Our History

This year marks the 30th anniversary of a writers’ center at Colby. The original center opened its doors in 1984 in the basement of Lorimer chapel with only two staff members: founding Director and English Professor Jean Sanborn and one student who served as assistant director. In 1998, the center officially became the Farnham Writers’ Center with an endowed gift from a Maine graduate who went on to become an English teacher: Margaret Davis Sprague Farnham ’28. Her gift reflects her family’s long relationship to Colby; over the years, members of successive generations—from her husband to her great granddaughter—have been educated at Colby.

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From left to right: Jean Sanborn, Peg Farnham, and Colby President Cotter

Peg Farnham’s gift allowed the Writers’ Center to grow into the thriving place on campus for writing that it is today. We now employ some 50 peer tutors who work with Colby students from around the globe. In addition to regular tutoring, we offer individualized tutoring classes (English 112), writing fellows (designated tutors for specific courses), lunchtime workshops on writing, tutoring services for Kennebec Valley Community College students, and special events in local schools.

In 2013, after many years in our second location on the street level of Miller Library, the Farnham Writers’ Center moved to our new location in Miller 206, on the second, collaborative floor of the renovated library. We hope you’ll stop by to see our new center and make an appointment with one of our tutors!