Beyea, former director of the ACLU of Maine, will bring her public policy expertise and passion for helping others to Mayflower Hill

WATERVILLE — Alison Beyea has been appointed as the executive director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs at Colby College.

Beyea, an attorney and advocate, is the former executive director of the ACLU of Maine, where she distinguished herself as a leader and fierce defender of civil rights.

“Alison brings extraordinary experience and a record of deep accomplishment in the law and in public policy to this position. She is a person of enormous vision, energy and creativity, and I know that she will lead Goldfarb in new and exciting directions,” said Provost and Dean of Faculty Margaret McFadden. “Her commitment to enabling and empowering student leaders and to supporting faculty work in public policy make her the ideal leader for Goldfarb at this moment.”

Beyea joined the Goldfarb Center on Jan. 23.

“In a time of increased societal division and high-stakes, complex public policy issues, the Goldfarb Center can help to lead the discussion about solutions, with our students and faculty at the center of our efforts,” Beyea said. “The Goldfarb Center has a distinguished history, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the College and Colby students to expand the reach of the center on campus, in Maine, and beyond.”

The Goldfarb Center was established in 2003 with a gift from Colby Trustee Emeritus William Goldfarb ’68, P’00. The mission of the center is to connect the Colby community to the nation’s most pressing current events, foster awareness of the role of public policy, and inspire active citizenship.

Beyea follows Executive Director Kimberly Flowers, who left the Goldfarb Center last year and is now a senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

Through its work, the Goldfarb Center engages students across disciplines and explores how to address public policy challenges through creative and thoughtful programming. Committed to a nonpartisan, inclusive approach, the center hosts high-profile events with world leaders, innovative thinkers, influential politicians, community activists, and cutting-edge academics, and creates networking opportunities for students interested in public affairs.

It awards the Franko-Maisel Public Policy Prize to a graduating senior each spring, hosts the annual Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism, funds internship and research opportunities for students, and supports faculty with course development stipends.

As executive director of the Goldfarb Center, Beyea said she was looking forward to combining her two most important and meaningful professional callings—working to solve pressing public policy issues and student and youth leadership.

“This felt like an unbelievable opportunity to combine my experience working as a law and public policy practitioner with my dedication to growing programs that support and develop student leadership.”

Currently, Beyea works as a consultant at Consulting in the Public Interest, where she advises leaders in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors about how to develop innovative, equitable, and mission-driven strategies to scale impact.

Beyea spent nearly eight years as executive director of the Maine ACLU, from 2014 to 2022, leading the statewide organization that is dedicated to defending the liberties and rights of individual citizens. She distinguished herself as an advocate for civil rights and as a statewide leader on issues of criminal legal reform, racial justice, and the rights of youth. During her tenure, the organization doubled its size and revenue and increased diversity among the staff. 

Prior to joining the ACLU, Beyea was director of admissions at the University of Maine School of Law, her alma mater, where she also worked as an adjunct professor specializing in juvenile law and policy.

During her career, she has also been a senior attorney at the Muskie School of Public Service; cofounder and attorney at Kids Legal, a project of Pine Tree Legal Assistance; and worked as judicial law clerk for Judge Kermit Lipez of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland and for Chief Justice Daniel Wathen of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Early in her career, she was a field coordinator for a congressional candidate from Iowa and a constituent coordinator for Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois.

In addition to her law degree from the University of Maine School of Law, Beyea holds a B.A. from Kenyon College in Ohio.