Our first students engaged in missionary work and language scholarship on an international stage.
Rev. Jonathan Wade, left, Class of 1822, first student and first missionary; Eugenio Kincaid, right, Class of 1822, second student and missionary to Burma
Our institution’s first student was Jonathan Wade, who studied Latin in the bedroom of Daniel Hascall, pastor of First Baptist Church, in 1818 before the Baptist Education Society of the State of New York had formally become an institution. Wade hailed from Hartford, N.Y. His board, paid for by the society, was $27.12.
The second student, Eugenio Kincaid, was a teacher in northwestern Pennsylvania who became so interested in the Baptist church that he joined one in DeKalb, N.Y. He wanted to study with Hascall in Hamilton, so he walked 160 miles, relying on wood chopping to fund his meals and lodging. Once in Hamilton, he lived an impoverished life while he studied to become a minister.
Both Wade and Kincaid were successful in their endeavors after graduation, at home and abroad. Wade went to Burma to become a missionary, and Kincaid followed a few years later.
Kincaid’s tactful nature earned the affection of the Burmese king, who named Kincaid as his diplomatic agent.”
Wade spent nearly 50 years preaching in the country, becoming well known for his scholarly efforts. He translated Burmese dialects into written languages and penned books using those languages. Kincaid’s tactful nature earned the affection of the Burmese king, who named Kincaid as his diplomatic agent in Washington, D.C., in 1856. He went on to raise funds for the institution that would eventually become Bucknell University.
These first two students planted the seed for future graduates interested in missions overseas.
Notes & Sources
The First Half Century of Madison University. New York: Sheldon & Co, 1872, pp. 194, 140-141.
Williams, Howard D., A History of Colgate University 1819–1969. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969, pp. 12, 46, 54-55.
Colgate University Photograph collection, A0999, Special Collections and University Archives, Colgate University Library