Home News
Colgate News / liberal arts

From the Colgate Scene: Machine Project and the Hamiltonians

February 4, 2016
Chris Kallmyer adjusts sound levels on his computer while students rake leaves

Regional Raking with Chris Kallmyer from the Colgate Scene (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Last fall, 11 artists conducted experiments with the Colgate and Hamilton communities, posing philosophical questions that included: What is art?

Machine Project is a Los Angeles–based organization “that works with artists to develop new projects often involving performance or participation with the public,” explained founder Mark Allen. Its troupe has traveled the world, performing in various combinations and sites, but this was the first time they collaborated with a whole town.

Events ranged from interpretive dance, to protest songs, to intuition workshops. “Machine Project is part of a larger genre, which is sometimes called social practice,” said art and art history professor DeWitt Godfrey, who invited the group to Colgate. “Artists use the relationships between people or within communities as a kind of material — not just a setting, but actually how people interact with each other and what that says about who we are.”

As Colgate prepares to celebrate the performing arts during a weekend-long event this March, the Scene features the story of the Machine Project, its artistic interactions with Colgate and the Village of Hamilton. Keep reading to define the undefinable, discover an original duplicate, protest the protest song, and much more.

Related Links
Department of Arts and Art History 

The Arts on Campus

About Hamilton, N.Y. 

Students capture life in new exhibition

January 22, 2016
Photo by Madeline Bailey '18 as part of the Captured by the Lens exhibition, currently on display

A photograph by Madison Bailey ’18 — with the working title Flathands — which is part of the Captured by the Lens exhibition, currently on display.

From family moments, to campus life and selfies, student photography filled a new exhibition, called Captured by the Lens, at Colgate’s Longyear Museum of Anthropology and two other locations. Read more

Denise Larson ’19: A Letter To My Fellow Second Semester Classmates

January 16, 2016
Photo by Denise Larsen '19

Photo by Denise Larson ’19

Dear Class of 2019,

I had an experience the other day that forced me to think deeply about something that is of immediate importance to us all. I attended a holiday brunch, and my neighbor asked me: “Can you believe you finished your first semester of college?” My answer: “Not at all…I mean kinda yes?” My neighbor probably expected that as a college student I’d be a little more articulate, but as I spoke, that question struck me as surprisingly complex.

It’s a question that we all must consider. Whether or not we’ve realized it, we’re in an odd place. As winter break comes to a close, it’s notable that the last time we were away from campus for this long, many of us had only ever been there on a college visit. Yet, as we flock back to campus with the same magnitude of peers that we encountered on move-in day, we’ve got a full semester under our belt, and that’s significant.

In terms of what this means in regards to second semester, let me break down my disjointed answer to the not-so-simple question.

Read more

Colgate Videographer Brian Ness: My five favorite videos of 2015

December 28, 2015
Colgate Memorial Chapel

Memorial Chapel featured in the video “Colgate from Above”

(Editor’s note: we asked Brian Ness, Colgate’s video journalist, to pick his five favorite videos of 2015.)

Colgate from above
Not long ago, this shot would have involved a lot of equipment and a massive budget. Now it just takes the deft talents of Ahmad Khazaee ’05, a quadcopter flying ace.

Frosty Fall morning
This is the reason I always have a camera in my car. One morning, after I parked, I took a quick walk and grabbed these shots — good way to start the day.

Colgate Fund Journey
With this collection of videos, we decided to not use dialogue, making it an interesting challenge to completely tell a story using just visuals. It really was amazing to work with someone as talented as Allison Spanyer ’16, who is able to communicate so much with just a subtle expression.

Experimenting with Lava
Professor Karen Harpp’s class was experimenting with actual lava in Syracuse. They invited me to come and shoot the results. How often do you get to eat a steak that was cooked over molten rock?

Mark Dion
As the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Artist in Residence during the spring semester of 2015, Mark Dion invited students and Hamilton community members to create their own art. The results were featured in this display, which I filmed. My personal favorite is the jackalope.


Karen Harpp wins the 2015 Balmuth teaching award.
The complete Colgate in 13 seconds playlist.
The Colgate Fund.
The best photographs of 2013



Kiplinger ranks Colgate for value

December 18, 2015
(Photo by Andrew Daddio)

(Photo by Andrew Daddio)

A new list released by Kiplinger this week ranks Colgate University 10th among the top 100 best values in liberal arts colleges, and 19th overall among all schools ranked for value.

Kiplinger’s rankings system is entirely data driven, and their report cites Colgate’s student performance for median earnings 10 years after graduation ($61,500), low student debt, a high average need-based aid award, and a 90-percent four-year graduation rate. Additional metrics include admission rates, average SAT and ACT scores of incoming first-year students, and the school’s retention rate.

“Neither our opinion nor anyone else’s affects the calculation,” Kiplinger’s website states.

Read more

Urban Sociology goes to New York City

December 11, 2015
People standing outside on a street, waiting for a punk show to begin at ABC No Rio (Photo by Chandler Wood)

Waiting for a punk show to begin at ABC No Rio (Photo by Chandler Wood ’17)

The following post was submitted by Professor Kim Creasap, and published on the Sociology and Anthropology blog.

On October 24, 2015, 16 students in SOC 305: Urban Sociology and I traveled to the Lower East Side of Manhattan to conduct mini-ethnographies of various places and spaces in the neighborhood. An important site of New York City history and contemporary urban change, the Lower East Side offered us an incredible range of locations and communities to illustrate course themes.

Read more

Penny Lane’s new film NUTS! to premiere at Sundance

December 7, 2015
animation from the movie NUTS! showing Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire in Depression-era America with a goat testicle impotence cure

NUTS!, from assistant professor Penny Lane, will premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival

NUTS!, a new documentary film by assistant professor of art and art history Penny Lane, will premiere at next month’s Sundance Film Festival. NUTS! tells the story of John Romulus Brinkley, who, in 1917, offered a cure for impotence by transplanting goat testicles.

“Sundance is by far the premiere venue to launch an American independent feature film,” Lane said. “I was overjoyed by the invitation, and I am really excited to see how the audience there responds to the film.”

The New York Times, citing the festival’s lineup guide, reports, “In keeping with a recent trend in documentary filmmaking, nontraditional, sometimes controversial storytelling techniques will be on full display [at Sundance] … The director Penny Lane, for instance, uses animated re-enactments and ‘one seriously unreliable narrator’ to trace the ‘mostly true’ story of a man who found success selling a goat-testicle impotence cure.”

Portrait of Penny Lane

Penny Lane

Lane’s previous credits include Our Nixon, a documentary featuring home movies shot by President Richard Nixon’s aides, and The Voyagers, a short film about “two small spacecraft, an epic journey, taking risks, and falling in love. Also Carl Sagan.” Lane traveled the hemisphere in search of background information for NUTS! Her expeditions — and the film itself — were funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, Creative Capital, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Colgate University Research Council, and a successful $80,000 Kickstarter campaign.

“A campaign like that has the added effect of creating a small but enthusiastic army of fans who feel like they were in it ‘from the beginning.,’” Lane said.

Find out more at brinkleyfilm.com and, in the weeks ahead, on the Sundance Film Festival website.

Interim Provost Constance Harsh invited to White House roundtable

November 21, 2015
Sustainability at Colgate University

Colgate’s sustainability efforts recognized by White House

On November 19, Interim Dean of the Faculty and Provost Constance Harsh participated in a roundtable discussion at the White House to take part in launching the American Campuses Act on Climate day of action.

“It was very good to witness the serious purpose that animated the participants,” Harsh said after the event. “Students have a real sense of urgency about this. Higher education has an important role to play here.”

Harsh joined a select group of higher education presidents, other campus and business leaders, as well as high-ranking government officials, including EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Karen Florini of the State Department, at the White House event.

Colgate has a nationally renowned commitment to sustainability. On Wednesday, Interim President Jill Harsin reiterated our commitment to sustainability in a letter to the White House. Specifically, Colgate’s commitments include:

  • Achieving carbon neutrality by 2019, our bicentennial
  • Making carbon neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students
  • Incorporating sustainable practices in all campus planning and building design from inception to implementation
  • Achieving a minimum of LEED Silver standards for all new construction and major renovations
  • Enhancing teaching and learning, creating long-term economic resiliency, building and restoring robust ecological systems, and supporting a healthier and more just society

“I am proud that Colgate is one of the higher education leaders in confronting climate change, particularly in our pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2019,” said Harsh.

Colgate also participated in the #ActOnCampus hashtag on Twitter, showing some of our sustainability successes.

First residential commons named for Diane Ciccone ’74, P’10

November 12, 2015
Students hold up a sign reading "Welcome to the Ciccone Commons"

Students celebrate the naming of Ciccone Commons (Photo by Nick Gilbert ’18)

Colgate’s inaugural residential commons, which opened its doors on Arrival Day 2015, will be named for Diane Ciccone ’74, P’10. Commons residents made the choice by popular vote after reviewing a slate of important names in Colgate’s history.

“I am humbled and honored with the naming of Ciccone Commons,” Ciccone said. “It not only recognizes my lifetime commitment to Colgate but more importantly it acknowledges the many voices of women and people of color in Colgate’s story — a story that will be woven into the historical fabric of the institution’s commitment to coeducation and inclusion.” Read more

“Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin to perform at Colgate

November 10, 2015
Portrait of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Legendary vocalist Aretha Franklin will perform on campus as part of the Kerschner Family Series Global Leaders at Colgate at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Sanford Field House. Tickets for the Colgate community and the general public will be released in mid-January — watch colgate.edu/globalleaders for details as they become available.

Known around the world by her first name, and as the reigning “Queen of Soul,” Franklin’s repertoire spans pop, soul, jazz, rock, blues, and gospel.

Franklin was named the #1 Vocalist of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2009. The first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, she is the recipient of numerous awards, including 18 Grammys, five American Music Awards, and four NAACP Image awards. To date, she has received 12 honorary doctorate degrees.

The Global Leaders series, sponsored by Colgate’s Parents’ and Grandparents’ Fund, allows the university to invite inspirational leaders like Franklin to campus. Other guests have included former prime minister of Israel, Shimon Peres; Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder; Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state; President Bill Clinton; Russian political activist Gary Kasparov; Tony Blair, former prime minister of Great Britain; Felipe Calderón, former president of Mexico; and the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

Related Links
Global Leaders at Colgate
Hillary Clinton defends America’s role as world leader during Global Leaders address
Richard Branson to Colgate University: ‘The world needs entrepreneurs’
Aretha Franklin on Twitter

Students to launch online course for kids

November 6, 2015
BreadX video shoot

Four classmates work to record a video for the BreadX online course.

A lot of science, engineering, artistry, and culture have gone into that piece of crusty, buttered bread devoured at the dinner table. It’s those elements that are the basis for a new open online course, BreadX, soon to be launched by Colgate first-year undergraduates for use by school-age students, grades six and up, worldwide.

Starting November 15, BreadX: From Ground to Global, on the EdX Edge platform, will guide participants in scholarly exploration of one of the world’s most ubiquitous foods and its global connections.

Read more

YouTube battles of David Jordan ’17 powered by art and technology

October 24, 2015
David Jordan

David (D.J.) Jordan takes a photo of a 3D model he created to test for use in his stop-motion animation projects. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

A studio art major, member of the Colgate Thirteen, and president of the Brothers student organization, David (D.J.) Jordan ’17, of Brooklyn, N.Y. is not only an impressive student, he’s also a bit of a YouTube star.

With more than 9.2 million views and 17,000 subscribers to his PilotTails YouTube page, Jordan has created a cult following of his hand-made, stop-motion homages to all things anime and gaming.

Read more

Dean Suzy Nelson on living the liberal arts

October 21, 2015
Members of Colgate's first Residential Commons gather for a presentation on arrival day.

Members of Colgate’s first residential commons gather for a presentation on arrival day. Photo by Nicholas Friedman ’16

Editor’s note: The following op-ed was first published in the Huffington Post.

Last year, students at my college staged a 100-hour sit-in to call for a more inclusive campus community. After sitting for hours in the lobby of the main administration building, listening to stories of students feeling isolated and marginalized, I knew we had to do things differently.

Where to begin? We could draw on our own extensive research about what are known in higher education as “campus climate” challenges. For example, we had conducted a campus-wide survey and found great encouragement for changing the student residential experience. We learned of the desire to break down barriers where first-year and sophomore students lived “up the hill,” and most juniors and seniors lived “down the hill.”

A group of professors, staff members, students, and alumni later met to connect these recommendations to a residential program that might begin to make a positive difference for all students. A plan we call “Living the Liberal Arts” emerged as the framework that would put students at the heart of these changes. The goal is to help all students feel they belong, and experience stronger academic and co-curricular connections, from the very first day they arrive on campus.

The biggest change to date: Beginning with 200 members of the Class of 2019 who moved in in August, we are rolling out a Residential Commons Program. These students have a ready-made group of staff, student-leader, and faculty affiliates who will participate in naming the space, developing traditions, selecting a mascot, and choosing unifying colors and symbols. They’ll establish intramural teams, plan social outings, and arrange for gatherings throughout the year. And while this group of first-year students will live “up the hill” in two connected residence halls, they will also be affiliated with a house “down the hill,” as part of the same commons with sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

To reinforce the effort to build community and a sense of belonging, events will take place in both campus locations, and we are also connecting academic and co-curricular life in more meaningful ways. Each commons residence has a classroom, where first-year seminars will be taught. Also, each commons will have a sophomore residential seminar embedded into the community. Every Friday afternoon, the faculty directors of the first commons are hosting a tea for members of the community, and weekly dinners featuring scholarly topics are hosted in the common’s house on Broad Street for students, faculty, and alumni guests.

We’ve also renovated living spaces. We wanted to create welcoming gathering areas for student-led activities, so there are new kitchens for communal cooking, new televisions, fresh carpet, and, of course, paint. Additional renovations and new construction are planned for each year of the five-year residential commons rollout.

The residential commons concept isn’t new, and many students find their place in a club or group that becomes part of their social foundation. What is new is the inclusivity of the program, with faculty, students, and staff participating.

In a traditional residential system, that effort is seldom deliberate. It’s very transitory. Maybe somebody knows your name, maybe they don’t. Students move in and move out. We learned that we needed to do more. We want each student to be part of a community with an immediate sense of place, and a home to return to as graduates.

By 2020, all of our first-year students will have started their college experience in one of four residential commons.

Professor Rebecca Shiner, co-leader of our first commons, told me about students’ responses to the question, “Why are you excited to be part of the commons?” The responses included: “Intellectual community,” “Aspire to help out younger class years,” “Direct connection to the Class of 2019,” “Community and friendship,” “Free shirts and food,” and my favorite, “Leaving a legacy.”

I am looking forward to the traditions that they will add to the history of this almost 200-year-old college. The reality is that higher education — especially on a residential campus — was never intended to be confined to the classroom.

Learning happens everywhere: in the residence hall, on an athletic team, in student organizations, and especially in the relationships that students develop with professors, staff members, and other peers. Students are looking for a home away from home and an enriching experience. What better way to help than to provide the best tools they need to build that community, beginning with where they live?

Related links:

Residential Commons
Commons FAQ
Commons 2019 launch
Class of 2019 Arrival Day

Welcome to the Machine

September 8, 2015
The Machine Project

Machine Project is a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to helping artists do fun experiments together with the public. Project artists will be coming to Colgate’s campus and the Village of Hamilton throughout the semester to create an innovative series of community art projects.

Ten artists, performers, and innovators will visit Colgate and the Village of Hamilton throughout the fall semester to usher in a new experience in community-driven performance and display.

And they need your help.

Perfect Strangers: Machine Project and the Hamiltonians will unfold from the week of September 8 to November 13 on campus and at various sites throughout the village. Artists and performers from the Machine Project, a Los Angeles-based group, will visit Colgate as part of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Visiting Artist-in-Residence.

Visiting artists will collaborate with university faculty and village residents to create and display immersive art installations.

Read more

Students present summer research

July 24, 2015


From photochemical pathways to early animation devices to homosexuality in the Arab world — undergraduate research topics explored this summer by students and faculty were presented at yesterday’s poster session.  Read more

New grant supports the science of mind reading

July 15, 2015
Professor Bruce Hansen works with students to prepare a test subject for a brain scan.

Professor Bruce Hansen works with students to prepare a test subject as they try to determine whether electroencephalography captures the brain interpreting everyday experiences. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Colgate Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Bruce Hansen probably should have predicted his recent $600,000 James S. McDonnell Foundation award to fund the next six to eight years’ worth of lab work with dozens of students.

After all, his research could easily be considered mind reading.

Read more

Zhou Tian’s new violin concerto “The Infinite Dance” delights

June 24, 2015
Composer and Colgate music professor Zhou Tian

Composer and Colgate music professor Zhou Tian

What do J.S. Bach’s Partitas and traditional Chinese erhu (violin) music have in common? For one thing, a new concerto, “The Infinite Dance,” called by one reviewer “quite original” with “soaring melodic loveliness” and “magical” effect — a “minor masterpiece.”

But for Colgate music professor and composer Zhou Tian, a deeper commonality served as his inspiration: both are musical forms inspired by dance.

“I am fascinated by the frequently similar energy … even though their musical roots cannot be more different: partitas were composed based on matured Western music theory, while erhu music is often freely improvised,” Zhou explained.

Read more

Exploring the intersection of MoMA’s print and digital marketing

June 8, 2015
Lauren Casella '15 at MoMA, where she is interning for the summer

Lauren Casella ’16 at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, where she is interning for the summer

Editor’s note: This blog post is the first in a series written by students about their summer experiences.

Last week, I started my internship in New York City, working for the marketing department at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Housing collections of architecture, design, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and film, MoMA is regarded as one of the most influential modern art museums in the world. Read more

April Bailey ’14 and Professor Spencer Kelly publish in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

May 28, 2015

April Bailey ’14 began studying gender and power dynamics at Colgate, in classrooms and in the lab with Spencer Kelly, professor of psychology and neuroscience. Now a PhD student in the social psychology program at Yale, Bailey has already published the first paper of her career.

Titled “Picture power: Gender versus body language in perceived dominance,” the paper is based on Bailey’s senior thesis at Colgate. It appeared in the April 2015 issue of the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, and was subsequently covered by Psychology Today.

“The upshot of the study is clear,” wrote Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “For women, if you want to appear powerful, you have not only to walk, but to stand and sit, like a man. It doesn’t take designer clothes, expensive suits, killer heels or even short hair to show that you’re in charge. Your body’s pose will tell it all.”

April Bailey '14

April Bailey ’14, PhD student at Yale

Bailey, first author on the paper, conducted her research at Colgate. Participants were presented with images of men and women in dominant and submissive poses, and then given a word and asked to quickly classify the word as dominant or submissive. The research also measured how quickly participants could make this decision and how many errors were made.

The results showed that participants associated dominant words with dominant poses for both men and women, but when it came to submissive poses, things weren’t as clear. While participants did link submissive words to submissive poses for women, men in submissive poses caused confusion. Participants didn’t always link submissive words to submissive poses for men.

Bailey also presented her research at the Nonverbal Preconference to the 16th Annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology in Long Beach, California, in February 2015. (PDF of poster)

Colgate honors first-generation graduates

May 27, 2015
First Generation Lunch photo

Students, faculty, family, and friends gathered at the inaugural First Generation Luncheon last week. (Photo by Daniel DeVries)

It started with one student standing to thank her family for their support at the inaugural First-Generation Luncheon during commencement weekend.

“I think I’m here to thank you, not just for your sacrifices in the past four years, but for everything you’ve done in my life,” said the political science major from the Bronx, N.Y.

Read more

Colgate joins new consortium for online pedagogy

May 11, 2015
Administrators collaborate at a shared table

Left to right: David Smallen, vice president for libraries and information technology, Hamilton College; Wendy Raymond, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, Davidson College; Douglas Hicks, provost and dean of the faculty, Colgate University; Andrew Shennan, provost and dean of the college, Wellesley College (credit: Wellesley College)

Colgate University and three peer liberal arts institutions joined together today in a new consortium focused on online teaching and learning.

The agreement between Colgate, Davidson College, Hamilton College, and Wellesley College is aimed at strengthening collaboration around online technologies, including the edX platform, where Colgate is now hosting its first fully open online learning experience: Greeks at War.

Read more

Japanese Speech Contest fosters cultural connections

May 8, 2015
Photo by Zoe Zhong '17

The Japanese Speech Contest, now in its 13th year, was open to students of Japanese and all other disciplines. Photo by Zoe Zhong ’17

The Japanese Speech contest celebrated its 13th year this April with a lineup of 13 competing speakers and a variety of Japanese food and performances. Read more

Alexandria Dyer ’14 awarded a Fulbright to conduct research in Ghana

May 6, 2015

Alexandria Dyer ’14, of Portland, Ore., has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to travel to Ghana to study public health.

Dyer will conduct research on the empowering social space of women’s hair salons and will then develop a pilot women’s health workshop for these informal settings.

Read more

Members of Colgate Class of 2015 award their Torch Medals

May 1, 2015
Ben Cook '15 gave his torchmedal to Roxanne Benson

Ben Cook ’15 gave his Torch Medal to Roxanne Benson, the administrative assistant for Outdoor Education.

From professors to deans, food service employees to athletic coaches, and many more, countless individuals contribute to students’ academic and personal growth while at Colgate. This spring, members of the Class of 2015 are recognizing those who have influenced their time over the last four years by honoring them with Torch Medals. Read more

Colgate ranks #2 in the nation in new survey of college outcomes and value

April 29, 2015
Colgate alumni give students an important leg up in the business world.

Colgate alumni give students an important leg up in the business world.

Behind only California Institute of Technology and ahead of MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and many others, Colgate today was ranked second-highest among four-year schools for “value-added” with respect to mid-career earnings.

A new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, titled Beyond College Rankings, a Value-Added Approach to Assessing Two- and Four-Year Schools, is the first to study a broad array of colleges on economic outcomes for graduates, using a blend of government and private data sources, including Linkedin and PayScale.

It also factors in seven quality metrics: Curriculum value, percent graduating in a STEM field, alumni skills, graduation rate, retention rate, aid per student, and instructional staff.

Read here for a summary of the report and the list of  the “10 universities that will increase your career earnings the most.”

According to Inside Higher Education, “Brookings characterizes the unobservable reasons why an institution might provide a large value-added boost to its graduates as ‘x factors,’ and attributes 59 percent of Colgate’s value added to such unobserved factors.”

Jonathan Rothwell, lead author and a fellow at Brookings, said, “It’s not the majors that are driving their student success, and it’s not the skills they list on résumés. It may be they have access to great teachers; it may be that their alumni networks are strong.”

According to Brookings, the survey improves on conventional rankings in several ways. The survey includes a much larger number of schools; it focuses on factors that best predict measurable economic outcomes; and it attempts to isolate the effect colleges themselves have on those outcomes, above and beyond what students’ backgrounds would predict.

“This report is serious and comprehensive,” said President Jeffrey Herbst. “The focus on outcomes makes it superior to other rankings. It measures salaries, which is important but not, of course, the whole story. The report articulates the power of our Colgate University professional networks .”

The timing of the new survey from Brookings is attracting widespread media attention, as it comes as many families are in the final throes of weighing college admission and aid offers.

So far, Colgate has been mentioned by Inside Higher EducationNational JournalCNN Money, cbs.com, National Journal, Fusion, and Huffington Post.