WATERVILLE — Colby College announced Thursday that it has received a grant of $2 million from the Harold Alfond Foundation, continuing a long history of the Alfond family’s support of the Waterville liberal arts institution.
The money will be used to endow the college’s athletic director position, which will be filled by Colby’s current athletic director, Marcella Zalot, as well as support other facets of the college’s athletic programs. The endowed position, which will be funded in perpetuity by proceeds from the endowment, is called the Harold Alfond Director of Athletics.
“We’re having a good day, that’s for sure,” Zalot said Thursday afternoon. “We’re really fortunate to have the Alfond family working with us. They really believe in the importance of athletics.”
Colby President William D. Adams said Alfond’s support over the years has given Colby student-athletes “some of the finest facilities in the country” to compete in.
“This most recent gift will provide even greater opportunities for Colby’s student-athletes to compete at the highest levels of the New England Small College Athletic Conference,” Adams said in a press release.
The endowed position will free up funds from other sources, allowing Colby to funnel more money toward its athletic program, according to Adams. Zalot said the college is still discussing ways the grant will be used, other than creating the endowed position. She said the $2 million endowment is expected to generate about $100,000 a year.
Alfond, who died in 2007, was known for his philanthropy statewide, particularly in athletics. His name adorns many Colby facilities, including the institution’s athletic center and a residential complex. In the past few years, The Harold Alfond Foundation, along with other members of the Alfond family, have continued to give generously to Colby. The Bill Alfond Field, Colby’s first synthetic turf facility, opened in 2004 and Harold Alfond Stadium was built in 2008.
A lifelong overseer at Colby, Harold Alfond received an honorary doctorate in 1980. His late wife, Dorothy “Bibby” Alfond, was a member of the Colby Class of 1938. Bill Alfond, Harold Alfond’s son, graduated from Colby in 1972 and has served as a college trustee. Another Alfond son, Ted, and his wife, Barbara, are members of the Colby College Museum of Art board of directors. Harold and Bibby Alfond’s nephew Peter Lunder, Class of 1956, and granddaughter Jennifer Alfond Seeman, Class of 1992, both serve as Colby overseers, and Lunder’s wife, Paula Crane Lunder, is a life trustee of the college.
Colby spokeswoman Ruth Jacobs said the grant announced Thursday is a continuation of the Alfond family’s indelible mark on Colby College.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “Clearly we’ve had a longstanding relationship with the Alfond family. They have given their money to many different projects on our campus.”
Alfond foundation chairman Gregory Powell said he hoped the grant is seen as testament to Harold Alfond’s generosity toward higher education in Maine.
“Harold Alfond’s commitment to competitiveness on the playing field and performance in the classroom is well known,” Powell said in a press release. “It is our hope this gift will enhance the experience of Colby student-athletes on the field and in the classroom.”
Harold Alfond, founder of Dexter Shoe Co., left most of his fortune to the Harold Alfond Foundation, which has awarded grants to educational institutions, organizations and municipalities all over Maine since it was founded in 1950.