James B. Colgate Hall was originally built as the university's first library, though today it houses offices for admission and the administration. What is or was your favorite study spot on campus?Back to Your Stories
My favorite study spot on campus, when I wasn't bound to my thesis carrel, was definitely the chapel house. I don't know if I'll ever find a spot quite as magical as the small library there, with a fire on, hot tea, and snow falling outside the wall of windows.
There are two places at Colgate I remember with particular fondness. Both were a break from normal academic and social life and both gave me a kind of spiritual and emotional uplift.
One was the Chapel House. I was not religious, but Chapel House was a quiet spot where I could sit calmly and meditate or just think. With all the studying and socializing on a busy campus, clearing your head is important. One semester, Colgate brought a Buddhist priest to campus. I listened to his talks in Chapel House. After that, whenever I needed a break, I walked up the little road behind the freshman dorms, plopped myself down in one of the meditation spots, and listened to the silence. On a college campus, there’s not a lot of silence. The few times I’ve gone back to Colgate, I’ve always made it a point to walk up to Chapel House and sit down for a short reunion with the place. I’m glad it’s still quiet and lonely up in the back of the campus there.
My other favorite spot was the Dana Arts Center. Designed by architect Paul Rudolph, it had just opened the year before I arrived on campus in 1966. What a glorious place. In 1966, Colgate was all-male, tough-minded, and competitive. And it was not the most artistic place. But Colgate was undergoing a lot of change in a world going through a great deal of turmoil, and I think the Arts Center helped encourage some of that. Like Chapel House, it was a kind of refuge, one that encouraged being artistic and experimental. As an English major, I enjoyed classes in the regular classroom buildings, but by taking one art course after another, I became virtually an art major, too. At times, I lived in the studios in the Art Center. Some of my paintings hung on those beautiful rough concrete walls in the annual student art show. One of them was a painting of one of the window details on the outside of the same building it was hanging inside of.
The Arts Center had a meditative quality, too. In the little listening rooms on the first floor, I listened to Core 21 classical records over and over again. Along the stairways were the art history classrooms. Up top, was the art studio. I can still smell the gesso and acrylic paint. There was no better feeling than shaking off the snow and stomping my snow boots in the lobby, then hauling my paint box up those stairs to work on a painting. I’ve gone back there, also, the few times I’ve been back to campus. Although the building has changed its purpose, when I walk into the lobby, it’s almost like I’ve got a painting to work on upstairs again.
LOVED to study at the Barge downtown. It was a second home to me at Colgate, the absolute heart of the town. While it is no longer there I will always feel that way about the impact the Barge had on my experience and the community as a gathering place. I worked there, studied there, socialized there, and eventually got a job as a barista too to offset it all! By senior year, I set up shop at "my table" and would stay all day long.
In the spring of 2008, I met my now-husband Jason in a class that we took together as sophomores: a geology class that met in Lathrop Hall. This was the semester that the brand new Ho Science Center was opening, and many classes were moved out of Lathrop that spring. Jason and I took advantage of the quiet in Lathrop to study almost every night in the geology study lounge on the fourth floor, and one day he "proposed" with a paper ring and we began dating. Eventually, we made the move and began studying in the new geology study lounge on the fourth floor of Ho. A few years later, in the spring of 2012, Jason had joined the staff at Colgate and I was visiting him on campus, and he asked if we could take a trip to Lathrop so he could show me the renovations that had taken place. He told me he specifically wanted to show me the changes to the study lounge on the fourth floor that we had enjoyed so much. When we arrived on the fourth floor, I was confused by the obvious lack of construction, but then we walked into the former study lounge, where Jason got down on one knee and proposed for real! It was very special to bring it full circle, back to where our relationship began, in a study space that was such an important part of our student experience.