A glimpse of Colgate history

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While at Colgate, history professor Jason Petrulis was partially tasked with researching the history of the university in advance of the 2019 bicentennial.

With Black History Month coming to a close, Petrulis (now a professor at Cal Poly Pomona) recently took to Twitter to post an important fact from Colgate’s past: four early African-American Colgate students went on to become college presidents.

Portrait of William J. Simmons

William J. Simmons

Simmons attended Colgate from 1868–69 and was the second president of the eponymous Simmons College of Kentucky.
Portrait of Matthew Gilbert

Matthew Gilbert

Gilbert graduated from Colgate in 1887 and was the president of Selma University.
Portrait of John Brown Watson

John Brown Watson

John Brown Watson attended Colgate from 1900–01 and was president of Leland College and what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Team photo of the Colgate basketball team, including Samuel Howard Archer

Samuel Howard Archer

Samuel Howard Archer graduated from Colgate in 1902 and received an honorary degree in 1932. He was the president of Morehouse University and was responsible for making their colors maroon and white.