In 1947 a survey conducted by the New York State Department of Health revealed that Madison County was lacking hospital beds. Hamilton heard the call — just four years later, in a joint Colgate-village effort, Community Memorial Hospital would open for operation. 

In every respect, the hospital was a community effort — a year of fundraising preceded the hospital’s opening in January 1952. Local funds ranged in source and scale, from sizable household contributions to small carnivals held by local young people. During their commencement, the Colgate Class of 1949 matched these local funds to provide a $125,000 donation, an equivalent purchasing power of $2,892,500 today. 

“This past spring, residents of this section had a dream, a dream of a hospital,” read an article in the Mid-York Weekly on Jan. 12, 1950. “They went to work on that dream and raised $125,000 that it might come true.”

An open house allowed more than 2,000 people to tour the new hospital in November 1951. 

Prior to the hospital’s opening, a nine-man board of directors, including three members designated by Colgate’s trustees, was instated. The board oversaw business affairs relating to incorporation and preparation of final architect’s plans, which were brought to life following the groundbreaking ceremony in June 1950. 

Construction continued through January 1952, when on the first day of the new year, Community Memorial Hospital was officially opened. The 50-bed facility would feature local emergency care and surgery services previously sought in distant communities.

“The realization of a modern hospital to serve the area and the University is truly a striking example of the effectiveness of community enterprise and cooperation,” the Mid-York Weekly reported on Nov. 22, 1951. “It is a monumental project, which has served to unify and stimulate the area as nothing has ever done before.”