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Colgate University celebrates 194th commencement

May 18, 2015
Graduation cap from Commencement 2015 reading "Fortune favors the bold."

Photo by Andrew Daddio

During commencement exercises yesterday, Colgate University extended congratulations to the Class of 2015, family members cheered, and seniors enjoyed one final class together as undergraduates.

The lesson came in three parts. First, President Jeffrey Herbst reflected on America’s cultural obsession with being busy and asked students to reconsider how they answer the simple question, “How are you?”

“When asked how you are, never say ‘busy,’ Herbst said. “Rather than expressing to others the velocity at which you are doing things, why not discuss what you are doing?”

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Baccalaureate speaker tells graduates: “You’re not ducking for the camera”

May 18, 2015
Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. Photo by Gerard Gaskin

Rev. Gay Clark Jennings ’74 delivered Saturday’s baccalaureate address. Photo by Gerard Gaskin

When Rev. Gay Clark Jennings ’74 was a student in Colgate’s first graduating class of women, she was part of historic change. A varsity volleyball player, she pressed the university’s president for equal medical benefits for female athletes under Title IX; investigated grocery store price gouging in Madison County’s poorest areas; and marched against the war in Vietnam. Read more


Commencement is live at 10:30

May 17, 2015

Today, Colgate sends 732 freshly minted alumni into the world. Valedictorian is John Robert Murphy of Bainbridge Island, Wash., graduating with a 4.10, summa cum laude, with high honors in international relations. Salutatorian, with 4.03 GPA is Ariel Elizabeth Sherry of Needham, Mass, a psychology and religion double major. Sherry also earned summa cum laude distinction and high honors in psychology.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American studies and the chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, will deliver the keynote address at today’s 194th commencement.

Livestream starts at 10:30 at www.colgate.edu.


Colgate University’s Task Force on Performing Arts Facilities submits final report

May 11, 2015
Theater students on stage in "Wald, a wondertale"

Colgate’s Task Force on Performing Arts Facilities has submitted its final report regarding space for theater, dance, and music on campus (Photo by Duy Trinh ’14 of the Children’s Theater Workshop presentation “Wald, a wondertale”)

Colgate’s Task Force on Performing Arts Facilities, chaired by Professor of Art and Art History Padma Kaimal, has submitted its final report to the university community. The document offers recommendations to revitalize the creative landscape on campus.

President Jeffrey Herbst formed the task force in spring 2014, responding to a call made in the university’s new strategic plan for a comprehensive review of Colgate’s dance, music, and theater performance spaces. While the group is not an official building committee, its findings will inform future decisions and financial models developed by the administration and approved by the Board of Trustees.

“Colgate has long recognized the contributions that the performing arts can make to a liberal arts education,” said President Herbst. “The task force has produced an important document that can serve as a roadmap for the future.”

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


Roleplaying club brings people together through storytelling

April 30, 2015
Colgate's Roleplaying Game Society. Photo by Anna Heil '16

Colgate’s Roleplaying Game Society brings together students, faculty, and staff. Photo by Anna Heil ’16

A jungle ranger, an alchemist, a nomadic bard, and a cleric of the sun goddess struggle to save a fantasy desert region from a war fueled by racial discrimination. In other words, a small group of Colgate students, staff, and faculty members are gathered together in the Coop for their weekly role-playing game session. This group is just one segment of a new organization on campus called the Colgate Roleplaying Game (RPG) Society. Read more


Leader of campus reform earns 1819 Award, Colgate’s highest honor

April 28, 2015
Kori Strother '15 receives the 1819 Award

Kori Strother ’15 accepts the 1819 Award from President Herbst at the awards ceremony. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Kori Strother ’15, an Africana & Latin American studies major from Saint Louis, Mo., is the 2015 recipient of Colgate’s 1819 Award, the highest student honor granted by the university.

The 1819 Award is given annually to one student representing character, sportsmanship, scholarship, and service above and beyond their peers. While this year’s winner represents all of those qualities, she also had the courage to look Colgate in the eye to say, “you can do better.”

Read more


Balinese Gamelan Ensemble to perform concert tonight

April 27, 2015
Professor Peter Steele leads a class on Balinese Gamelan music. Photo by Zoe Zhong '17

Professor Peter Steele leads a class on Balinese Gamelan music. Photo by Zoe Zhong ’17

If you’ve walked into James C. Colgate Hall on a Monday afternoon, you might have heard unfamiliar yet intriguing musical sounds flowing out of classroom 209. That’s Colgate’s brand-new Balinese Gamelan Ensemble rehearsing; their concert is tonight. Read more


Colgate this week: jazz, thought-provoking discussions, and a campus fair

April 26, 2015
Historic Chenango Canal

This week’s event highlights finish with a 5K and Fun Run along the historic Chenango Canal towpath trail.

As we head into the last week of classes and students prepare for finals, some of this week’s events can offer a little break. Read more


Sara Reese ’16 named a 2015 Udall Scholar

April 20, 2015

Sara Reese ’16, of Midlothian, Va., is one of just 50 students nationwide to be awarded a Udall Scholarship in 2015.

The Udall Scholarship is awarded to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to the environment or to American Indian nations. The scholarship honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on American Indian self-governance, health care, and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources.

Read more


This week on campus: juggling, sustainability, and SPW

April 20, 2015
Photo by Andy Daddio

The juggling club will be turning up their act on Tuesday, adding knives and torches to their repertoire. Photo by Andy Daddio

As the semester winds down, plenty of activity still keeps campus buzzing. Here are the events you won’t want to miss this week

On Tuesday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., enjoy the juggling club’s Light ’em Up show with knives and torches on the Academic Quad.

The Oak Awards (or Oakies) will be presented on Wednesday at the Atrium Cuniff Commons in the Ho Science Center. Formerly known as The Green Awards, The Oak Awards (or Oakies) are presented to students, faculty, and staff have made an impact on campus sustainability. The night of fun and awards is a wrap-up of #13DaysOfGreen.

Also on Wednesday, Daniel Wilkinson will give a talk titled “Against All Odds: The Struggle for Human Rights in Latin America” in Persson Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. The managing director of the Americas Division of the Human Rights Watch, Wilkinson is an expert on Latin America. He has conducted fieldwork and advocacy throughout the region, and authored reports on human rights issues in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, the United States, and Venezuela. His book Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala won the PEN/Albrand Award for nonfiction.

3LAU and Skizzy Mars will headline Spring Party Weekend, starting at Sanford Field House at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. 3LAU (pronounced “blau”) is an American progressive house and electro house producer, and Skizzy Mars is a New York City-based MC who specializes in melodic, slightly left-of-center rap.

To see more events on campus and in the community, check out the Colgate calendar.


Colgate to open first of four residential learning communities in Fall 2015

April 16, 2015
Curtis and Drake Halls

Curtis and Drake Halls will be home to the university’s first residential learning community.

Faculty directors are actively planning, student community leaders are assigned, the housing lottery is underway for current students, and the Class of 2019 is taking shape. That means things are falling into place for this fall, when Colgate will launch the first of four residential learning communities.

The pilot community — accommodating 200 sophomores and 200 first-year students in Curtis and Drake Halls — will be co-led by Rebecca Shiner, professor of psychology, and Mark Shiner, university chaplain.

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Colgate community bids loving farewell to Adam and Eve

April 15, 2015
Swan beside Taylor Lake

Photo by Andrew Daddio

Always known as Adam and Eve, the mute swans that have graced Taylor Lake since 1929 will no longer make their home at Colgate University. The announcement came after the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) published new draft regulations governing their maintenance and care.

“Adam and Eve have been a memorable part of the Colgate landscape for generations of students, alumni, and parents,” said Brian Hutzley, vice president for finance and administration. “They will be missed.”

Read more


Susanna Meyer ’15 awarded Fulbright to teach in Mexico

April 12, 2015

Susanna Meyer ’15, of Philadelphia, Pa., has been awarded a 2015 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico.

Read more


Colgate students meet President Obama

April 10, 2015
President Obama at a podium addressing a town hall event in Jamaica.

A snapshot of President Barack Obama addressing a town hall event in Jamaica. Photo by Stephanie Rameau ’15.

President Barack Obama’s brief visit to Jamaica this week included time to chat with three excited students in the Colgate Jamaica Study Group.

Read more


Quanzhi Guo ’18 reflects on Benton Scholars trip to Silicon Valley

April 8, 2015
Benton Scholars in San Francisco

Benton Scholars in San Francisco

This post originally appeared on the Benton Scholars blog. Last month, the Benton Scholars traveled to San Francisco to explore innovation in the education and technology sectors. The trip included visits to Khan Academy, Tesla, and the Minerva Project. Guo, who had been accepted to attend the highly selective and innovative Minerva School but chose Colgate instead, reflects on the trip and her college choice. (A longer version of this post is featured at China Personified.)

On the ninth floor overlooking the busy San Francisco downtown, everyone is working on Macs in open-plan stations — the atmosphere feels like any startup in California.

But I am in a school, with no students in sight — Minerva Schools at KGI, a new institution that hopes to shake the whole education sector.

Over spring break, I traveled with an online education-themed Benton trip to San Francisco, where we visited both Minerva and Khan Academy.

The Benton seminar I am taking this semester is called the Advent of Atomic Bomb, which examines the history, science, and ethics behind atomic bomb. My experience had been, so far, bittersweet. While it is interesting and intellectually stimulating to engage with alumni from all age groups and various walks of life online, the workload is heavier. Besides the normal assigned readings and project-based homework offline, we need to watch the lectures online beforehand because class-time is reserved for advanced discussion. So we are expected to master the basics on our own time. This targeted and technology-enhanced blend is challenging and rigorous — it is the way I want to be pushed.

Colgate's Benton Scholars visit Minerva

Benton Scholars listen to a presentation at Minerva in downtown San Francisco.

To me, Minerva is exciting. However, while living in six countries (students at Minerva live in a new city each semester) and being one of a select few has allure (last year, the acceptance rate was only 2.8%), I question the real meaning behind it. Does being physically present in a country, spending most of your time taking online classes in dorms, while going shopping and sightseeing on weekends, equate to immersion in a foreign culture? Aren’t existing study-abroad programs, which allow students to take classes in local universities and live in host families, more authentic? For affordability, at least Colgate subsidizes all expenses for students receiving financial aid. Similarly with diversity: Does having a higher number of international students necessarily mean more different perspectives? At Minerva, one can definitely take advantage of urban resources; but how can you truly make use of it in Berlin if you can’t speak German, or Barcelona if you can’t speak Spanish?

Then there was Sal Khan, who sat on an organic-style stool at Khan Academy, talking about how he started making tutorials to improve the accessibility of new information. Thanks to people like Sal Khan, information is becoming more freely accessible, so class time can be reserved for engaged and deeper-level discussions, for skill development and real-life interaction. And I really appreciate how Colgate, too, can offer that — all with classes of size no more than 20.

Colgate students talk to the founder of Khan Academy

Benton Scholars meet with Sal Khan to discuss the future of online education.

When we discussed and shared views over a cup of coffee in the afternoon sun, I realized that what I value after nearly a year at Colgate is the sense of connection. Personally, I hate the panic when my computer breaks down and an online submission is due soon. Also, I don’t want to just “like” my classmate’s answer by clicking a button. I want to give him a pat or high-five with a wide grin. Most importantly, I treasure how my professors interact with me, not just in class or office hours, but how they share with me their life stories over home-cooked dinner, after guests’ lectures, and during trips like this one.

I don’t think that brick-and-mortar universities will be obsolete soon, but it [sic] can definitely become better. Technology is never a substitute, but a complement to make things better.

Read more from other Benton Scholars.


This week on campus: from art to Afghanistan

March 31, 2015
Artist Alexis Rockman, who collaborated with director Ang Lee on Life of Pi, will speak in Golden Auditorium on Wednesday at 4:30. This piece is Newtown Creek 2014, oil on wood, 68x108"

Artist Alexis Rockman, who collaborated with director Ang Lee on the film Life of Pi, will speak in Golden Auditorium this Wednesday at 4:30. This piece is Newtown Creek 2014, oil on wood, 68×108″

Before Passover and Easter celebrations, here are some of the campus events you won’t want to miss this week. Read more


LGBTQ advocate to visit Colgate in her ‘fagbug’

March 24, 2015
LGBTQ advocate Erin Davies poses with her "fagbug" car.

Erin Davies and her “fagbug” visit campus Wednesday.

A colorful Volkswagen Beetle with a very uncolorful name will arrive at Colgate Wednesday, March 25, to help spark discussion and understanding related to LGBTQ community issues.

“Erin Davies’ fagbug project is a provocative and compelling story of how someone can interrogate an act of interpersonal violence, reframe it, and raise awareness. We hope that students will learn more about social justice issues and how to be active bystanders. Ultimately, we hope it will provide an opportunity for discussion about creating an inclusive community at Colgate, and elsewhere,” said Thad Mantaro, Shaw Wellness Institute director.

Read more


Summit provides constructive atmosphere to address hazing

March 23, 2015

Within the last 15 years, there has been a marked increase in awareness about hazing in college. This year, several reprehensible hazing-related incidents at schools around the country have made national news, and many schools have made a conscientious push to eradicate such damaging behaviors in Greek-letter, athletic, and extracurricular organizations. Colgate uses an educational approach to opening up discussion about the serious problems of hazing.

On February 28, approximately 30 members from all eight of Colgate’s Greek-letter organizations gathered in Olin Hall’s Love Auditorium to participate in the New Member Education Summit. Students discussed what qualifies as hazing, and how to ensure that new members experience a healthy transition into Greek life.

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Colgate community Hackathon in New York City supports student’s nonprofit venture

March 20, 2015
(Left to right) Thought Into Action founder Andy Greenfield ’74, P’12, digital technology network volunteer Jeff O'Connell ’94,  Amanda Brown ’15, and Thought Into Action Executive Director Wills Hapworth ’07 during Colgate's Hackathon on Saturday, March 14

(Left to right) Thought Into Action founder Andy Greenfield ’74, P’12, digital technology network volunteer Jeff O’Connell ’94, Amanda Brown ’15, and Thought Into Action Executive Director Wills Hapworth ’07 during Colgate’s Hackathon on Saturday, March 14

On a rainy Saturday in New York City, about 40 Colgate alumni and students gathered to spend eight hours together for Colgate’s first-ever off-campus Hackathon, powered by the Digital Media and Technology Professional Network, the Entrepreneur Network, and the Common Good Network. The hackathon was one of many Colgate Day of Impact events held around the country.

Hosted by Jeff O’Connell ’94 at his downtown Maker Studios offices, the Colgate Hackathon involved engineers, computer coders, and technicians who helped Amanda Brown ’15 enhance the web presence of her nonprofit venture, Children & Youth First. Maker Studios, with its casual, loft-style space and multiple conference rooms, provided the perfect backdrop for the Hackathon.

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Professor Eddie Watkins publishes paper in journal with current student, alumnus

March 17, 2015
Researchers hold the fern they discovered

Rehman Momin ’15, Professor Eddie Watkins, Caridad Zúñiga Calvo, and Weston Testo ’12 (left to right) holding the fern named after Caridad. (Photo by Jarmilla Pitterman)

Colgate professor Eddie Watkins published a new paper in the journal Brittonia with Rehman Momin ’15, Wes Testo ’12 and Jarmilla Pitterman, a professor at UC Santa Cruz. Brittonia is a specialized botanical journal managed by the New York Botanical Garden. The article outlines the discovery of a rare new hybrid fern in Costa Rica. Read more


Sohee Ryuk ’15 wins prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

March 16, 2015
A photo of Sohee Ryuk ‘15

Sohee Ryuk ’15 wins Watson Fellowship

Sohee Ryuk ’15 is one of just 50 students awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel outside of the United States on a self-designed topic of their choosing. Ryuk receives $28,000 for the 12-month fellowship beginning in July, 2015.

Including Ryuk, 70 Colgate University nominees have received this prestigious fellowship since it was established in 1968.

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Celebrating Paradise Lost during the “Miltonathon”

March 9, 2015
Photo by Zoe Zhong '17

For more than eight hours, students and professors took turns reading from John Milton’s 10,000-line poem Paradise Lost. Photo by Zoe Zhong ’17

Devil’s food cupcakes with red, orange, and yellow “tongues-of-fire” frosting, chili said to be hotter than Hell, and Adam’s apple turnovers were just a few of the extra touches that brought the story of Satan, Adam, and Eve to life during the reading of Paradise Lost on March 1. Read more