Colgate Launches Third-Century Plan

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Colgate University, now entering its third century, is a distinctive and strong undergraduate liberal arts college. It has an excellent faculty composed of scholar-teachers of the first order. It attracts students of achievement and promise to a campus of striking beauty. Its loyal alumni have obtained remarkable success as national, civic, commercial, and community leaders. Further, its intangible qualities — its energy, unique size and character, and history — make it distinctive in the landscape of American higher education. Due to the effort and support of many who have been part of the University during its first 200 years, Colgate enters its third century in a strong, enviable position.

The University now seeks to pursue its mission at an even higher level, to firmly establish Colgate as one of the very finest undergraduate institutions in the nation and the world. The Third-Century Plan is a strategic framework designed to focus Colgate on this greater aim and the attainment of a series of long-term goals. It also sets forth specific one to three-year steps to begin meeting its ambitious long term aims. It is designed to significantly strengthen Colgate — academically, financially, and reputationally.

The Third-Century Plan is comprehensive, looking not to favor one aspect of University life, but to bring to each of the fundamental areas of Colgate greater levels of support and accomplishment. It compels the University to seek to attain the highest levels of expression in each endeavor it undertakes.

Colgate is committed, through the adoption of this Third-Century Plan, to true excellence and to the deliberate, long-term time frame and effort that excellence requires.

In May 2019 the Board of Trustees, the University Faculty, and the Alumni Council formally approved Colgate’s Third-Century Plan.

The Fundamentals of the Third-Century Plan

The Third-Century Plan sets forth long-term goals and aspirations in four fundamental areas of the University. It also identifies the first initiatives designed to move the University toward the obtainment of these longer-term goals. Current resources will allow us to take these first steps; fundraising will allow us to meet the long-term goals. As we proceed, we will measure ourselves against our longer-term goals, while continually refining those steps and initiatives that will move us forward.


Attracting and Supporting Outstanding Students and Faculty. Take those steps necessary to attract and enroll students for whom Colgate is the best form of education, and create a work environment to both attract and support those teacher-scholars who will be the leaders of the faculty as the University continues into its third century.

Examples of First Initiatives:
i. Eliminate student loans for families with incomes below $125K.
ii. Continue to make investments in admission operations.
iii. Improve support for junior faculty.


Strengthening the University’s Academic Enterprise. Building on existing Colgate academic strengths while seeking out areas of inquiry and study, develop signature academic programs designed to attract leading students and faculty, and increase the University’s reach and reputation.

Examples of First Initiatives:
i. Launch Robert Hung Ngai Ho Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative, to be located in a renovated Olin Hall.
ii. Build new strengths in arts, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, to be located in a re-imagined and redeveloped Middle Campus.


Enriching the Student Experience. Colgate must provide, for all our students, residential units and programs of the highest quality, with appropriate social and dining spaces, to strengthen our sense of community and engagement. Colgate must also remain committed to athletic success equal to that seen at leading academic-athletic institutions. A residential structure that creates community and an athletic program committed to success should be hallmarks of the Colgate experience.

Examples of First Initiatives:
i. As we finish the two new residence halls, continue our multiyear effort to arrange our first- and second-year students in meaningful Residential Commons.
ii. Increase athletic scholarships so that a few key sports are operating at a national level.
iii. Increase operating support for athletics so that our coaches can focus on the development of Colgate student-athletes.


Improving the Campus and the Environment. The nature of the campus is essential to the Colgate experience, and the attractiveness of the village is essential to the attraction of leading faculty and staff. The University must be committed to the enhancement of both.

Examples of First Initiatives:
i. Launch a village housing program for faculty and staff.
ii. Hamilton Initiative 2.0: Invest in University-owned properties.
iii. Restore the campus tree canopy and landscape.

Read the full Third-Century Plan


Watch President Brian W. Casey’s Bicentennial Address