Major Gift from Family with Multigenerational Connections to Waterville Supports Two Colby Priorities—Arts and Athletics

Colby is extremely pleased to announce a $2-million gift from Dana L. Schmaltz and Kate Enroth to name the Colby College Museum of Art’s gallery in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center as well as the welcome pavilion in the College’s new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center. The Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art will honor Joan Dignam Schmaltz ’63, an artist herself, while the Richard R. Schmaltz Welcome Pavilion will honor Richard “Dick” Schmaltz ’62, affectionately known as “Mr. Colby” to family and friends for his longtime commitment and dedication to his alma mater. Both spaces honor multigenerational connections to Waterville and are an investment in its future. 

“The Schmaltz and Dignam families, much like our family, have a long and proud history in Waterville and at Colby. We all share a dedication to this community, and we can’t think of a more fitting tribute to our dear friends Dick and Joan than the naming of these two spaces in their honor,” said Paula Lunder, D.F.A. ’98 and Peter Lunder ’56, D.F.A. ’98.

The Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art

As part of a shared vision to position Waterville as a premier destination for arts and culture, Colby, in partnership with Waterville Creates!, is developing the Paul J. Schupf Art Center on Main Street in downtown Waterville. Expected to break ground in 2021, a key component of the center will be the Colby Museum’s new Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art, which will feature exhibitions from the Museum’s permanent collection and specially commissioned shows from emerging and established artists. The center will also be part of a rich and integrated group of up-and-coming art and cultural institutions throughout Waterville, including an arts collaborative currently under construction on Main Street as well as the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts, which is in the pre-construction phase on Colby’s campus. 

Waterville is increasingly well poised to feature a diverse set of arts programming that will enrich life in the city and help drive economic activity throughout the city. 

“We are deeply grateful to Dana and Kate for their incredible support,” said President David A. Greene. “Dick and Joan Schmaltz are emblematic of the very best of Colby and Waterville—deeply committed to family and community, generous of heart and spirit, always willing to go the extra mile to care for others. We are so honored to carry their names forward on these iconic spaces.”

Schmaltz Gallery

Richard R. Schmaltz Welcome Pavilion

The Richard R. Schmaltz Welcome Pavilion will serve as a greeting and gathering place for visitors to the College’s new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center—the most-advanced NCAA D-III facility in the country—as well as members of the Colby community who use the facility for fitness, wellness, and recreation. Featuring abundant natural light, a wide-open space with soft seating, and a 68-square-foot interactive video display, the pavilion will also be a great space for discussion, study, and socializing.

The center will play an important role in supporting the economic resurgence of Waterville and Central Maine by allowing Colby to invite more teams and events to campus. Just as important, it will also eventually provide an opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate and support athletics.

“For the last 60 years my father has had his handshake ready to welcome people from all over the world to Colby. As the first All New England player of the 1961 Colby soccer team, Dad always believed in the power of team sports as part of a person’s liberal arts education,” commented Dana Schmaltz. “I can’t think of a more appropriate place to honor his legacy to Colby than the welcome pavilion in this world-class athletic facility.”

Richard R. Schmaltz Welcome Pavilion

Commitment to Waterville and Colby

Both the Dignam and Schmaltz families have deep ties to Waterville and to Colby. The Dignam family home was just a few blocks from the site of the new gallery. Joan’s grandparents William Hughes Dignam and Mary Hazel Larkin Dignam operated a successful cigar business under the name of Larkin & Dignam Co. on Main Street in Waterville in the early part of the 20th century, while Joan’s grandmother was an opera singer in the Waterville Opera House across the street from the new Paul J. Schupf Art Center. Four of the six children of William and Mary Dignam are among the more than 20 Dignam family members to attend Colby. Joan’s aunt Mary Dignam Murphy was the first, graduating in 1931, followed by Joan’s father, Walter Larkin Dignam ’33. Dick and Joan’s daughter, Heide Schmaltz Dolan ’87, also attended Colby, as did their granddaughter Megan Lasher ’15. Their grandson Bower Schmaltz is currently a member of the Class of 2024.

Likewise, for nearly 60 years, Dick Schmaltz has supported Colby in a range of significant ways, including serving as a trustee for more than 33 years, supporting many Colby priorities as a loyal donor along with his wife, Joan, and, most importantly, being a perpetual enthusiast for the College’s highest and best aspirations. In recognition of his commitment to Colby, Dick Schmaltz was given the Marriner Distinguished Service Award in 1997, which is one of the most prestigious recognitions an alumnus can receive. 

Earlier in the Dare Northward campaign, Dick and Joan Schmaltz and their family, including daughter Heide Schmaltz Dolan ’87, created the Schmaltz Family Effective Communication Initiative with a $1.25-million gift. This initiative takes a systematic approach to integrating oral communication into the curriculum by training faculty to teach public speaking in existing courses, supporting distinct courses in public speaking, and facilitating workshops, events, and collaboration with other initiatives.

“My father has dedicated an enormous amount of his time and energy to Colby since he graduated,” said Dana Schmaltz. “His loyalty to the College that provided him a great education and a number of the most significant relationships of his life has been a venerable lesson for me. He was the first in his family to attend college, and that experience launched Dad onto a very successful financial career in New York. He and my mother have been incredible role models for me and my sister in so many ways. I am delighted to honor each of them by naming these great Colby facilities that mirror the success of how they have lived their lives.” 

Dana Schmaltz serves as managing partner at Boston-based Yellow Wood Partners, LLC, a private equity firm he founded in 2011, which focuses on the consumer products industry. He is a 1985 graduate of St. George’s School, where he currently serves on the board of trustees, and he received an A.B. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Kate Enroth is an active volunteer in Boston, serving on the boards of the Nichols House Museum, the Friends of the Public Garden, and the Beacon Hill Garden Club. She also received an A.B. from Dartmouth College and holds a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.