“Loyalty to our college does not mean that we are blind to its imperfections.
Loyalty does mean that we must steadily love Colby and work, as much as is in us,
for her progress and improvement.”

-Ninetta Runnals

Colby College is an institution rich in intriguing history. Countless students, faculty and staff members have played crucial roles in attempting to make the College an open, welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or social class. Many have also worked tirelessly over the past 200 years to promote social justice both on and off Mayflower Hill. Often, however, members of the Colby community are unaware of the paths created by their predecessors. The lack of a documented history of the many forms of activism and diversity, and the many pursuits of social justice by members of the Colby community, has hampered the efforts of students, faculty and staff seeking to enact change, who may not be cognizant of how success has been achieved in the past. This website is designed specifically to offer insight into the activism, forms of diversity, and efforts to promote social justice that have occurred at Colby. It was first developed in 2001; it has subsequently been updated in preparation for the College’s Bicentennial in 2013.  Its goal is to illuminate those in Colby’s past who have taken a commitment to diversity and social justice out of the classroom and made it tangible and relevant in the real world. People feel comfortable where they know they have a common history with other individuals. Acknowledging this in conjunction with Colby’s quest to increase diversity and to improve the intellectual climate is crucial. Telling the story of activism, diversity, and social justice at Colby is an important starting point. If we recognize those who have made change and improved our College, it will encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

Jeff Calareso (’01), Ryan Swank (’03), and Tennessee Watson (’03), with Melvin Ladera (’03), Ebunoluwa Benjamin (’14), Amya Bhalla (’19) and Mark Tappan (Education).

*NOTE regarding the images above and on the header: These images are from full-size panels that comprise the capstone project for  Gordon Fischer’s ’13 independent major in “Art & Social Justice.” While teaching in San Francisco before his senior year, Gordon was influenced by the murals in the Mission District, almost all of which are driven by the theme of social justice. Feeding off the imagery and spirit of these murals, he realized that art can be consciously designed to raise awareness about social issues and inspire future generations to take action. After returning to Colby, Gordon was determined to create a visual display of the activism in Colby’s past to honor the activists who came before him and to inspire current and future Colby students. His vision resulted in three panels, beginning in 1813 and continuing through 2013, which “follow the river” and document the history of activism at Colby College.

The original panels are currently on display outsider Miller Library 035. Gordon can be reached at [email protected]