Hurwitz Admission Center opens

The former lobby of James B. Colgate Hall has undergone a major transformation. Entirely donor-funded, the new Hurwitz Admission Center was made possible thanks to a lead gift from Dan ’86 and Ellie Hurwitz P’17, and the generosity of numerous alumni, parents, grandparents, and other friends of Colgate.

“The introduction point for prospective students should appropriately highlight the extraordinary opportunities that are uniquely Colgate,” said Dan Hurwitz.

About 40 additional gifts were given in the name of Vice President and Dean of Admission Gary Ross ’77, and, as requested by the donors, the lobby, presentation room, and new office space will be named in his honor. “Our guests will find a completely reimagined visit experience created to best show what makes Colgate so extraordinary,” said Ross.

“We’re showing — through technology — that Colgate truly is in the middle of everywhere.”

Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass., designed the interior and exterior updates to work with the historic building’s strengths and increase visitor comfort, focusing on accentuating the building’s symmetry while increasing the amount of square footage. The formal front façade now has one central point of entry, and the two side porches, now enclosed in glass, provide useful spaces year-round and unobstructed views of campus.

New colors, building materials, and windows help brighten the center’s interior, and a prominently placed freezer puts the traditional Chipwich treats that conclude every campus tour on view.

Video feature walls, touch-screen displays, and visual enhancements for information sessions illustrate success stories of graduates and how students contribute to an atmosphere of academic excellence on campus, in the local community, and around the world.

“These walls actually talk, and tell stories about the transformative experiences that students have here,” said Darryl Cilli, principal and chief creative officer of 160over90, which created the new digital experiences. “We’re showing — through technology — that Colgate truly is in the middle of everywhere.”

View before and after photos of the lobby renovation. (Photos by Andrew Daddio)


Colgate joins edX

Colgate and Hamilton College have announced their partnership as new contributing members in the nonprofit online learning platform edX. Founded by Harvard University and MIT, edX focuses on opening up access to the world’s best education globally, improving on-campus education, and conducting research to enhance teaching and learning. More than 150 courses are offered in areas of study, including the arts and humanities, public health, law, math, and computer science.

Colgate EdX WordmarkColgate and Hamilton have joined edX along with several major foundations and other global organizations, including Osaka University (Japan), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain), International Monetary Fund, Learning by Giving Foundation (Buffet family philanthropy), The Linux Foundation, and The Smithsonian Institution.

With charter edX members Davidson and Wellesley colleges, Colgate and Hamilton bring the number of liberal arts college members to four — and will offer four online courses within the first year.

“The edX courses and modules we develop will not try to duplicate what we do best: face-to-face, in-class instruction,” said Douglas Hicks, Colgate’s provost and dean of the faculty. “Yet this platform makes possible a host of new ways to interact and learn. I envision that future courses on the edX platform can increase Colgate’s visibility with prospective students, and our faculty’s exciting scholarship and teaching will reach broader audiences.”

Pat Reynolds, Hamilton’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, said, “We consider it essential that we help shape the national discussion about online learning and advocate the role of the liberal arts within this developing arena. At the same time, we will engage and share pedagogical innovations with other institutions similarly involved in delivering offerings via various online platforms.”

Kevin Lynch, chief information officer at Colgate, said he is looking forward to having access to data collected by edX that could provide insights into the effectiveness of online and other types of learning. “Our partnership provides an ideal platform to share with colleagues about what might work best pedagogically,” he said.

Learn more by reading a Q&A with Hicks and Lynch.


Voodoo Lily attracts flies and visitors alike

“Smelly gym socks mixed with rotting meat dabbled with hints of soiled baby diapers” — that’s the “potent bouquet” of “Big Lily,” the Colgate greenhouse’s most odoriferous resident, as described by biology professor Eddie Watkins.

The Voodoo Lily in the Colgate greenhouse

The Voodoo Lily (center) in the Colgate greenhouse (Photo by Brian Ness)

The 5-foot-tall, 26-pound Voodoo Lily (aka Devil’s Tongue and Amorphophallus konjac) bloomed just in time for Valentine’s Day. As Big Lily flowered, she further released her rancid scent, demonstrating myophily, a pollination syndrome that has evolved to attract flies. “Flies around Colgate are happy,” reported Watkins.

It also attracted 450 visitors to the greenhouse — which holds approximately 1,000 species, half of which are tropical plants. “It was cool to see folks so excited about such a stinky organism,” Watkins said.

Learn more about Colgate’s greenhouse.


Back on Campus

Colgate’s expansive network helps connect students to alumni in a variety of ways. From career-related meetings to informal brown bag luncheons, many alumni enthusiastically made the trip back up the hill this spring semester to share their experiences. Here are some:

Lisa Hillenbrand ’79, P’16
Director of global marketing at Procter & Gamble, she delivered the keynote address at SophoMORE Connections 2014, speaking to a capacity crowd of second-year students, alumni, faculty, and staff in Huntington Gymnasium. View Hillenbrand’s address.

Garfield Smith ’85
Product management executive and vice president of marketing at Oberthur Technologies, he gave the keynote address for the ALANA Spring Soiree.

Carolina Van Der Mensbrugghe ’10
A filmmaker working on the HBO series Vice, she spoke about a short-form news documentary that she developed for the upcoming season of the show during her lecture “Rebel Movements, Terrorism, and the ‘New Cocaine’ of Latin America.”

Caitlin Grossjung ’13
An associate producer at Stick Figure Productions (run by Steve Cantor ’99), she spoke about her career experience as a film and media studies minor during a brown bag luncheon. Carolina Van Der Mensbrugghe ’10, her friend and mentor, joined the conversation. The luncheon also featured a sneak preview of the 30-minute debut episode of Catching Hell, an independent reality adventure series for the Weather Channel.

Michelle Warmus ’98
Vice president and regional manager at M&T Bank, he interviewed students for the M&T Summer Management Development Program.


Poetry, Love, and Enlightenment

“If you waited for people to want to hear you, you’d never speak,” said Nikki Giovanni, world-renowned poet, activist, writer, and educator, as she kicked off Black History Month at Colgate in February.

Poet and activist Nikki Giovanni

Poet and activist Nikki Giovanni

Giovanni related the ongoing civil rights movement to themes of science, education, love, politics, and power during her lecture titled “An Evening of Poetry, Love, and Enlightenment.”

“We need to utilize your enthusiasm and your curiosity,” she told students. “We need you while you’re young. The inventions that have been worldwide have come from kids.”

Giovanni also emboldened students to ask questions, develop a critical stance, and act on it. “When we stand for something, it’s better for all of us.” With a lively frankness, she also criticized the ongoing inequalities facing black Americans and connected their struggles to broader issues of discrimination and marginalization.

“I love how she says what everyone else is thinking but doesn’t want to say,” commented Aicha Ba ’17. “She’s real.”

The rest of the audience warmly received Giovanni as well; her jokes were reliably met with roaring laughter and interjections. Afterward, students, professors, and community members got to meet the poet at a reception. She graciously stood for pictures and gave additional words of wisdom to the swarm of eager students who filled the Love Auditorium staircase to meet her.

To further celebrate Black History Month, the Black Student Union (BSU) planned a host of events including a Black Identity Brown Bag at the Center for Women’s Studies, a release night, and the annual Heritage Dinner.

“We can all learn a lot from black history,” emphasized BSU President Marshall Scott ’14. “Black history is everyone’s history. It should be celebrated year-round.”

— Hannah O’Malley ’17


MLK week motivates students to take a stand

In February, a student working to make a difference on campus jumpstarted Colgate’s weeklong Martin Luther King Jr. celebration — and a nationally known civil rights activist kept the momentum going.

Students singing onstage in the Colgate Memorial Chapel

Several student groups, including the Colgate Thirteen, performed at the opening celebration for Colgate’s Martin Luther King Jr. week. (Photo by Erica Hasenjager)

“Now is not the time to become apathetic because you think someone else will do the work for you,” said Marshall Scott ’14. “It is incumbent on us to wake up every day determined to do better … to make our school, Colgate, better.”

Later in the week, keynote speaker Benjamin Todd Jealous, the youngest person to have led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, emphasized the role of the next generation in social movements. “When young people are up front, there is a great future,” he said. “When young people are out back or somewhere in the age-defined sandbox playing on the side, you’re in trouble.”

Speaking from his experience as a community organizer, Jealous outlined his six-step recipe for championing an issue during his talk titled “The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Social Movements.” He concluded by encouraging an “all-for-one and one-for-all” attitude. “In the last three or four years, we’ve seen massive assaults on women’s rights, on affirmative action, on voters’ rights, on the rights to organize, and on the right to breathe clean air and drink clean water,” he said.

Both talks gave students the chance to reflect on their own power. “We can feel powerless in the face of adversity. But despite our age, our youth can, in fact, be an asset as we look to tackle our goals,” said Kathleen Maffei ’14.

Colgate, which honored King’s legacy with brown bag luncheons, workshops, a contemporary art and sculpture exhibition, and community service activities, was highlighted in USA Today’s coverage of how college students are revolutionizing the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s up to colleges and universities to deliver messages of social justice to the larger community, said Thomas Cruz-Soto, associate dean for multicultural affairs and director of the ALANA Cultural Center. “We’re building the next leaders,” he said.


Debate team ranked third in U.S., 11th in the world

Colgate athletes aren’t the only ones who bring home trophies. The Debate Society has had a triumphant season: they are third in the United States and 11th in the world, according to World Universities Debating Championship rankings.

Recent achievements include being declared champion at the Novice Nationals Tournament, where Adam Buys ’17 and Matt Reed ’17 brought home first and third place, respectively. Then, at the Empire Debate Tournament, one group made it to the final round and Luke Luttman ’15 was named the second-place speaker overall.

International competitions have included Oxford and Cambridge universities in England and a championship in India in December.

On campus, a memorable moment was hosting a public debate with Australian visitors in February, recalled Julia O’Neil ’16, president of the society. “Both were really successful debaters — one was the second-best speaker at Worlds and the other judged the final,” she said. “We always try to interact with and learn as much as we can from other teams. They were really helpful and even ran a couple of different workshops.”

Soon after, the society traveled to Montreal for the North American Women’s Championship, which the men attended as judges. “Each tournament is unique and we always learn so much,” O’Neil said. “Debate has helped me to find a voice and has exposed me to a great intellectual atmosphere,” she added. “It’s been a great experience to be able to apply what we learn from the classroom as well as talking to people from all over the world and hearing their ideas.”

At the end of March, the society hosted the fifth-annual Colgate IV, which has gained notoriety as one of the top tournaments in the country. At press time, they were also gearing up for nationals at Purdue University and the President’s Cup, an internal debate tournament on campus.

The Debate Society occasionally works together with the Spanish Language Team, which is achieving its own successes. In January, the Spanish team broke into the semifinals at the Pan American Universities Debate Championship in Miami.

— Aminat Olayinka Agaba ’14


Pay it forward

Colgate is the upstate New York college that offers the biggest payoff to its students after graduation, with a mid-career median salary of $111,000.

That top ranking comes from PayScale’s study comparing the earning potential of graduate students from 1,058 U.S. colleges. Forty-six of these schools were located in the 48 upstate counties of New York. The firm gathered the responses from surveys of graduates and used the data to estimate the mid-career median salary for adults with degrees from each of the schools.

On the national scale, according to Forbes, Colgate ranks #19 on the full list of “Colleges That Will Make You Rich” with an average graduate salary of $101,142.

— Aminat Olayinka Agaba ’14


Connections through compositions

Two esteemed musical ensembles visiting Colgate this spring performed compositions by Zhou Tian, assistant professor of music, in Memorial Chapel.

In March, the Eroica Trio performed Zhou’s “Trio,” a piece he wrote while studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

“It consists of the three most capable and soloistic instruments in Western classical music [piano, violin, and cello], and yet it can work harmoniously as one musical force,” said Zhou. “I wanted to showcase the ensemble as a whole, as well as highlight the individuality and virtuosity of each player.” The piano intro is particularly virtuosic, with rapid ascending octaves, he added.

Although the piece premiered in 2002 and has been performed numerous times since, having the Eroica Trio perform it was special, Zhou said. “Their passion for making music is so fully expressed in their interpretation.” The group will continue to perform “Trio” at upcoming concerts.

Han Gan’s painting Night-Shining White

Han Gan’s painting Night-Shining White depicts a Chinese legend that inspired Professor Zhou Tian’s latest composition. (Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

A month later, the internationally known Empire Brass quintet premiered Zhou’s newest composition, “Night-Shining White.” The piece was inspired by a Chinese legend about a horse, named for its luminous coat, that was said to be a loyal companion to Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty. The emperor commissioned renowned painter Han Gan to create a portrait of the horse, which is considered one of the greatest works of the dynasty and now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Zhou was drawn to the painting’s expressiveness. “As a piece of music,” he noted, “I thought that the dark color of the brass quintet would be a fitting instrumentation to express muscularity as well as lyricism.”

Coincidentally, the professor was discussing the Tang Dynasty in his Core China course while composing “Night-Shining White.”

The Colgate Arts Council has long been bringing talented outside performers such as the Eroica Trio and Empire Brass to campus to celebrate the arts in an interdisciplinary fashion.

“It’s like having the Carnegie Hall concerts at our doorstep!” remarked Zhou, who appreciates the relationships he has been able to form with these groups. “Music that connected us,” he reflected, “will keep our friendship flourishing.”

— Kellyann Hayes ’16


Go Figure — Career Services

2,431 students and alumni served from July 2013–March 2014

52% Class of 2016 participation in SophoMORE Connections

$401,227 supported underpaid and unpaid internships in 2013

232 student recruiting interviews, with companies like E&J Gallo, Goldman Sachs, Macy’s, and Oracle, from July 2013–March 2014

96% of the Class of 2013 interacted with the office by graduation

41,466 log-ins to NaviGATE (internship and job posting database) as of March

102% increase in internships with Colgate Premier employers since last year

94.8% of the Class of 2013 reported being employed, in graduate school, in competitive fellowships, volunteering, or “other” (including military service) 6 to 9 months after graduation

30 events during the week of Feb. 23 (one of the busiest)

7 professional networks


Village green

An array of local events kept residents, students, and visitors busy during the winter months.

The artistic visions of a select group of Hamilton elementary-school students were on display from February through March during the KidsART 2014 exhibition at the Earlville Opera House Arts Center. “I love the fact that this year Barb Houze [an art teacher at Hamilton Central] engaged some of her sixth grade art students to help her jury the work for the show,” remarked Patti Lockwood-Blais, the executive director of the center.

Women of all ages, sizes, and experience levels have been learning the basic techniques and international stylistic influences of World Fusion belly dancing during Monday night lessons at the Hamilton Center for the Arts. “Belly dance is a wonderful way to empower yourself and express your emotions and divine feminine grace,” said Amy Villaincourt, who teaches the class and has been belly dancing for 11 years. World Fusion belly dancing incorporates global dance moves like American tribal, American Cabaret, flamenco, Zumba, and Bollywood.

Actor portraying Martin Luther King at a podium onstage at the Palace Theater

I Have a Dream — The Life and Times of
Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Palace Theater

Yogate Frozen Yogurt, the newest addition to downtown Hamilton, celebrated Mardi Gras in style by giving away celebratory beads on Fat Tuesday. The frozen yogurt shop features an extensive topping bar and special flavors like Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel and Tahitian Vanilla. But, as the enthusiastic William Shaw ’17 commented, “It doesn’t matter which flavor you go for, you’ll savor it all the way.”

More than 500 students from local schools attended the theatrical chronicle of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life as performed in the live Theatre IV production, I Have a Dream — The Life and Times of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Palace Theater in March.

Sneakers beat against the Broad Street pavement as runners dashed from the start at the Village Green in the annual HomeRun 5k and half-marathon fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity on April 12.

— Hannah O’Malley ’17