It starts on arrival day.

As first-year students pull onto campus, fellow students stand atop the stone Colgate University marker as a welcoming committee — banging pots and pans, cheering on the new students, and prodding them to honk their horns if they love Colgate. That is what students do: they love Colgate. They are serious about learning and about having fun, and they chose a school that embraces both. They are passionate and ambitious. They channel that drive into everything. Colgate students seek out connections, share warm hellos on the walk to class, and feel part of this university for life. They create a whir of energy. That is Colgate spirit.

Members of the Colgate community attend Charter Day at the Memorial Chapel.
Students participate in Konosioni Senior Honor Society Residential Commons Field Day activities.
Costumes, sporting spirit, and a lot of laughter were seen at the Family Weekend 5K Run.


Opportunities abound for Colgate students to explore, understand, and appreciate culture and identity. Because of this, students can learn to make connections and communicate well across their different experiences, identities and backgrounds, which can help build a stronger community, and empower students to embrace and celebrate their strengths and those of their peers.

Student-favorite ALANAPalooza, hosted by the Africana, Latin, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center, kicks off Colgate’s academic year. Brown bag lunches offer a platform to discuss challenging topics. Today’s leaders and activists are special guests on campus, sitting down for dinner, joining classes, offering thoughts and insights. These countless activities and resources — and the staff, faculty, and peer mentors who support them — bring a diverse community together in the spirit of personal growth and discovery.

International students get to know each other during Orientation and learn about the support provided by the Office of International Student Services.
The Center for Women's Studies Celebrates its 25th anniversary with a panel discussion with Colgate alumnae.
The ALANA Cultural Center was founded 31 years ago although its historical roots are much older.

Living at Colgate

What makes living at Colgate so uncommon is what the University does to give first-year and second-year students something in common: a community within a community. Beyond the hall in which they live, students belong to one of four residential commons, groupings that allow them to have support, make friends, and feel connected early in their college life. The activities are optional, but they usually draw a crowd: weekly dinners with faculty, ski trips, study groups, trivia nights, provocative discussions, weekend brunches.

This is part of how Colgate prepares people for life. Living in a close community means learning the skills of empathy, sociability, flexibility, and respect for others. Beyond the commons, most every student lives in Colgate housing, an offering that is guaranteed for all four years.

Sample Activities

  • Faculty Dinner Series
  • “How I Became Passionate About Music & Conducting,” with Ryan Endris, Assistant Professor of Music
  • Art Fest
  • Student art exhibition and sales
  • The Colombian Peace Process
  • Guest lecture
  • Brown Commons event series: “Seekers, believers, and doubters” brings students together to answer important questions on identity and meaning.
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction Course
  • Halloween Soiree: Karaoke, mask making, costume contests, trivia, improv, and music
  • Apple Picking
  • Coffeehouse Music Nights
  • Trivia Night

Fraternities and Sororities

Part of a long-standing tradition at Colgate, the first chartered fraternity dates back to 1856. About 30 percent of students belong to one of the five fraternities and three sororities.

Amythyst Kiah performs at Colgate as part of the Coffeehouse Music Series at the Brown Commons Social House.
Members of Hancock Residential Commons.
Students at Frank Dining Hall during the lunch hour.


Students at Colgate tend to refer to their courses by the name of the person who teaches them.

That shorthand reflects what students feel — a personal connection to the classes because of the professors. The faculty are not just known for their achievements; they are actually known by the students in a real way, every day. Beyond their research and teaching success, the faculty have developed a proud reputation for who they are: approachable, invested, involved, and inspiring.

Padma Kaimal, professor of art & art history
Courses: From Emperors to Anime (ARTS 246), Hindu Temple Architecture (ARTS 344); Padma took students in her ARTS 244, Temples, Caves, and Stupas class to western India
Eddie Watkins, associate professor of biology
Courses: Plant Physiological Ecology (BIOL 489); Eddie and former student (now colleague) Weston Testo ’12 have collaborated on research projects for 10 years, publishing seven papers together
Karen Harpp, professor of geology and peace and conflict studies
Courses: Volcanology (GEO 220), The Advent of the Atomic Bomb (CORE 138); Karen led a team of students, staff, and faculty in an interdisciplinary academic experience of the Galapagos Islands
Faculty with PhD or highest degree in their field

Peter Balakian, professor of English

Courses: Confession and Rebellion: American Literature in the 1950s (ENGL 422); 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry; in 2019, Peter won the Jerome Balmuth Award for Teaching and Student Engagement

April Sweeney, associate professor of theater

Courses: Drama and the Greeks! (THEA 220), Performance I (THEA259); April and the Dept. of Theater presented the COVID Diaries, a virtual festival of new works related to Colgate community members’ time spent in quarantine

Enrique “Kiko” Galvez, professor of physics and astronomy

Courses: Physical Optics (PHYS 304), Electronics (PHYS 336); Kiko mentored Faith Williams ’19, who later received a national award for her research on diagnosing Alzheimer's disease

Alicia Simmons, associate professor of sociology and Africana & Latin American studies

Courses: Introduction to Sociology (SOCI 101), Media and Politics (SOCI 375); two students assisted Alicia with her research focused on the intersection of media, race, and politics last summer


Even by college standards, where many universities have proud and passionate followers, the alumni of Colgate are more than loyal.

They are famously loyal. And that means the students of Colgate can count on support from one of the most inspiring and successful group of leaders in America. Colgate alums provide mentoring, internships, and constant engagement with undergraduates, tailored right down to their areas of interest.

At more than 35,000 strong, Colgate alumni are leaders of business, literature, finance, entertainment, and more. Each year, dozens return for a weekend devoted to giving career counsel to Colgate sophomores — just one of many examples of how Colgate alumni are involved and invested in the alma mater they love.


Colgate’s Mosaic connects multicultural alumni with current Colgate students, providing them with an opportunity to learn from alumni especially in career development and networking.

Number of Colgate alumni globally
Percentage of funding from alumni and parents in the construction of the new $16.4 million Benton Hall
One year after graduation, the class of 2019 reports being employed, in graduate school or on a fellowship
Graduate rate, among the highest in the nation

Amy Dudley ’06

Chief spokesperson at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Daniel Green ’06

Founder and CEO of Green Sports Management

Debra Locastro ’05

Chief of staff to the CIO at Google Inc.

Silvia Alvarez ’96

SVP, director of corporate communications at First Horizon National Corporation

Gloria Borger ’74

American journalist and columnist; chief political analyst at CNN

Nick Kokonas ’90

Founder and owner of Alinea, Next, The Aviary, and Roister; founder and CEO of Tock, Inc.

Other Notable Alumni


  • Rob Stone ’91, Lead Studio Host at FOX Sports
  • Mark H. Murphy ’77, president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers
  • Tad Brown ’86, CEO of the Houston Rockets
  • Kiira Dosdall ’09, plays professionally for Metropolitan Riveters of National Women’s Hockey League
  • Adonal Foyle ’99, 13-year NBA player and current community ambassador for Golden State Warriors
  • Daniel Green ’06, founder and CEO of Green Sports Management
  • David Lloyd ’83, studio host at ESPN
  • Lauren Schmetterling ’10, Olympic gold medal–winning rower

Business and Entrepreneurship

  • Samantha Radocchia ’11, co-founder of Chronicled Inc.; Forbes 30 under 30
  • Tim Spence ’01, Digital Banker of the Year (American Banker), EVP, head of consumer banking, payments, and strategy at Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Carmine Di Sibio ’85, elected global chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young Global Ltd.
  • Nick Kokonas ’90, founder and owner of Alinea, Next, The Aviary, and Roister; founder and CEO of Tock, Inc.

Politics and Advocacy

  • Maggie Dunne ’13, founder and CEO of Lakota Children’s Enrichment; Forbes 30 under 30
  • Peter Feldman ’04, commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Science and Tech

  • Spencer Charles ’11, product operations manager at Google Inc.
  • Jason Rand ’07, global travel brand partnerships at Pinterest
  • Clarissa Shah ’10, commercial counsel at LinkedIn
  • Debra Locastro ’05, chief of staff to the CIO at Google Inc.

Media and Publishing

  • Kristin Koch ’05, executive director of Seventeen Magazine
  • Bob Woodruff ’83, Correspondent at ABC News
  • Kim Edwards ’81, New York Times bestselling author, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  • Gloria Borger ’74, American journalist and columnist; chief political analyst at CNN
  • Stephen Burke ’80, executive vice president of Comcast; president and CEO of NBCUniversal
  • Matt Renner ’01, VP of production at National Geographic, Free Solo


  • Michèle Alexandre ’96, civil rights scholar, dean of Stetson University College of Law, and professor of law
  • Denniston Reid ’94, chief schools and innovation officer at Excellence Community Schools
  • Kevin Ross ’94, president of Lynn University
  • Henry Zymeck ’82, principal of M.S. 245 in NYC; featured in the New York Times


  • Jennifer E. Smith ’03, published YA author with Random House
  • Christopher Koelsch ’93, president and CEO of LA Opera
  • Joe Berlinger ’83, Academy Award nominated, and Peabody- and Emmy-winning filmmaker
  • E. Garrett Bewkes IV ’10, publisher of National Review
  • Journalist Amanda Terkel ’04, Washington bureau chief at Huffington Post
  • Julie Cohen ’86, director of RBG, a biopic following the life and achievements of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2019 Oscars
  • Chris White ’91, executive producer of PBS's award-winning documentary series POV and America Reframed on WORLD Channel; winner of multiple Emmy Awards, and executive producer of the Academy Award– nominated film Minding The Gap

Start your lifelong connections

The Colgate community is essential to the experience students have, not just during their four years on campus – but for the rest of their lives. Take the next step to be part of the supportive and loyal Colgate community.

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