WATERVILLE — Thomas College is set to receive a $5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, officials announced this morning.

The foundation’s pledge, which Thomas College officials said is the largest single gift it has ever received, is earmarked as part of a fundraising challenge. The foundation will match up to $4 million toward a new Harold Alfond Academic Center and up to $1 million toward the college’s annual fund for student scholarships.

The academic center is part of the college’s new master plan and is estimated to cost a total of about $9 million. It’s slated to include a new library, technology services, classrooms, office space and a cafe.

The announcement was made shortly after 11:30 this morning in front of a crowd of students, staff and other officials, who gathered at the Harold Alfond Athletic Center on campus.

“I had the good fortune of knowing Harold Alfond and benefiting from his wisdom his incomparable generosity and his friendship,” Thomas College President George Spann said. “The Harold Alfond Academic Center will become the new heart of this campus.”