WATERVILLE — David Greene, the new president of Colby College, spent most of his first day on the job Tuesday visiting the various academic departments and familiarizing himself with the 714-acre campus. But he also set aside time to talk with Mayor Karen Heck about how the city and college can collaborate.

“There are great things happening in Waterville right now, and there’s even more potential if everyone works together to develop a shared vision for how Waterville can become an even more vibrant and dynamic place,” said Greene, 51, from his new office in Eustis Hall. “We spent a lot of time talking about what those opportunities are and how Colby can contribute to making Waterville a great place to live and work.”

Working with the city on economic and cultural projects is one of several goals Greene has outlined for his administration as he takes over as the 20th president of the college.

“I think there’s a very symbiotic relationship between Colby and Waterville,” said Heck, who is a 1974 graduate of Colby and is not running for re-election. “The town and the college have been really good partners in making sure each survives, and I’m looking forward to expanding that opportunity.”

Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, Greene worked odd jobs in Ogunquit while a student at Hamilton College in upstate New York. His mother’s family has roots in Madison and Millinocket, and he said family members, including three children who will attend Waterville schools and his wife, Carolyn, are excited to be in Waterville.

“Maine is an extraordinary state. It has a sense of place that’s unusual and incredibly attractive,” Greene said. “I think Waterville has a lot of the same things – people that grew up here have the deepest and fondest feelings about this place. Not all communities have that. Waterville does, and it means a lot to me.”

It’s also something that Greene says he thinks the college can build on to attract new students. One of Greene’s top goals is to attract more applicants to the college as a way to increase the diversity of the student body.

During the eight years that Greene spent at the University of Chicago, where he was vice president of strategic initiatives before becoming executive vice president, the number of applications increased from about 9,000 per year to about 30,000 per year, according to Julie Peterson, the school’s vice president of communications.

“He was a critical leader both in recruiting the expertise needed to make that happen and then supporting those expert leaders,” Peterson said.

Colby College had 5,148 applications for the Class of 2018 – a number Greene is seeking to double – and has a 28 percent acceptance rate. About 13 percent of the student body comes from Maine, according to the college.

Greene holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate from Harvard University.