WATERVILLE — Colby College officials announced Thursday the Waterville school has raised $650 million in its multiyear Dare Northward campaign, putting it within $100 million of its goal.

The fundraising campaign is intended to fund the college’s efforts to increase financial aid to students, provide more development for faculty and build new facilities and programs.

Colby officials announced the $750 million campaign slightly more than four years ago. In late 2019, the campaign had reached $500 million from more than 20,000 donors.

In a statement released Wednesday, the college announced the Dare Northward campaign has raised $650 million from more than 24,700 alumni, family members, friends and other donors.

The campaign “is already making a substantial impact on the student, faculty, and staff experiences at Colby,” college officials wrote in the statement, “from expanding financial aid to supporting faculty growth and enabling the building of new facilities and programs.”

“The generosity of the Colby community is unmatched,” College President David A. Greene said in the statement. “This generosity is fueled by a desire to have an impact— to provide opportunities for young people to make a difference in the world, to support innovative teaching and scholarship, to strengthen communities, and to ensure that Colby will be a global center for educational excellence for centuries to come.”

The campaign has allowed the college on Mayflower Hill to increase its curricular offerings and recruit experts in important and emerging fields, such as artificial intelligence, according to officials.

A $30 million gift last January from the Davis family and Andrew Davis, a trustee of its charitable foundation, has allowed Colby to open the first cross-disciplinary institute for artificial intelligence at a liberal arts college.

Other projects that have been funded since the beginning of the campaign include three labs: the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment, the Linde Packman Lab for Biosciences Innovation and the Halloran Lab for Entrepreneurship.

Beyond academics, funding from the campaign is also supporting Colby athletics.

Colby officials said the recently built Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, made possible through a $101 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation, is the best Division III facility in the country, while also serving as a fitness and wellness facility for the entire Colby community.

The creation of the Department of Recreation, hiring of additional coaches and staff members and development of programs, such as Peak Performance for student athletes and Healthy Colby for first-year students, have been possible due to the campaign, according to Colby officials.

A walker braces against winter conditions Thursday while passing snow-covered Adirondack chairs at Colby College in Waterville. The chairs, and several more like them, are on the lawn in front of Miller Library and in several other locations across the Mayflower Hill campus. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Colby has also contributed to the revitalization of downtown Waterville through the Dare Northward campaign, with the Lockwood Hotel, its Front & Main restaurant and The Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, which serves as a living and learning community for about 200 Colby students and faculty members.

The college’s priorities include “growing an arts ecosystem that enriches the community and solidifies Colby’s commitment to the arts, which has long been anchored by the extraordinary Colby College Museum of Art, and strengthening the region’s creative economy,” according to the school’s statement.

As part of that, the 74,000-square-foot Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts is scheduled to open on campus in fall 2023.

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