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Cover of the book Becoming Colgate

Cover of the book Becoming Colgate

Becoming Colgate: A Bicentennial History

The moving, vivid, and inspiring story of Colgate University’s founding. Available in store and online May 22, 2019.

All profits will be directed to financial aid resources for students.

Buy paperback | Buy hardcover | Audiobook (forthcoming)


From its earliest beginnings as a small Baptist seminary to its current stature as a leading American higher education institution, Colgate University serves as an example of the importance of the liberal arts and their impact on civic institutions. In Becoming Colgate, Colgate alumnus and historian James Allen Smith, Class of 1970, has drawn upon Colgate’s rich historical records to tell a moving, vivid, and inspiring story of the University’s founding, its development over time, and its bonds with the village of Hamilton, the region of central New York, and the nation.

What's Inside?

Table of Contents

  • Prologue: Stories
  • Chapter 1: Missions
  • Chapter 2: School Of The Prophets
  • Chapter 3: Becoming Madison
  • Chapter 4: Jubilee
  • Chapter 5: Worldliness
  • Chapter 6: College Spirit
  • Chapter 7: Aspirations
  • Chapter 8: War Years
  • Chapter 9: Core Values
  • Chapter 10: New Colgate
  • Chapter 11: Coeducation
  • Chapter 12: New Century
  • Epilogue: Baccalaureate

About the Author

James Allen Smith entered Colgate in 1966 as an Alumni War Memorial Scholar. Graduating in 1970, he received his A.B. magna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and he studied as a Fulbright scholar in Belgium while completing his Ph.D. in medieval history at Brown University. His career has spanned academia and the philanthropic world. The author of four books, he has taught at Smith College, the New School, and Georgetown University. He was the founding executive director of the Howard Gilman Foundation, chairman of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and vice president of the Rockefeller Archive Center. He also has served on Colgate’s Alumni Council and Board of Trustees.