WATERVILLE — Colby College has received a $25 million gift from the Davis Family Foundation that will guarantee every student the opportunity to study abroad.
Colby is the first liberal arts college in its peer group to fully fund such global experiences for all its students, according to college officials.
The new program, DavisConnects, will begin this fall in Grossman Hall, a former dormitory that has been expanded and refurbished. The program will allow students to design a set of experiences to complement their core studies, including internships and research or fellowship programs.
“The Davis family changed American higher education by making the best colleges and universities available to deserving students from around the world through the Davis United World College Scholars program,” Colby President David A. Greene said in a statement. “That program changed Colby College and the life trajectory of countless students who came here to study and left prepared and committed to changing their communities for the better. Now Andrew Davis and his family are bringing Colby to the world by providing all of our students with rigorous, meaningful global opportunities.”
Davis will be on campus Thursday to help celebrate the new program.
While a liberal arts education provides the best foundation for lifelong success, according to the college, the rising cost of higher education and growing demand for an immediate return on investment have heightened interest in applied and direct-training education programs. DavisConnects offers students opportunities that might have been available only to those with resources, personal connections or both, officials said. Currently, about 70 percent of Colby students take part in studying abroad.
The program will also allow students to compete for Davis Global Engagement Fellowships, which are awards providing enhanced support for the next generation of global leaders. When Davis fellows return to Colby, they have the chance to take part in the Davis Summit on Global Engagement, an annual event that connects the college community to its global initiatives and priorities.
“Educating truly global citizens and leaders has long been a priority for our family,” Davis said in a statement. “This program goes beyond offering universal access to providing competitive grants to incorporating ways for students to share their new knowledge and perspective with the campus community. It has the potential to truly transform the Colby experience and the trajectories of generations of Colby students. We are honored to be part of that.”
Andrew Davis studied economics at Colby and graduated in 1985. He also received a doctor of laws degree from the college in 2015. He was a member of Colby’s board of trustees from 1996 to 1999 and was a college overseer from 1999 to 2006. He has been a volunteer for the admissions office, sponsored student internships and, in 2004, created a scholarship fund. His family provided a $10 million lead gift to build the Davis Science Center on campus. Davis also founded the Davis New Mexico Scholarship in 2016, which gives full scholarships to high-achieving first-generation and low-income students from New Mexico to attend college.
Davis is president of Davis Selected Advisors, for which he has managed the Davis Real Estate Fund since its inception in 1993.
Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at: