The Clifford Gallery exhibition The Hill Envisioned: What Might Have Been — What Might Yet Be by Professor Bob McVaugh and his students explores the history of Colgate's physical campus. Tell us about a location on campus that has significant meaning toBack to Your Stories
There's a small stretch along the path I'd walk between East and Curtis, a few paces downhill from the Chapel. If you'd look downhill from that spot, while the sun was going down somewhere over the athletic fields, you'd see and feel something beautiful. I always felt like that feeling was most pronounced when it was coldest. Taking any amount of time to pause and look out into the valley as it got dark sometime before 5 p.m. would make me especially aware of how cold I was, but the sun was still there, blood-red and tiny, shrinking into the tree line. I cherished those pauses between dorms. The stillness let it feel as if the only thing moving in the whole world was the sun against the cold. The cold let you smell only something icy and quiet. The quiet let me hear the trees creaking.
The benches on the roof of Dana have a special place in my heart. During orientation week during my first year, I was lost, meandering through campus. On my way back up the hill, I sat down to try to figure out how exactly to get back to East Hall. I noticed the benches and although the campus was buzzing with activity, this place felt tranquil.
Over the last 3 years since I've been a student, these benches have provided me with a space for difficult conversations, to collect my thoughts, and to appreciate the beautiful Colgate sunsets from high above.
I was among the first cohort of students to reside in Parke House in 1967-68. It was exciting to live in a brand new residential complex that was unique at the time with curved hallways, small groups of rooms around separate bath facilities and connected dining rooms. A large number of this Parke House group has remained close to this day and have mini-reunions every year. To preserve our fond memories of residential life together, we have decided to have a bicentennial tree named in honor of the original Parke House group.
A location that has significant meaning on campus for me is the Center for Women's Studies. By my junior year, I spent almost every day in the center attending brown bag lunches and club meetings, or just to hang out with my friends. The faculty and staff at WMST are welcoming and supportive of the whole student, which was very helpful for me as a high achieving but stressed out student navigating the Colgate campus with the many marginalized identities that I carried. I feel that I learned the most during my time as a Colgate student at the Center for Women's Studies because so many amazing minds came together in that space to share stories about different lifestyles and experiences, educate each other about the theories and ideas they studied in classes, and to mobilize the community to be inclusive, loving, supportive, positively curious, and just.
Chapel House is simply a hidden gem - a step away from the hustle-bustle of campus life, offering life-enhancing space for reflection, learning and inquiry. My wife and I and friends have returned there periodically since graduation and I encourage all Colgate students and alumni to take part. Going within is as important as external dimensions of our life experience and Chapel House provides a perfect environment to take that journey.
Two locations – Huntington Gymnasium and the Chapel. Huntington because that was where I was taught tennis, golf and swimming, three mandatory courses designed to serve one well throughout one’s life. And who can forget Mark Randall, swimming coach, telling the class that one was not floating correctly unless one’s periscope was out of the water.
Huntington because I danced to the big band sounds of Buddy Morrow, Ray Anthony and Lionel Hampton.
Huntington, where my 25th reunion banquet was held and the “spirit of Colgate” was ever so present. It was my former wife’s first visit to Colgate. She was growing tired of me extolling the virtues of the school, how there was the spirit of Colgate like no other, etc., etc. Finally she was fed up and was quick to suggest that every school alum felt the same way about their university. After the evening’s program and a robust singing of “When through thy valley…” we were silently walking back to the car, when she turned to me and said, “I see what you mean!”
The Chapel where I was first introduced to classical music. Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, opening with Brahm’s Academic Festival Overture, followed by a Mozart French Horn sonata featuring principal hornist, Mason Jones, born in Hamilton. The final piece is now my favorite, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. I cannot describe how that concert has stayed with me throughout my life. You could not keep me away from other concerts; William Warfield singing ‘Ole Man River’ and ‘Simple Gifts’; Dorothy Dandridge singing excerpts from Carmen Jones; The Berlin Symphony; Rosina Da Rimini, Brazilian soprano singing Musetta’s Waltz from La Boheme; simply put, stuff that stays with you for life.
Isn’t it meaningful, that these two locations are portrayed on my Colgate ring, that has also stayed with me for the rest of my life?
The Class of 2001 walkway was a frequent background during my four years at Colgate. That little curved walkway at the base of the Persson steps that connects Case to Little was where I crossed paths with friends, called my parents during study breaks from Case, and just sat to enjoy the view of Taylor Lake because that’s just how big of a Colgate sap I am. I walked the same route practically everyday for my first five semesters and that’s probably what makes it stand out most in my head when thinking about my Colgate experience.