13 Things Happening During Colgate’s Bicentennial Year

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Happy Colgate Day. As you read this, the international Colgate community is celebrating by wearing maroon, attending events, and touching base with friends from their days on the hill. There won’t be another Colgate Day for 14 months, but there will be no shortage of excitement in the coming year.

The university’s formal celebration of its Bicentennial begins in September 2018, and the Bicentennial website will officially launch on August 13. Until then, here are 13 things the Colgate University community and alumni can look forward to during our 200th year:

1. Homecoming and Family Weekend will converge into one Bicentennial Kickoff Weekend.

What happens when you combine homecoming, Family Weekend, famed musical guests, and a legion of Bicentennial surprises? One of the most memorable celebrations ever to occur on campus. It all begins September 21–23.

2. Colgate will welcome the highest-achieving freshman class in university history.

Admission to Colgate has always been highly selective, but the incoming freshman class is particularly remarkable. The 829 enrolled students in the Class of 2022 boast the highest average unweighted GPA of any class that has entered the university — 3.72. Chosen from the largest applicant pool with the lowest admit rate in institutional history, the accomplishments of this select group assure they are prepared to embrace the academic rigor they will find at Colgate. As Associate Dean of Admission Drew Riley recently stated, “We are clearly attracting some of the most talented, motivated, and interesting students in the world.”

3. Campus will become even more beautiful.

Colgate is known as one of America’s most beautiful campuses, and this beauty will be amplified during the Bicentennial year. The Master Landscape Plan includes planting 200 Bicentennial trees on upper campus as living tributes to Colgate’s rich history, inspiring community, and promising future.

4. All class years will return for the Bicentennial Reunion.

If you’ve attended a Colgate reunion, you know that you can expect a momentous experience. This year, in honor of Colgate’s 200th birthday, we’re taking the occasion to a higher level and welcoming back all alumni for a Bicentennial All-Class Reunion. Mark your calendars for May 30–June 2.

5. Grants will propel faculty research.

Colgate faculty are working on a variety of projects that promise to make important progress in their fields of study. Currently, 42 faculty from 15 departments are conducting research funded by 53 active grants from 22 federal agencies and private foundations. Plus, faculty aren’t the only ones who benefit from this funding; students are gaining valuable research experience by working with professors on these projects.

6. Colgate Magazine will make its debut.

With a new look and a new name, Colgate Magazine (formerly the Colgate Scene) will be unveiled this fall. This Bicentennial-themed issue will honor the university’s history, highlight current initiatives, and give a glimpse into its future. Look for it in your mailbox (or online) this October.

7. Colgate will tour the country.

Alumni who can’t make it back to Hamilton can attend Bicentennial events in cities closer to home, held from October 2018 through March 2019. View the traveling exhibit and hear from Becoming Colgate author Jim Smith ’70. Additional guest speakers will explore a variety of topics in Colgate’s history, including the institution’s founding, co-education, wartime at the university, diversity, and athletics.

8. Benton Hall will open its doors.

Construction of Colgate’s new state-of-the-art career services facility is days away from completion. Funded exclusively by alumni and parents, the 17,000 square-foot building will be the setting where many of Colgate’s exceptional post-graduate outcomes are achieved. Currently, more than 98 percent of our students secure employment, graduate school admission, fellowships, scholarships, or military commission within 10 months after graduation.

9. The Raiders will play under new leadership.

Last year was one of the most successful in Colgate sports history. University teams performed well at national tournaments and in the classroom, maintaining a 98-percent graduation success rate. Colgate Athletics enters this Bicentennial year under the leadership of new Vice President and Director of Athletics Nicki Moore. As the CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports commented, “Colgate has been winning, and (Nicki) will keep that going.”

10. The Living Writers series will engage alumni who love reading.

This year’s Living Writers series will feature Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, a MacArthur fellow, and “punk poet laureate” Patti Smith, who was recently named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The Colgate community is invited to read one book, or all nine. Participants will have access to exclusive content, online book discussions, and on-campus author events (or the Livestream and video of these, available online).

11. Founders Week will bring Colgate history to life.

Observed from September 24–28, Founders Week will include a variety of important programs and events to mark the 200th anniversary of Colgate’s 13 founders. The campus, the local community, and anyone who wishes to extend their Kick-off Weekend visit by a few more days will enjoy art exhibits, documentaries, lectures, and tours that illustrate the breadth of experiences and voices of our past.

12. Colgate traditions will continue.

Perhaps the most poignant happenings during the Bicentennial year will be those that are not new. Traditions accumulated across two centuries will endure as current students carry on the timeless experience that is Colgate. Torchlight ceremonies, Core courses, songs of yore, off-campus study, Salmagundis, tailgates, torch medals, strong faculty-student relationships, and more — they will all continue, along with Colgate’s most important tradition: changing lives.

13. After a record year, Colgate will continue to ascend.

The Bicentennial is expected to be a year of unparalleled strength. Last year, Colgate received a record number of student applications, hosted its highest number of reunion attendees ever, and received the strongest support for the Colgate Fund in university history. This momentum, coupled with Bicentennial fervor, could mean even greater achievement for Colgate, all of which position the institution to realize President Casey’s Vision for Colgate’s Third Century.