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Davis United World College Scholars


Pilot Schools Reflect on 20 Years

Colby College

In 2000 when Colby College was invited to become one of five partner institutions to pilot the Davis United World College Scholars Program we could not have predicted the impact the program would have on Colby or on higher education throughout the United States. Over the last 20 years Colby has welcomed hundreds of incredibly talented students from a broad range of the United World College (UWC) campuses and each one of them has arrived on Mayflower Hill with a deep desire to learn and to lead. Our partnership with the Davis UWC Scholars Program has been integral to our efforts to both enroll the most talented students from around the world and to build a community of globally minded students who will be the leaders of their generation. Approximately 300 Davis UWC Scholars have graduated from Colby since 2004 and have gone on to pursue graduate education and a wide variety of professions in fields such as education, banking and finance, business, information technology, government, public service, and health care.

In the first year of our partnership with the Davis UWC Scholars Program, Colby received 55 applications from UWC graduates and 12 of those students went on to enroll in the Class of 2004. Applications for Colby’s Class of 2023 numbered 164 and this fall we welcomed 14 of those applicants as first year Davis UWC Scholars. Over that same period overall applications to Colby have grown at an even faster pace. Just 10 years ago Colby’s total number of applications for admission was 4,520, 16 percent of which were international applications. In 2019 applications reached 13,584, more than tripling in the last decade, and of those 32 percent (4,401) were international applications. Our partnership with the Davis UWC Scholars Program remains critical to Colby as we continue to expand our reach to a broad global audience and develop a more culturally diverse student body.

At Colby we believe that we must not only enroll the most talented students from around the world but that we also have a responsibility to offer a curriculum that engages global issues, supports a campus culture that is internationally and globally focused, and ensures that every student has access to a meaningful global experience during their time at Colby. Our DavisConnects program, made possible through the generosity of the Davis family and trustee of its charitable foundation, Andrew Davis ’85, LL.D. ’15 in 2017, has allowed us to create a new and unique model for the liberal arts which integrates a set of universally available experiences into the academic program and ensures that global experiences are accessible to and expected of every Colby student.

It was an honor to be invited by Shelby M.C. Davis and Philip O. Geier to be one of the first Davis UWC Scholars Program partner schools 20 years ago and it is an honor today to continue to be part of this program which has grown to include nearly 100 of the best colleges and universities in the US and has benefited thousands of talented students. Colby remains grateful to the Davis family and foundation for their trust in us to help educate and shape generations of future leaders around the world.

Colby College class of 2004 Davis UWC Scholars joined by (front row, center) Phil Geier, President Bro Adams, Gale and Shelby Davis, and Amy Geier.