Third-Century Priorities

As the institution begins its third century, Colgate will pursue its mission at an even higher level, to establish the University, more firmly than today, as one of the small handful of truly outstanding colleges and universities in the nation and the world.

The legacy of the founders of the University demands that we be ambitious. The mission of the University requires that we enter a period of sustained boldness.

President Brian W. Casey Colgate’s Third-Century Plan
Alumni Memorial Chapel with Bicentennial banners in spring.

The Third-Century Plan is a long-term plan for that quest, which focuses on the following fundamentals for Colgate’s future:

  • Attracting and supporting truly outstanding students, faculty, and staff.
  • Strengthening Colgate’s academic enterprise.
  • Enriching the student experience across residential life, campus programs, and athletics.
  • Sustaining and improving an already beautiful campus and village.

The information below outlines Colgate’s top philanthropic priorities, as articulated in Colgate’s Third-Century Plan. You can read a brief summary of these priorities on this page, or click the button below to view the complete Third-Century Plan. 

If you have questions about the plan or about Colgate’s philanthropic priorities, contact Karl W. Clauss ’90, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, at 315-228-7489 or

Third-Century Priorities

The Colgate Fund is the institution’s most important giving priority. It comprises unrestricted gifts, which provide the University with the financial flexibility to address its greatest needs and opportunities each year. 

Contributions to the Colgate Fund touch every aspect of the student experience. Gifts of all sizes — from $13 to $13,000 — make a difference.

Nationwide, unrestricted giving has declined significantly over the past few years. At the same time, Colgate University supporters set a new record for their contributions to the Colgate Fund. Thanks to Colgate’s savvy, generous, and dedicated alumni network, Colgate’s unrestricted giving totals have risen 30 percent, while participation has increased from 40 to 46 percent. 

Colgate continues to ascend, thanks to these visionary supporters. Achievement of the vision outlined in the Third-Century Plan — including the No-Loan Initiative* — will be enabled by contributions to the Colgate Fund.

Make a Gift to the Colgate Fund

*To learn more about the No-Loan Initiative, see the fundraising priority listed below.

Financial aid has long been a popular cause for University supporters interested in ensuring deserving students of all backgrounds are able to access a world-class Colgate education. As we enter Colgate’s third century, the case for contributing to financial aid has never been more compelling.

As outlined in the University’s Third-Century Plan, Colgate is officially implementing the No-Loan Initiative, starting in fall 2020. The financial aid packages of students with family incomes less than $125,000 will no longer contain long-term loans — only scholarships. 

Through fundraising for financial aid, we hope to establish the endowment required to ensure the permanence of this program and eventually increase the family income level.

Gifts to support financial aid and the No-Loan Initiative can be made in a number of ways, including named scholarships at the required levels. 

The Third-Century Plan, on Financial Aid

Long-Term Goals and Vision

Colgate should seek to garner and apply resources to expand the pool of applicants and to enable the University to enroll the students it seeks: a diverse and talented class of students of increasing promise and achievement.

First Initiatives

The No-Loan Initiative

The rising cost of a college education and student debt continue to be topics of important national conversations. Financial considerations are often a decisive factor for students and their families as they review higher education options. Because of this, starting in fall 2020, Colgate will officially embrace a no-loan policy.

The implementation of this no-loan initiative will benefit Colgate’s selectivity, desirability, and overall reputation. A no-loan financial aid policy sends a clear message about Colgate’s position on college affordability that is competitive with some of the best institutions in the country. 

To learn more about contributing to financial aid and the No-Loan Initiative, contact Robert (Bob) Tyburski at 315-228-7489 or

One of the most prestigious, powerful, and permanent investments that can be made in an institution, endowed professorships allow the University to honor, inspire, and enable top faculty and coaches. Philanthropists who have established these positions have enriched Colgate’s tradition of intellectual rigor while strengthening the University’s financial foundation. 

Throughout the past two centuries, these appointments have played a vital role in establishing an academic environment that features leading scholars and mentors interacting with high-achieving students. 

The Third-Century Plan, on Supporting Faculty

Long-Term Goals and Vision

Colgate must take a number of steps to ensure that — in an increasingly competitive market for outstanding faculty — it attracts a diverse faculty of outstanding teacher-scholars who are uniquely suited to further the University’s academic missions and goals.

Few resources are more central to the greatness of a university than an excellent faculty — active, leading nationally and internationally prominent scholars who are committed to sharing the knowledge they create not only with peers in their academic communities but with talented students eager to learn.


A named professorship is the highest academic award that the University can bestow on a faculty member, and it lasts as long as the University exists. Thus, it is both an honor to the named holder of the appointment and also an enduring tribute to the visionary donor who establishes it. 

Endowed chair holders receive dedicated funds to enhance their research efforts in recognition of extraordinary scholarship. Therefore, endowed chairs serve to enhance a culture of academic excellence among the faculty community. Compared to its peers, Colgate has significantly fewer endowed chairs and distinguished professorships.

By increasing the number of endowed professorships and fellowships, the University has an opportunity to raise the profile of Colgate and its faculty while also supporting other academic priorities.

To learn more about establishing an endowed professorship, contact Thirza Morreale at or 315-228-6776.

On campus, faculty and student artists and creators offer weekly music series, regular theater productions, highly attended dance festivals, and intriguing museum exhibitions that connect closely to the curriculum. Through its signature creative writing programming, its Art and Art History Lecture Series, its links to documentary filmmakers from around the world, and its visiting artists-in-residence programs, Colgate gives its students regular opportunities to engage with world-renowned artists and creators. 

Yet, in spite of these and other high-quality programs, the arts have yet to be fully integrated into the intellectual fabric of the Colgate experience. In this third century, Colgate reaffirms its belief that artistic expression, creative thinking, and innovation must be hallmarks of a Colgate education.

The Middle Campus Plan for Arts, Creativity, and Innovation is not only a rethinking of the role of the arts and creativity at Colgate, but also a rethinking of the campus itself. The Middle Campus — currently a set of large and unrelated buildings including Case-Geyer Library, James C. Colgate Hall, Little Hall, and the Dana Arts Center — comprises the space below the traditional academic quad and above the residential and athletic neighborhoods of Broad Street. Through the long-term development of this region of the campus, Colgate will address long-standing needs in arts and creative facilities and set a new standard for the teaching and creation of the arts, creativity, and innovation within a liberal arts context.

More specifically, the reanimated and rebuilt Middle Campus will be a place of experimentation, with rehearsal and performance spaces for student theater and improvisational groups, maker-spaces for traditional crafting and digital fabrication, and a media lab for interpreting old technologies and analyzing new. It will be a place of design, with studios for architecture, set, and costume design and gallery spaces for student curation. It will be a space of digital creation, with computer labs for coding and programming, digital music composition, and digital photography. It will be a place of hands-on exploration, with archaeological labs and classrooms designed for object-based learning. It will be a place of practice, with rehearsal spaces for music, theater, and dance classes. It will be a place of innovation, with student entrepreneurs conceiving of and creating new apps and new solutions for developing needs. And it will, of course, also be a place of exhibition and performance, with flexible gallery spaces for the University museums and flexible performance spaces.

For more information on these initiatives, contact Robert (Bob) Tyburski at 315-228-7489 or

Mind, Brain, and Behavior connections are the key to answering critical research questions, such as: What does it mean to remember, and why do we forget? What determines our economic choices? What can bird song tell us about the genetics of autism? How do we conquer social biases we do not know we have? The Robert Hung Ngai Ho Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative (MBB) will enable new interdisciplinary research and teaching to explore the linkages between mind, brain, and behavior, which is one of the most urgent and exciting challenges of our time. The foundation of the MBB combines existing, cross-disciplinary strengths at Colgate with innovative, new faculty and student collaborations that will push the boundaries of our understanding of brain function at multiple levels, from genes and cells through behavior and decision-making.

Scientific efforts to unlock the mysteries of the mind, from cellular to behavioral levels of analysis, will generate insights that hold great promise in addressing critical issues of our day. Past research in traditional disciplines has led to an explosive growth in knowledge in the cognitive and neurosciences, but it is clear that answering the fundamental questions about the nature of human thought, and how the mind, brain, and behavior are connected, will require an innovative, interdisciplinary approach. The Robert Hung Ngai Ho Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative at Colgate will provide faculty and students with opportunities to synthesize neurobiological, evolutionary, psychological, linguistic, philosophical, sociological, and other approaches to contemporary, critical issues.

Building on successes in funding from external agencies such as the National Science Foundation and significant growth in student interest, the MBB will share a research nexus in an updated Olin Hall with an interdisciplinary community of investigators from the Psychological and Brain Sciences and Biology, and build intellectual bridges supporting joint research, teaching, and programming initiatives across University divisions (Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and University Studies [particularly the Core]). 

A successful MBB will enliven Colgate’s intellectual and social community, energize an even broader culture of inquiry, and enable faculty and students to cross disciplinary bridges in research and teaching. The MBB community will cultivate undergraduate and faculty scholars with a common commitment to both empirical research and multidisciplinary dialogue.

First Initiative

Olin Hall Renovation

To learn more about supporting the Robert Hung Ngai Ho Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative, contact Shannon Singleterry at 713-240-2593 or email

New Residence Halls

The construction of two new first-year residence halls — Burke Hall and Jane Pinchin Hall — was completed in summer 2019. Colgate seeks financial support for these construction projects.

The first residential additions to the upper campus since Stillman Hall in 1927, the new structures are part of Colgate’s efforts to enhance student life by ensuring that the living spaces also support both community and intellectual engagement. Interiors of the new residence halls break down the artificial divide between teaching places and living spaces — underscoring the academic philosophy that has guided Colgate’s approach to higher education for decades. 

These new residence halls are part of the residential commons system, which was designed to support first- and second-year students as they transition to college.

Third-Century Plan, on Residential Life

Long-Term Goals and Vision 

A Colgate education means all students live the liberal arts, connecting their Colgate education to where they live. To fulfill this vision, Colgate must complete the implementation of the Residential Commons system and develop a comprehensive upper- level residential system that optimizes and enhances the variety of housing options for students in their junior and senior years.

Intro to The Residential Commons System

The way students live at Colgate shapes their education and their experiences. It begins with first- and second-year students living within one of four Residential Commons, led by faculty and staff directors, where the integration of living and learning expands. 

The vision for the Colgate Residential Commons system is also grounded in the desire for every student to have a strong foundational community from the first day, a place where they experience tradition and build class unity, and where University affinity is cultivated. 

The key elements of the Residential Commons system are:

  1. Each first-year student, upon entering Colgate, is affiliated with a Residential Commons. This commons membership is grounded in the desire for every student to have a strong foundational community from the first day, a place where they can experience tradition, benefit from class unity, and build University affinity.
  2. Students live within their Residential Commons for the first and second years, while later maintaining their affiliation as upper-level students through the Broad Street social house affiliated with their commons. Programming occurs in the Residential Commons “up the hill” and within the social house “down the hill” for all members of the commons.
  3. First-year students are housed with the classmates of their first-year seminar (FSEM), and many FSEMs are taught in classrooms located within the Residential Commons.
  4. Each Residential Commons is led by faculty and/or staff directors with the involvement of residential fellows, faculty and staff affiliates, and the Office of Residential Life.
  5. Extensive academic, intellectual, social, cultural, and co-curricular activities involving faculty, staff, and students will occur within each Residential Commons.

To learn more about supporting residential life at Colgate, contact Karl Clauss at 315-228-7489 or

The Colgate Athletic Council (CAC) serves all Colgate athletic programs and student-athletes, by generating the philanthropic support necessary to continue Colgate’s rich history of excellence in the classroom and in Division I Athletics. 

The CAC provides unrestricted support, augments individual program budgets, and provides Colgate athletics with the resources to implement long-term strategic plans and fund critical initiatives that benefit all student-athletes. 

The Third-Century Plan, on Athletics

Long-Term Goals and Vision

Academic excellence combined with athletic excellence is one of Colgate’s most distinctive strengths. As one of the nation’s leading liberal arts institutions, Colgate attracts incredibly bright student-athletes and graduates them at among the best rates in the country (97.4 percent in 2018). 

The Athletics Plan for the Third Century has the following goals:

  1. Recruit: Attract the most talented and motivated students and student-athletes possible who are committed to excelling in academics, athletics, and in their career and personal development;
  2. Build: Design, build, and maintain physical spaces on the Colgate campus that inspire and undergird the pursuit of league championships and national tournament appearances among our varsity student-athletes, and that set the stage for the vigorous pursuit of health, wellness, and connection among all our students; and
  3. Support: Provide the personnel and operational program support necessary for optimal development, performance, and experience of all Colgate students.

These goals will be achieved through three plans:

  1. Facilities: In response to a review of current Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (PERA) facilities and programming needs, a facilities plan projects future facilities and programming needs, defines a set of facility renovation and development priorities, and proposes a phased approach to facilities projects.
  2. Financial Aid and Scholarships: Current institutional policies and guidelines are examined and clarified as they relate to need-based financial aid, athletics financial aid (scholarships), admissions slots, medical non-counter student-athletes, international student-athlete admissions, and the Patriot League Academic Index. Recommendations are proposed for adjustments that are aligned with institutional expectations for academic and competitive success.
  3. Finance and Resource Development: Following an external review of current budgeting and financial management practices, a plan is developed to support the achievement of inspirational aspirations for varsity academic and competitive success.

First Initiatives


  • Reid Athletic Center Renovation
  • Athletics Health & Performance Center
  • Basketball/Volleyball Arena Cotterell Practice Courts

Admission, Scholarships, and Financial Aid:

  • Increase Athletics Scholarships for Emphasized Sports
  • Added Admission Slots


For more information, contact Tom Mariano, Senior Leadership Gifts Officer of Athletics, at or 315-228-6928.

Summer internship, research, and service experiences are an essential part of a Colgate liberal arts education. These immersive endeavors provide transformative avenues for self-discovery and help students connect academic interests with real-world opportunities.  A great summer experience allows students to explore potential career fields, experiment with different work environments, and gain practical skills and knowledge.

Summer experiences are expensive.  Because they are often unpaid or underpaid, many students and their families struggle to afford associated costs, such as travel and living expenses. Through Colgate’s summer funding program, however, students with clearly defined summer plans and goals have access to financial assistance to pursue these opportunities.

Summer Funding is possible through the generosity of alumni and parents who are passionate about ensuring that every Colgate student has access to the life-changing impact summer internships, research, and service can make. Thanks to their support, students of all backgrounds can access these important experiential opportunities.

To learn more or to support the transformative experiences Colgate students gain through internships and summer research, contact Mike Sciola at 315-228-6377 or

In honor of Colgate’s Bicentennial, 200 trees were planted on campus as living tributes to the University’s rich history and promising future. Members of the Colgate community have a unique opportunity to purchase and name these trees.

The Bicentennial Tree plantings were part of a project to restore the upper campus tree canopy to its former glory. The Academic Quad is one of the most important and iconic spaces on Colgate’s campus. Over the past century, many of the quad's trees were destroyed by invasive species.

A gift of $5,000 covers the planting of one tree on Colgate’s upper campus. Supporters will be able to find their tree’s location on a digital map. In addition to location, this map will display donor names and tree species. 

Trees can also be purchased and named in honor or memory of a person, group, or event. In such cases, this information will be displayed on the digital map, as well. Certificates are available upon request. 

Please note that, although the Bicentennial trees will receive the same meticulous care that is administered to all trees across campus, their survival cannot be guaranteed in perpetuity.

The Third-Century Plan, on Campus Beauty

Colgate must carefully steward one of its most precious assets: its campus. The University can take pride in the distinctive beauty of a campus that has shaped the lives of generations of students, faculty, and staff. 

Alumni carry their sense of this place with them when they graduate, and their affection for the campus strengthens their ties to the University. And the campus is a crucial component of Colgate’s aspiration for excellence: the campus and the Village of Hamilton must be inviting to the students, teachers, and staff who will propel Colgate into the top ranks of liberal arts colleges. Enhancing the beauty of the campus, improving its infrastructure, and preserving its natural and built environment for future generations must remain high University priorities.

To learn more or to purchase a Bicentennial tree, contact Kristen Basher at 315-228-7412 or

The Third-Century Plan

As explained by President Casey in his Bicentennial Address.