WATERVILLE (AP) -Shelby M.C. Davis, whose donations to Colby College add up to $15 million a year, got something back during the liberal arts college’s commencement Sunday.

Davis, whose financial gifts pay tuitions for scores of Colby students so they can go on to receive degrees, received an honorary doctorate of his own. Davis also got to see 13 of the students he sponsored graduate.

A crowd estimated in the thousands attended ceremonies for the 484 graduates, which was moved indoors because of rain.

Davis’ donations pay for 93 students in all four classes, or more than 5 percent of Colby’s student body, the Waterville college said. Recipients come from countries all over the world.

The ceremony also had a sad side as Colby mourned the loss of Dawn Marie Rossignol, a student who was murdered last September in the fall of her senior year.

President William Adams presented a posthumous honorary bachelor of arts degree to Dawn’s parents, Charleen and Emilio Rossignol of Medway.

Rossignol’s loss was noted by the keynote speaker, Richard Russo, a Colby faculty member who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for his book “Empire Falls.”

AP-ES-05-23-04 1613EDT

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