Painting of Jeffrey Herbst Now on Display in the Hall of Presidents

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For only the 16th time in more than 200 years at Colgate, a new presidential portrait is on display within the Hall of Presidents at James B. Colgate Hall. 

The painting of Colgate’s 16th President, Jeffrey Herbst, who served from 2010 to 2015, now hangs to the right of President Rebecca Chopp’s portrait. The new oil painting, created by artist Ellen Cooper, depicts Herbst seated in his office with a blue shirt, blazer, and a maroon tie. 

Colgate Board of Trustees Chair Michael Herling ’79, P’08,’09,’12 welcomed a group of alumni, faculty, staff, and trustees to a special ceremony, fittingly on Saturday, May 13, in the Hall of Presidents. Former President Herbst was joined by his wife, Sharron, their son, Spencer, and his wife, Lindsay. Herling lauded Herbst for his leadership during the successful Passion for the Climb campaign and his oversight of construction projects that included the creation of the Trudy Fitness Center. 

“The portrait we unveil today helps to preserve some of these memories for the institution,” Herling said. “It adds to the visual narrative here in the Hall of Presidents. It is appropriate that this is a first stop for new students arriving on campus. They can look up and see the leaders who helped Colgate become their academic home.”

Herbst’s successor, President Brian W. Casey, spoke to guests gathered in the Hall of Presidents beneath a backdrop of paintings representing hundreds of years of presidential service to the University. Casey praised President Herbst’s work to expand Colgate’s off-campus study program during his tenure, resulting in new study groups in Africa and South Asia. 

“A group of students leave in just a few days for Namibia,” Casey said. “They leave there because of you, the voice you brought here.”

Casey also noted Herbst’s foresight in supporting the University’s focus on technology and innovation — in the classroom, and among student researchers, artists, and entrepreneurs.  

“And now, just a few hundred feet from here, just beyond these walls with their portraits, we see rising a new building, one dedicated to technology and innovation. You were one of those who set a cornerstone for that building,” said Casey of the ongoing construction of the Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation. 

Herbst offered reflections of his time at Colgate and Hamilton, especially noting how important his wife, Sharron, was in his work for Colgate. While big moments such as completing the Passion for the Climb, opening Trudy Fitness Center, and expanding financial aid are often cited as achievements of his tenure, Herbst emphasized that smaller, quieter moments resonated for him as he returned to campus.