Colby College

Category: Education
Year of Last Grant Award:2022

The Harold Alfond Foundation is a longtime supporter of Colby College. Harold Alfond’s first ever major gift was made to Colby, in 1955, to build the Alfond Ice Rink.

According to the College, “Beginning in the 1950s with construction of the Alfond Ice Rink and then later the best-in-class Harold Alfond Athletic Center, made possible by the generosity and vision of Harold Alfond, Colby College and the Harold Alfond Foundation have continued a long-standing partnership to support the competitive success of our athletes and encourage healthy and active lifestyles for the campus community and beyond.”

In the years since, numerous grants have been awarded to the College, including to create scholarship funds and professorships, build athletic facilities and campus residences, expand the Colby Museum of Art to house the Lunder Art Collection, launch the Center for Small Town Jewish Life and other centers for teaching and research, among other projects, often with matching fundraising requirements to inspire external philanthropic gifts.

Most recently, the Foundation has partnered with Colby on an effort to revitalize downtown Waterville with major new investments on Main Street. These have included construction of the new Lockwood Hotel, with its Front and Main restaurant; commercial buildings on Main Street, housing tech firm CGI and other businesses; The Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, with lead funding by Bill and Joan Alfond and the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation; Greene Block + Studios, with lead funding by Peter and Paula Lunder of the Lunder Foundation; streetscape and infrastructure improvements; and, most recently, the Paul J. Schupf Center for the Arts in partnership with Waterville Creates. Collectively, these investments have brought new vitality to Main Street.

In the words of the College, “With generous support and guidance from the Harold Alfond Foundation, Colby continues to advance its strategy for transforming Main Street into a vibrant retail, business, residential, and cultural center. The comprehensive nature of this effort has begun to make an impact, with several projects moving forward to establish Waterville as a destination for the arts, commerce, and recreation, and to create a sense of place downtown through an improved streetscape and pedestrian experience that supports growth. Waterville is now seeing a growing population, rising property values, and unprecedented investment.” 

In 2020, the Foundation awarded Colby major grant funding to further support the College’s revitalization of downtown Waterville and to complete a state-of-the-art athletic and recreation center on the College’s campus, both efforts towards the goal of creating a prosperous and economically vibrant Waterville and Central Maine.

Colby College’s new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center opened its doors in late 2020. The 350,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building is the most advanced and comprehensive NCAA D-III facility in the country. The Athletics and Recreation Center features a wide range of unique venues. Key among them are an aquatics center with the only Olympic-sized Myrtha pool in Maine, an ice arena with year-round regulation ice, the Margaret M. Crook Center with three regulation-length basketball/volleyball courts, and the open-air O’Neil Atrium at the center of the building.

Colby College notes, “The new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center is an extension of Colby’s mission to develop and educate students holistically and help them compete in and out of the classroom to achieve excellence in all areas of their lives. Whether it’s varsity sports or individual fitness initiatives, competitive or recreational athletics, an active and healthy lifestyle is a critical part of the student experience at Colby. The goal of the new facility is to support that experience at the highest level possible and provide the best resources available.”