Jonathan Eaton ’24 Wins 1819 Award

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Jonathan Eaton ’24 of Bethel, Conn., is the recipient of the Colgate Alumni Corporation 1819 Award, given each year to the graduating senior whose character, scholarship, and service to others best exemplify the spirit that is Colgate.

“[Jon] is, by all accounts, hardworking, active, and possesses a generous and giving spirit,” President Brian W. Casey said during the announcement at Colgate’s annual awards convocation. “That is well and good. But those who exemplify the Colgate spirit must also have energy and dedication. There must be drive, empathy, and commitment to place. There must be the understanding that, in this place, we are a community. Therefore, the winner should have demonstrated leadership skills and vision; they must have passion and compassion. Our senior has all of these.”

Eaton, who currently serves as president of the Student Government Association (SGA), is an Alumni Memorial Scholar, Lampert Scholar, and Presidential Ambassador with a double major in international relations and Asian studies. Among his many acts of service to the community, he has also served as a speaking center consultant, an Office of Residential Life Link, and a member of the Colgate Activities Board, Student Conduct Board, and the Ciccone Commons Council. He is a past president of the Ballroom Dancers student organization, choreographing numbers for the group’s Dancefest performances. Members of the incoming Class of 2028 may also know him as an admission tour guide.

Summer research, extended study in New York City, and off-campus study in China shaped Eaton’s academic experience — his intellectual pursuits have earned him the George W. Cobb Award, a Gilman Scholarship, and Phi Beta Kappa membership.

Eaton was selected based on nominations from classmates, professors, and staff members. Many of those nominations mentioned Eaton’s efforts to reform the SGA and make it more communicative and responsive to the needs of the student body. That work has included initiating a rewrite of the SGA constitution and restructuring of the organization. “One often hears from senators about how much they approve of Jon’s leadership and transparency, balance of formality and personable nature, and genuine care for the challenges students face,” read one nomination.

Another nomination noted that Eaton’s leadership style brings people together and sets an example. “I have met very few students who aren’t afraid to say that they did something wrong or own up to their previous actions,” it reads. “Jon is one of those few students.”

Among Eaton’s other achievements, he helped to launch a new PE course on financial literacy, and he is translating a 162-page comic from Chinese to English as part of his senior thesis.

“Each of these honors, positions, and projects,” Eaton says, “enables me to contribute my perspective while deepening my understanding of the world by hearing from others. I want to give in whatever ways I can, and I see my purpose much the same as when I ran for SGA president: turning this house — our campus — into a home.”