Young Alumni Build Community as They Celebrate Colgate’s 200th Birthday

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Young Colgate alumni around the country had the opportunity to connect with each other and honor their alma mater’s 200th year at gatherings in six U.S. cities on December 6, 2018.

The “Bicentennial Birthday Parties,” which took place in San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York, attracted about 350 alumni from the classes of 2009 through 2018 for celebration, connection, and cake.

Group picture of young alumni in a Chicago bar holding a Colgate at 200 Years banner

Young alumni gathered at Sidebar in Chicago for one of six Bicentennial Birthday Parties, December 6, 2018.

Those in attendance also had the opportunity to contribute to a special birthday present for Colgate — future generations of students, more specifically. Alumni in each city provided matching funds for any donations made at the event, all to benefit financial aid. The effort yielded the highest young alumni giving rate in a single day for Colgate in many years.

Meghan Brennan ’17, who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work in the tech field after graduation, said that the event allowed her to have meaningful career path discussions with other alumni. “Despite being thousands of miles away from Hamilton, Colgate’s alumni events make me feel right at home,” she said. “It was interesting to hear what paths other alumni have taken with their liberal arts degree. From working in sales at a startup, to writing code at Facebook, no two paths were the same!”

“The fact that it was a young alumni event was nice. The Bicentennial is a momentous event, and all alumni have played a role in making Colgate what it is today,” said James Speight ’14, who gave remarks at the New York City party, which was held at The Malt House. “I got to see some of my former mentees from when I was a Link (first-year orientation leader and mentor). It was great to hear about their success as students and now in New York City where our paths cross again as fellow alumni.

May Bayer '12 and James Speight pose with Colgate at 200 Cake

May Bayer ’12 and James Speight ’14 eagerly anticipate the Colgate at 200 Bicentennial Birthday Party Cake at The Malt House in New York City.

“I caught up with friends I made during my junior summer working for Colgate and living in the townhouses, which we all agreed was one of the best summers we’ve ever had,” Speight continued. “It was also fun competing with other cities in Venmo-ing donations to Colgate to celebrate the night.”

Young alumni can contribute to the Bicentennial Birthday Party financial aid campaign through December 31, 2018 at