WATERVILLE — Colby College has received a $16 million gift from college trustee Marieke Rothschild and her husband, Jeff Rothschild, to support three of Colby’s highest priorities — financial aid, the arts and health and wellness.

Colby College trustee Marieke Rothschild and her husband, Jeff Rothschild, are donating $16 million to Colby College to be used for financial aid and to aid in the construction of the new athletic complex and proposed performing arts center.

“This is a magical gift,” Colby President David A. Greene said in announcing the gift Thursday. “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.”

The Rothschilds’ gift will be used in three ways, with $5 million designated to help make the college affordable for low- and middle-income families, $5 million to support a final push to complete fundraising for a new athletics and recreation center under construction on campus and $5 million to support the future 75,000-square-foot Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts on campus, according to a news release.

The Rothschilds previously donated $4.5 million to Colby to be used for financial aid, which the release says set the college on a path to create some of the most generous and straightforward financial aid packages issued at 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.”

Under the funding formula, families earn up to $65,000 annually can expect to pay nothing toward tuition, according to the release. Families with a total household income of up to $150,000 with typical assets can expect to pay $15,000 or less annually through the Fair Shot Fund.


The Gordon Center is a critical component of Colby’s intent to have the finest arts programs associated with a liberal arts college and, in partnership with Waterville, to have the arts be a defining part of the cultural traditions in central Maine, according to officials.

The athletic center is expected to open later this year and will offer a wide range of opportunities for the community to pursue active, healthy lifestyles, including varsity sports, intramural and club activities, and individual health and wellness.

“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,” Marieke Rothschild said in the release. “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.”

A car passes the new athletic complex Thursday under construction at Colby College in Waterville. Trustee Marieke Rothschild and her husband, Jeff, gave the college a $16 million gift, a portion of which will help fund the athletic complex.

The Rothschild gift includes $1 million to be directed to the Colby Fund over several years to ensure 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,” Greene said. “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.”

Colby officials say the 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.

Work continues Thursday at the new athletic complex under construction at Colby College in Waterville. Trustee Marieke Rothschild and her husband, Jeff, gave the college a $16 million gift, a portion of which will help fund the athletic complex.

“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 release says. “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.”

Colby also is enhancing programs and opportunities for all students to be engaged at the new athletics and recreation center. Exercise studios, mindfulness and meditation rooms, and fitness and education programs will be part of the mix. Activities such as kickboxing, Pilates, nutritional cooking and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as personalized training options for all levels, will be included.

“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,” Marieke Rothschild said. “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.”

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