In the small Maine town of Fryeburg, Michelle Boucher ’17 was a community-service whirlwind, pressing to find solutions wherever she saw a problem.

At Colby, she did the same—helping to make the Colby experience even better for generations of students to come.

Universal Student Experiences

Boucher’s legacy of accomplishments is a rich one. She helped create a sexual-violence curriculum that guides first-years and sophomores as they navigate the issue. She suggested the creation of an emergency book fund that now assists students caught short of funds when textbooks are needed.

And she persevered when it appeared her summer jobs wouldn’t provide enough money to allow for her to have an abroad experience while at Colby.

Boucher presented her case and the College made it possible for the senior to study in Italy for her last Jan Plan. It was, she said, a profoundly transformative experience. Her frequent, enthusiastic, and carefully written reports from abroad also helped transform the lives of future Colby students.

Boucher was part of the inspiration for the program DavisConnects, established last spring thanks to the generosity of the Davis family and trustee of its charitable foundation, Andrew Davis ’85, LL.D. ’15, which supports internship, research, and global experiences—enriching a liberal arts education and expanding postgraduate opportunities.

“Michelle was, in fact, part of our thinking when we set out to create universal experiences for people like her who are filled with initiative but might not have the resources to take advantage of everything that’s available to them,” said President David A. Greene.

The eventual Condon Medal winner was modest about her accomplishments when she was honored by classmates before commencement, saying it was mostly her Colby friends and supporters who made her Colby experiences possible. And with that she was off to make her way in the world, beginning, of course, by looking to help others. Boucher’s first stop after Colby was a school in Massachusetts that helps students with learning disabilities.

It isn’t easy, she said in an email to a long list of Colby friends recently, but “when students genuinely thank me after class, or jump up a few levels in their reading fluency, or get excited to set off tiny matchstick rockets in lab and can take confidence in their ability to understand that a rocket shoots upwards because of Newton’s Third Law (UGH I sound like such a science teacher), it makes it all worth it.”

Colby would say the same.