President’s Message

Autumn 2022

An Update on Colgate’s Third Century

Three students participate in Biology FSEM course.

This fall, Colgate University published its annual Third-Century Plan update. This update has been shared with the Board of Trustees and Alumni Council as well as campus committees and bodies. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight for the readers of Colgate Magazine the major points of this report.

Great institutions plan for long periods of time, and they remain willing to — step-by-step — reach their chosen ends. Colgate must be such an institution. We must continually seek to serve our academic mission and our national reach by enhancing our academic programs, enriching the student experience, attracting the best and brightest, and stewarding our beautiful campus. This is the work of decades and generations, and it requires persistence and flexibility. It also requires both boldness and conviction.

The report, summarized here and posted in its entirety at, shows these principles in action.

FY 2021–22 Update

The Third-Century Plan has, as its foundation, a belief that the residential liberal arts college form offers to students among the strongest forms of education available, matched with the belief that Colgate can offer this form of education in ways both unique and compelling. It also starts with the assumption that Colgate, should it stay focused on its core mission and willing to address and correct any areas of its program that are not excellent, can reasonably assume that it can be the most important liberal arts college in the nation.

As always, the Plan focuses on four pillars of focus and activity. These are:
I. Attracting and Supporting Outstanding Students, Faculty, and Staff
II. Strengthening the University’s Academic Enterprise
III. Enriching the Student Experience
IV. Improving the Campus and Its Environs

Actions taken within each of these areas below are offered in detail in the update, but with highlights below.

I. Attracting and Supporting Outstanding Students, Faculty, and Staff


Colgate launched and then expanded the Colgate Commitment during this reporting period, removing federal student loans from the financial aid packages of families with incomes of $150,000 or less. The Colgate Commitment also established that students from families with incomes less than $80,000 per year are not obligated to pay tuition, and it sets an income-based tuition cap for families earning between $80,000 and $150,000 per year.

Note: Following the publication of this annual update, the University was able to announce an expansion of the commitment for the upcoming academic year, expanding no-loan coverage to students with family incomes up to $175,000 and providing textbook funds for aided students. This is due, in part, to a $25 million fundraising challenge that is nearing a successful conclusion.

In a further effort to attract the brightest students to the institution, Colgate completed the first year of its QuestBridge partnership, which has had a significant impact on inquiries, applications, and the diversity of the applicant pool. First@Colgate also wrapped up its inaugural year, supporting all first-generation students with an intentional program, while securing endowment support for its director and programmatic efforts.

Taken together, these efforts have helped to propel a 147.8% increase in applications during the past two years. The Office of Admission will update its strategic plan in the year ahead to ensure that the current number of applications (more than 20,000 applications for the Class of 2026) becomes the norm, allowing Colgate the opportunity to select among the nation’s most compelling and promising students.

Around campus, 25 students were awarded graduate school application funds, made possible by a gift from Giovanni ’94 and Maree Cutaia to support minority and first-generation post-degree plans.


Through gifts from alumni, Colgate has established a series of new endowed faculty chairs in disciplines from economics to environmental studies to arts and innovation. In the year ahead, fundraising will continue to add even more endowed chairs to our faculty ranks. We will develop more robust faculty orientation and multiyear mentoring plans, and we will find new ways to collect data on equity in faculty workloads, including teaching and service in all its various forms.

Junior faculty members at Colgate are now enjoying a pre-tenure leave program that allows our “tenure stream” faculty members a leave pattern seen only at the leading research universities. This program will allow our newest faculty members sufficient time to develop their research programs and their teaching practices. Colgate is already seeing the benefit of such a program in its faculty hiring and retention.

During the last fiscal year, the University also marked the third anniversary of its on-campus membership in the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, which brings leading, diverse scholars to liberal arts colleges. Colgate hired 16 tenure-stream faculty members; more than half are female, and seven increase the diversity of our faculty via self-reported categories. Four hires were achieved by converting visiting assistant professor positions to permanent faculty posts to support departments with high enrollment demands.


Colgate staff members are vital to the academic and student-life mission of the University. During the past year, the University created a Staff Advisory Committee, engaging in the extensive process of developing bylaws and holding elections for membership, which now includes representatives from all divisions.

Colgate, like all employers, is responding in real time to the unprecedented labor market competition. Among our efforts, we have augmented our staff compensation budget by more than $1 million during the last fiscal year. We assessed compensation for hourly employees and increased hourly wages accordingly, and we look forward to conducting a similar review for salaried employees in the year to come. Meanwhile, all employees have benefited from the extension of our flexible summer hours program, developed during the pandemic, given its value for staff members even outside of the pandemic context.

Ensuring Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The last fiscal year was an active one as we pursued efforts to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on campus. Colgate was able to expand the size of the Board of Trustees in order to diversify its membership in a timelier fashion; this work was done in concert with the newly created ad hoc board DEI Committee. On campus, we consolidated the offices of Equity and Diversity, EEOAC, Title IX, and the vice president for equity and inclusion to improve operations and access to faculty and staff members and students — and we welcomed Renee Madison, our new vice president for equity and inclusion, who engaged in a listening tour to build relationships in service of infusing DEI values across the campus.

Great institutions plan for long periods of time, and they remain willing to — step-by-step — reach their chosen ends.

President Brian W. Casey

II. Strengthening the University’s Academic Enterprise

Launching New Multidisciplinary Academic Initiatives

In anticipation of groundbreaking for the Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation, held in September of this year, the University spent 2021–22 engaged in a construction-documents design phase. This building, which will provide a new home for two of the fastest-growing academic programs on campus — computer science and film and media studies — forms the anchor of the new Middle Campus. Utilities relocation for this intentional bridge between upper and lower campuses began in June 2022 and continued into early fall to prepare the site. 

All of this activity took place concurrently with renovations to create the Robert H.N. Ho Mind, Brain, and Behavior Center at Olin Hall. Olin Hall will be expanded to house the Ho Center, and the entire building — Colgate’s largest academic building — will be fully renovated to meet the needs of modern science. 

As we look forward to the creation of new facilities, we also anticipate the launch of new programmatic efforts. In 2021–22, a faculty working group completed a framework document for a public affairs and policy research initiative, detailing plans for a data center, a policy research fund to support student and faculty research, and outward-facing programs to amplify policy issues on campus. This document has been shared with the Board of Trustees and with faculty members, and a call was made to the faculty for proposals in an initial round of policy research, a pilot program supported by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty.

III. Enriching the Student Experience

Residential and Social Life

The Third-Century Plan touches every part of campus, including aspects of the mission that take place outside classrooms and labs. Advancing both the physical and programmatic development of Upper Campus and the Residential Commons System, Colgate carried on with long-term plans for a fifth Residential Commons to replace both Gate House and 113 Broad Street. 

The University secured a $10 million gift from trustee emeritus Robert Fox ’59, GP’23,’25 to build Fox Hall, the first residence hall of the fifth Residential Commons. Infrastructure planning continues with Robert A.M. Stern architects, as does refining of fifth Residential Commons plans, with modifications to the original four Residential Commons.

Turning to Lower Campus, we considered first steps to significantly improve housing and social spaces for juniors and seniors throughout many years.

Strengthening Colgate’s Division I Athletics Program

Reid Athletics Center — designed and built in another era, when the University was half its current size — is on its way to a transformative renovation. The University completed conceptual designs that reimagine the center, and we secured a lead gift for the renovation from Chase ’76 and Wendy Carey P’12,’13 and their children, Steve ’12 and Tara ’13. Next steps for the year ahead include initiating schematic designs for Reid, then transitioning into design development while fundraising continues.

To further the excellence available to our student-athletes, Colgate also completed an assessment of its entire Division I program, and the year ahead will see continued refining of the Third-Century Athletics Plan

IV. Improving the Campus and Its Environs

Colgate’s energy on campus has been mirrored in its pursuit of projects that benefit the Hamilton community. During the last year, Colgate constructed and sold more than 20 homes in the Chenango Hill subdivision, adjoining the Five Trees development, addressing the Third-Century Plan assertion that Colgate needs to develop a variety of housing stock options that are affordable for faculty and staff members from across salary ranges. We also pursued further renovations at the Chenango Nursery School, investing in the families who call Hamilton home.

Renovations to Seven Oaks Clubhouse and Golf Course were completed in summer 2022, as were renovations to Hotel One75 (formerly the Wendt University Inn), with the hotel open to receive guests as of mid-August. Meanwhile, University representatives met regularly with the village of Hamilton Planning Board throughout the year to share concept drawings for 18–22 Utica development, and we are pursuing next steps to add to the overall housing inventory in the village, including 39 apartments in this location.

Colgate’s commitment to stewarding campus and its environs is of mutual benefit to the University and the surrounding community. It is yet another point of connection between the institution and its locale. To that end, in 2021–22, Colgate signed the Second Nature Climate Commitment, approved a plan to continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus, and took first steps to plan for resilience in preparation for a changing climate. We continued to fund sustainability projects through the Green Revolving Loan Fund, which seeds savings, derived from past projects, into new efforts to reduce Colgate’s environmental impact.

As Middle Campus has taken shape, moving from planning documents to design phase to physical structures, we have received preliminary sketches/designs and plans to manage water flow of the ravine, which leads to Taylor Lake and the floodplain in Lower Campus. And, as Colgate Magazine readers will know from our spring 2022 issue, the University is making historic efforts to restore both Willow Path and Oak Drive — extending these iconic allées to achieve the vision of their original designers.

In Conclusion 

This is our Third-Century vision, following 12 months of determined action. It reflects the work of faculty and staff members, students, alumni, parents, and friends. It has relied on endowment income, leadership philanthropy, and thousands of gifts to the Colgate Fund. True to the Plan itself, the efforts and resources we extended in the 2021–22 academic year will continue as our legacy for generations to come. And this is just the beginning.

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