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Colgate University is an independent liberal arts college currently enrolling 2834 undergraduates leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The University also has a small graduate program leading to the Master of Arts in Teaching, and a few select students may enroll in Master of Arts programs in academic subjects. After 150 years as an all-male institution, Colgate accepted women as entering students in 1970. Women currently comprise approximately half of the undergraduate enrollment.

The University developed from the Baptist Education Society of the State of New York, which was founded in 1817 by “13 men with 13 dollars, 13 prayers, and 13 articles” -- hence the lucky-13 tradition at Colgate. Since that first meeting in the home of Deacon Jonathan Olmstead (still in use on its hilltop site just south of the campus), the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution was re-chartered as Madison University in 1846 and renamed Colgate University in 1890 in recognition of the long service and generosity of members of the Colgate family.

Colgate publications that provide useful information about particular aspects of campus life include the Colgate University Catalogue and Colgate Student Handbook and The Colgate University Academic Honor Code booklet. Information contained in these publications as well as much else can be found at Other publications include the Colgate Maroon-News, a weekly student newspaper; The Colgate Scene, the alumni publication which is published six times a year; and the Salmagundi, the college yearbook.

Minutes of meetings of the Board of Trustees are available in Case Library, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, and other administrative offices.

Students interested in a fuller description of the history of the college should consult A History of Colgate University 1819-1969 (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969) by Howard D. Williams, former University Archivist. It is available at the Colgate Bookstore.

The Community

The Village of Hamilton, founded in 1795 and incorporated in 1816, is named for Alexander Hamilton. The site of the village is in territory ceded by the Iroquois Indians to the State of New York following the Revolution. Elisha Payne, who led the first settlers from New England, is remembered as the village’s founder.

By the 1820s the village was a thriving trading center for an extensive farming area, with two taverns, stores, schoolhouse, church, newspaper, gristmill and sawmill. The Chenango Canal, completed in 1836, put the village on the water route between the Erie Canal at Utica and the Susquehanna River at Binghamton. The railroad, which replaced the canal in the 1870s, was supplanted by the highway in the 1940s.

The largest employer has been Colgate University, and Hamilton remains a small and essentially rural community, little changed in size and character in the past 100 years. The current population of the village is estimated to be between 2100-2400 (excluding Colgate students). The local newspapers are The Mid-York Weekly and the Chenango Valley News.