the song were written by Karl R. Kennison from the class of 1906 and it is sung to the tune of "O Canada". In 1979, the second line was changed from "thy sons from far and near" to "thy people far and near."[57]

Hail, Colby, Hail!
Thy people far and near
Stand at thy call,
Our Alma Mater dear.
Thy shaded paths recall our steps
To gather at thy shrine.
Thy memoried halls reclaim our hearts
Till all our thoughts are thine.
Hail, Colby, Hail!
Hail, Colby, Hail!
To thee we lift our hearts and homage pay;
Our Alma Mater, Hail the Blue and Gray!


  1. As of June 30, 2012. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers.
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Mayflower Hill, A History of Colby College, Earl Smith, University Press of New England, 2006
  4. 4.0 4.1 Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1970). Doris A. Isaacson. ed. Maine: A Guide 'Down East'. Rockland, Me: Courier-Gazette, Inc.. pp. 226–227.
  6. Colby College 1820-1925: An Account of Its Beginnings, Progress and Service, p 93, accessed at
  7. "The Lion of Lucerne", Colby College Libraries, accessed:
  9. Colby College 1820-1925: An Account of Its Beginnings, Progress and Service, p 129, accessed at
  10. The Man of Mayflower Hill: A Biography of Franklin W. Johnson, by Ernest C. Marriner, Colby College Press, 1968
  11. "AROUND THE NATION; Justice Upholds Ban On Colby Fraternities". The New York Times. 1984-05-22. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  16. "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  17. "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  18. "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  28. 28.0 28.1
  29. "Best Colleges – National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 2013.
  30. "Best Value Schools - National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. 2013.
  31. "America's Best Colleges". Forbes.
  32. "America's Best Liberal Arts Colleges 2012". Forbes.
  33. "Best Values in Private Colleges". Kiplinger's Personal Finance.
  37. "Wall Street Journal's Tope 50 Feeder Schools". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  46. [1]
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 52.4 "Green Initiatives at Colby: Institutional Commitment". Colby College. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  53. "Governor's Carbon Challenge Participants". The State of Maine. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  54. "Signatory List by Institution Name". American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  55. "EPA lauds Colby's green power efforts". The Waterville Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  57. Alma Mater Matter

Further readingEdit

  • Fotiades, Anestes. Colby College 1813-1963: A Venture of Faith (1994)
  • Marriner, Ernest Cummings. The History of Colby College (1962)
  • Marriner, Ernest Cummings. The Man of Mayflower Hill: A Biography of Franklin W. Johnson (1967)
  • Marriner, Ernest Cummings. The Strider Years (1980)
  • Smith, Earl. Mayflower Hill: A History of Colby College (2006)
  • Soule, Bertha Louise. Colby's Roman, Julian Daniel Taylor (1938)
  • Soule, Bertha Louise. Colby's President Roberts (1943)
  • Whittemore, Edwin Carey. The History of Colby College (1927)

External linksEdit


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