43°03′09″N 75°24′20″W / 43.052364, -75.405657

Hamilton College
MottoΓνῶθι Σεαυτόν
Motto in EnglishKnow Thyself
Established1793 as Hamilton-Oneida Academy, 1812 as Hamilton College
TypePrivate coeducational
Endowment$635.2 million (2012) [1]
PresidentJoan Hinde Stewart
Academic staff219
LocationClinton, NY, USA
Annual Fees$55,620 (2012–2013)[3]
ColorsBuff      and Blue     
AffiliationsNESCAC, MAISA

Hamilton College is a private liberal arts college in Clinton, New York, United States. Founded as a boys' school in 1793, it was chartered as Hamilton College in 1812. It has been coeducational since 1978, when it merged with its sister school of Kirkland College. Hamilton is sometimes referred to as the "College on the Hill." One of the "Little Ivies," Hamilton was ranked 16th in the nation among National Liberal Arts Colleges in the 2013 U.S. News and World Report.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

File:Richard Rummell- Hamilton College.jpg

Hamilton College as painted from a hot-air balloon by watercolor artist Richard Rummell in the early 1900s.[5]

Hamilton began in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, a seminary founded by Samuel Kirkland as part of his missionary work with the Oneida tribe. The seminary admitted both white and Oneida boys. Kirkland named it in honor of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who was a member of the first Board of Trustees of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy.

The Academy became Hamilton College in 1812, making it the third oldest college in New York after Columbia and Union. It had expanded to a four-year college curriculum.

In 1978, the all-male Hamilton College merged with the women's Kirkland College, founded by Hamilton across the road in the 1960s. The main public reason for the merger was Kirkland's imminent insolvency, because women now favored co-education. It took nearly 7 years to complete the merger; women could get a Kirkland diploma instead of a Hamilton diploma until 1979.

The original Hamilton campus is often called the "light side" or "north side" of campus. The original side of campus was once called "Stryker Campus" after its former president, Melancthon Woolsey Stryker (or incorrectly "Striker Campus"). On the other side of College Hill Road, the original Kirkland campus is called the "dark side" or the "south side."

Since the 1970s, Hamilton has been a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (or the NESCAC) (despite technically being outside New England). This conference also includes Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Connecticut College, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan, and Williams. Rivalries with many of these schools, Middlebury in particular, predate the conference.

Campus[edit | edit source]

During the summer of 2006, the school completed a new science building. The art department has separate studios for each of the studio arts taught, most of which are being renovated. Hamilton's athletic facilities include an ice rink, swimming pool, several athletics fields, a golf course, a three-story climbing wall, and a 10 Court Squash Center.

File:Hamilton College theater.jpg

Minor Theatre

Carol Woodhouse Wellin Performance Hall[edit | edit source]

The 700-seat hall hosts the College Orchestra conducted by Heather Buchman, Hamilton College Choir, College Hill Singers and Oratorio Society, all directed by G. Roberts Kolb, Jazz Band, and Faculty Dance Concerts as well as guest artists from around the globe.

The Sage Rink[edit | edit source]

Hamilton College’s Sage Rink is America's second oldest indoor collegiate hockey rink after Northeastern University's Matthews Arena.[6] It was financed by the widow of industrialist Russell Sage, whose name graces a number of Central New York college edifices, including Russell Sage College. In addition to Continental men's and women's teams, youth hockey, high school teams, adult amateur efforts and the famous Clinton Comets, who dominated the semi-professional Eastern Hockey League in the 1960s and early 1970s, have played at the Sage Rink.[6] It was renovated in 1993, when it got better lighting, ice-making equipment, and structural enhancements. The rink houses the college's Men's and Women's varsity hockey teams, intramural ice hockey, physical education classes, and local youth hockey games.

Bristol Swimming Pool[edit | edit source]

Completed in 1988, the pool was christened by a Guinness Book of World Records setting event in April 1989 when the world's longest swim relay was completed in the Bristol pool.[citation needed]

Steuben Field[edit | edit source]

Home to the Hamilton College football team, Steuben Field was founded in 1897, and is one of the ten oldest collegiate football fields in the United States. In Summer 2009, the field received a renovation that included the installation of FieldTurf and a new scoreboard. The field is now home to Men's and Women's Lacrosse as recently as the 2010 spring season.[7]

Litchfield Observatory[edit | edit source]

IAU code 789, from which C. H. F. Peters discovered some 48 asteroids. The observatory burned down but is currently marked on campus by its telescope mount outside of the Suida Admissions and Financial Aid House. The current observatory, a quarter of a mile from campus, is powered by solar energy and is open for student use. The existing observatory, located 100 feet from College Hill Road, was built with rock from the same quarry as the original building.

Hamilton College Chapel[edit | edit source]

The Hamilton College Chapel is a historically protected landmark and is the only three-story chapel still standing in America.[8] The chapel is topped by a signature quill pen weather vane, which represents Hamilton College's long standing commitment to producing graduates with exceptional writing and communication abilities.[citation needed]

Kirkland Cottage[edit | edit source]

The cottage was the original residence of Samuel Kirkland when he began his missionary work to the Oneida. The cottage is completely original, although it was moved from its original location on Kirkland's property (known today as Harding Farm) to its current place on the main quadrangle of the Hamilton Side. The cottage is currently used for matriculation ceremonies.

Birthplace of Elihu Root[edit | edit source]

At one time serving as the residence of the Oren Root family, the house was the birthplace of Elihu Root, who served as Secretary of State and won the 1912 Nobel Peace Prize. Built in 1812, the house served as the student dining hall for Hamilton College. In 1834 it was adapted as a residence for Horatio Buttrick, superintendent of the Buildings and Grounds Department and college registrar. After his daughter married Oren Root, he allowed the young couple to take over the house. Their son Elihu Root was born there.

The house has since been renamed Buttrick Hall. It serves provides office space for the President of the College and the Dean of Faculty.


Elihu Root House

Elihu Root House[edit | edit source]

The Elihu Root House originally belonged to Elihu Root, who used it as his summer house. It was next used by the Office of Admission. As of September 2009, it houses the Dean of Students Office, the Registrar, and the department of Residential Life.

Academics[edit | edit source]

Hamilton currently offers the Bachelor of Arts degree in any of over 50 areas of concentration.[9] Additionally, Hamilton students may study abroad. The College runs programs in China, France, and Spain, as well as domestic programs in New York City and Washington, DC. Hamilton is well known for its "open" curriculum, for which there are no distributional requirements; students have nearly total freedom over their course selection. Grinell College, Brown University, Amherst College and Smith College are other institutions with such a policy. The college has long adhered to an academic honor code. Every student matriculating at Hamilton must sign a pledge to observe the Honor Code, and many examinations are not proctored. Hamilton has been part of the SAT optional movement for undergraduate admission since 2002.[10]

Hamilton gives applicants different ways to meet the Standardized Testing Requirements, including a choice of SAT I, ACT and combination of three SAT IIs. For the Class of 2014, of those who had high schools that ranked, 80% of the students were in the top ten percent of their class. Among those who submitted SAT I scores (majority), the average was 1410 for combined reading and math, and 710 for the writing section.

Rankings[edit | edit source]

In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked Hamilton the 16th best national liberal arts college in the United States.[4] Hamilton is ranked as a "more selective" school by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and as a "most selective" school by US News.

In April 2011, Hamilton was listed as the 2nd best college in America for writers (after Emory University and before Johns Hopkins, MIT and NYU) by USA Today/CollegeDegree.com.

For 2010–2011, Kiplinger ranked Hamilton 9th in terms of "Best Value among Liberal Arts Colleges in the US," which took into account academic quality, cost and financial aid measures. Hamilton is ranked 6th in a similar measure by U.S. News & World Report.

Princeton Review's 2011 "Best 373 Colleges" Guide (based on student surveys) gave Hamilton high ratings of 97 (out of 100) for both academics and selectivity. It was among the few colleges listed that provided the "best classroom experience." The Review, along with USA Today, also lists Hamilton as one of 2009's Top 50 Private Colleges for Best Value.

Hamilton is highlighted in two books; it appears in The Hidden Ivies: 50 Top Colleges from Amherst to Williams That Rival the Ivy League and Hidden Ivies: Thirty Colleges of Excellence.

In 2012, Hamilton was ranked as the 10th Best Value College in the Nation by the Princeton Review.[11]

Student life and traditions[edit | edit source]

The current Hamilton College campus consists of the combined Hamilton and Kirkland college campuses. It has three large wooded areas, known as the Root glen, Rogers glen, and the Kirkland glen.

In the mid-1990s, the administration required all underclassmen to live in college housing rather than in fraternity or sorority houses, ultimately resulting in the closure of all fraternity houses and the Emerson Literary Society's house. It created new social spaces for student use, improved funding for on-campus events, and pursued several other social life changes. The new policy was controversial, especially the administration's decision to prohibit the fraternities from using their houses. Thus, the majority of fraternities concluded they had no choice but to sell their houses to the college, though some fraternities refused to sell their houses until well into the next decade. As the college purchased the houses, it has carried out extensive renovations. The college has revoked or suspended the charters of a few fraternities for extreme behavior, because of their causing additional controversy among the students and alumni.

Housing[edit | edit source]

Nearly all students live in college-owned dorms. The residence halls have a variety of styles, including former fraternity houses, suites, apartment style housing, and more traditional dormitory-style housing. Hamilton offers a cooperative living option to students, as well as substance-free and quiet housing.[12] All residence halls are co-ed; some have single-sex floors. In October 2010, the College adopted a gender-neutral housing policy, wherein students of either sex may room together in rooms designated for two or more students.[13]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Eleven fraternities, seven sororities, and one co-ed society are active on the Hamilton College campus. Greek organizations maintain a significant (but not overwhelming) social presence, despite being non-residential since 1995. These fraternities include two of the "Union Triad": Delta Phi and Sigma Phi. They consist of Alpha Delta Phi (founded at Hamilton College), Chi Psi, Delta Chi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Delta Phi, Delta Upsilon, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, Psi Upsilon, Sigma Phi, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Theta Delta Chi.

The sororities are Alpha Chi Lambda, Alpha Theta Chi, Gamma Xi, Kappa Delta Omega, Kappa Sigma Alpha, Sigma Lambda Upsilon, and Phi Beta Chi.

While all of the fraternities on campus are affiliated with national organizations, only one sorority (Omega Phi Beta) has a national affiliation. The other six sororities are unique to Hamilton. Lambda Chi Alpha existed at Hamilton until 1958.

Generally, events sponsored by Greek organizations occur on campus and are open to all students. Hamilton also has a co-ed, non-Greek social society: the Emerson Literary Society.

Campus media[edit | edit source]

WHCL-FM - During the academic year, Hamilton students, faculty, and community members produce a variety of music, news, sports, and talk radio programs at FM frequency 88.7. The station is available through most of the Mohawk Valley region and online at whcl.org. It is the only radio station in Clinton.

The Spectator, Hamilton College's primary news publication, is published weekly. It is distributed in the campus dining halls, mail center, and library. The Spectator covers campus, local, and national news as well as Hamilton sports and campus life. The paper can be found online at http://students.hamilton.edu/spectator.

The Daily Bull is a daily bulletin that caters to campus counterculture. It is noted for being printed on yellow legal size paper, and is distributed on dining hall tables every morning.

The Wag is Hamilton's semi-annual satire magazine, published near the end of every semester. It features written and graphical satire of campus news and life. The Wag has also produced short feature films about the "Hamilton experience" in the past.

The Duel Observer is a weekly humor and satire publication. Founded by Tom Keane '03, David Schwartz '02, and James Robbins '05, it has adopted the format of a parody newspaper (e.g. The Onion). The name refers to the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton which resulted in Hamilton's death.

HamPoll is Hamilton's polling organization, which regularly surveys students and faculty on various campus and academic issues. Recent surveys have asked about relationship dynamics, evaluations of academic departments, recycling habits, as well as political and social affiliations.

The Continental is a student-run magazine published a few times a semester; it features fashion advice, party photos, and articles on a variety of subjects.

Red Weather is the college literary magazine, dedicated to promoting the literary arts on campus by printing a variety of student-authored poetry and fiction; it is published twice a year.

The Green Apple is named for one of the symbols of Kirkland College; it features short stories, poetry, and op-eds, and is printed on green legal-sized paper.

Traditions[edit | edit source]

Class and Charter Day: On the last day of spring term classes, all afternoon classes are canceled for a campus wide picnic and party. Additionally, a ceremony is held during which students, faculty, and other members of the Hamilton community are recognized for their academic, leadership, and community-development accomplishments. During the ceremony, chosen students are also inducted into Hamilton's three prestigious honor societies: Doers and Thinkers (13 rising sophomores), Was Los (6 rising juniors), and Pentagon (5 rising seniors). Class and Charter Day is also the biggest party day of the year at Hamilton. The popular "G-Road" party which took place on this day became so infamous for underage drinking and over-indulgence that the college chose to ban the party for Class and Charter Day '09.

Citrus Bowl: The Citrus Bowl is the first men's home hockey game of the season. Traditionally the game was called the Orange Bowl, and upon the first Hamilton-scored goal, oranges that students had smuggled into the rink were thrown onto the ice at the visiting goalie. This often resulted in a delay-of-game penalty against Hamilton while the ice was cleaned. In recent years, the orange throwing has been banned by the College administration and by NESCAC officials, but the event is still well attended. Orange T-shirts commemorating the event have been distributed in recent years.

FebFest: Rooted in the long-standing tradition of the winter carnival at Hamilton, FebFest is a relatively recent revival. A week-long combination of performances, parties, free food, fireworks, and various other events, FebFest intends to keep student morale high during the winter. Over the years, bands ranging from the Steve Miller Band to Ghostface Killah have performed as a part of festivities.

May Day Music Festival: Started in 2004, May Day is an outdoor music festival sponsored by several on-campus organizations, including the Hamilton College Independent Music Fund, WHCL, and the Hamilton College Campus Activities Board. Past performers have included: Citizen Cope, The New Pornographers, The Pharcyde, Dead Meadow, Tim Reynolds, Chromeo, Jennifer Gentle, Rainer Maria, Ted Leo, The Unicorns, J-Live, Catch-22, Sleater-Kinney, Stroke 9, and Eve 6. The name refers to the fact that the festival is staged in early May or late April.

HamTrek: Started in 2004, HamTrek is an annual sprint-triathlon consisting of a 525-yard swim, 9-mile bike ride, and 3.1-mile run. Participants can compete individually, in unisex teams of 3, or co-ed teams of 3. Prizes are awarded to the winners of the different competing groups. In the late 2000's, HamTrek introduced a fund raising component to benefit the Shawn Grady Memorial Fund. Also, many athletic coaches now require their teams to compete. HamTrek takes place on Class and Charter Day.

Athletics[edit | edit source]

Hamilton is a NCAA Division III school and has been a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference since 1971. The college sports teams are known as the Hamilton Continentals. Hamilton sponsors 29 sports, including: Baseball (M), Basketball (M&W), Crew (M&W), Cross Country (M&W), Field Hockey (W), Football (M), Golf (M&W), Ice Hockey (M&W), Lacrosse (M&W), Outdoor and Indoor Track & Field (M&W), Soccer (M&W), Softball (W), Squash (M&W), Swimming & Diving (M&W), Tennis (M&W), Volleyball (W).

Before the 1993-94 academic year, Hamilton's sports teams could not participate in any national postseason tournaments. The rule was changed that year, allowing Hamilton to participate in Division III tournaments in various sports. On May 18, 2008, Hamilton won its first NCAA championship, when its women's lacrosse team defeated Franklin & Marshall 13-6 in the finals of the NCAA tournament.

About 30% of Hamilton's student body participate in its athletic programs. In addition to varsity sports, Hamilton sponsors several club sports and intramural activities each year. Club sports include alpine skiing, curling, equestrianism, figure skating, men's rugby, women's rugby, tae kwon do, ultimate frisbee, and women's golf. In 2008 the men's rugby team placed fourth in the national Division III tournament.[14] Hamilton has had a streaking team since 2002.

Hamilton's mascot is a Continental, a soldier in America's Continental Army of the Revolutionary War. The college's colors are buff and blue, the colors of the Continental Army's uniforms. The college's eponym, Alexander Hamilton, played a central role in the Continental Army as General George Washington's Chief of Staff. At many sporting events, Hamilton is represented by the Al-Ham (an abbreviation of Alexander Hamilton) pig. The pig, large, anthropomorphic, and dressed in a Hamilton basketball jersey and a Continental soldier's tricorn hat, was introduced in the early 2000s in an attempt to boost school spirit and interest in Hamilton's athletics program.

Rocking Chair Classic: Since 1980, the annual football game between Hamilton and Middlebury College has been designated the Rocking Chair Classic. The winning team keeps the Mac-Jack Rocking Chair for the following year. The rivalry has been dominated by Middlebury, which has won the last 14 matches.

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Hamilton typically enrolls about 1812 students. Fifty percent are male, and fifty percent are female. The middle 50% of SAT scores for students at Hamilton is 1350 to 1500. About 60% of students come from public schools, and 40% from private schools; from 49 U.S. states and 45 countries.[15] Of the applicants who applied to the Class of 2014, 29% were accepted. A recent year reported that 5% of Hamilton students were described as international, 5% as African-American, 1% as Native American, 8% as Asian/Pacific Islander, 4% Hispanic, 70% White, and 8% as unknown ethnicity.

Controversies[edit | edit source]

In 2002, then-President Eugene Tobin resigned after admitting that he had failed to give proper attribution to quoted material in speeches.[16]

In 2005, efforts to bring the scholar Ward Churchill to speak on campus were controversial, as he had aroused considerable hostility due to his remarks following the 9/11 attacks in which he compared the victims to Nazis. His appearance was cancelled due to protests.[17][18][19]

The college's decision in 2004 to hire Sue Rosenberg, a former political radical and ex-convict who had served 16 years in Federal prison for possession of explosives and weapons, was criticized. She was implicated, but not indicted, in the 1981 Brinks robbery during which two policemen and an armed Brinks guard were killed.[20]

Professor Robert Paquette complained when an independent student group brought Annie Sprinkle an actress and former porn-star, as a speaker.[21] Paquette later led an attempt to create the Alexander Hamilton Center on campus, but it was unsuccessful.[22]

College songs[edit | edit source]

  • Carissima
  • We Never Will Forget Thee, the fight song of Hamilton College, often performed by the Hamilton College Buffers, an all-male student a cappella group. The Hamilton College Football team also sings a 'modified version of this song upon winning a football game.

Alumni and faculty[edit | edit source]

Notable Hamilton alumni include the abolitionist Theodore Weld, Michigan pioneer, writer, geologist, lawyer, lumberman Bela Hubbard (1834), US Secretary of State Elihu Root (1864), US Vice President James S. Sherman (1878), poet Ezra Pound (1905), theatre critic Alexander Woollcott (1909), jurist and diplomat Philip Jessup (1919), psychologist B. F. Skinner (1926), Nobel Prize Winner Paul Greengard (1948), civil rights leader Bob Moses (1956), novelist Terry Brooks (1966), playwright Richard Nelson (1971), US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (1972), composer Jay Reise (1972), Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Melinda Wagner (1979), novelist Peter Cameron (1982), actor Tony Goldwyn (1982), author Garret Kramer (1984), novelist Kamila Shamsie, actor and writer for The Office Paul Lieberstein (1989), actor Grayson McCouch (1991), and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Nat Faxon (1997).

Notable faculty have included philosophers such as Leo Strauss; writers such as Natalie Babbitt, Alex Haley, and poet Howard Nemerov; composers such as Jay Reise; and diplomats and politicians such as Edward S. Walker, Jack F. Matlock, Jr., and Bernie Sanders.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


  1. As of June 30, 2012. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2012NCSEPublicTablesEndowmentMarketValuesFinalJanuary232013.pdf.
  2. http://www.hamilton.edu/college/institutional_research/CDS2011_2012.pdf
  3. http://www.hamilton.edu/finaid/tuition
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Liberal Arts Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/liberal-arts-rankings. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  5. "Arader Galleries Iconic College Views", Rummell, Richard, Littig & Co. circa 1910
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hamilton College - Campus Tour - Tour Pages Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "History" defined multiple times with different content
  7. NESCAC Football Record Book
  8. Hamilton College - Campus Tour - Tour Pages
  9. Hamilton College Website, Academics Overview
  10. Hamilton College Website, Standardized Testing Requirements
  11. http://www.princetonreview.com/best-value-colleges.aspx
  12. Hamilton College Website, "Virtual Tour"
  13. "Gender-neutral housing policy in place", Hamilton College
  14. HCRFC Website.
  15. At a Glance (Diversity)
  16. Tamar Lewin, "Hamilton President Resigns Over Speech," New York Times, October 3, 2002
  17. Brennan, Charlie. "'OTHER VOICES' TO JOIN CHURCHILL ON N.Y. PANEL," Rocky Mountain News, January 29, 2005 (Denver, CO)
  20. Brad Vivacqua "New hire sparks controversy on Hamilton College campus", News 10 Now, November 14, 2004
  21. Glenn Coin, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), September 25, 2002
  22. "Rejected by NY college, conservative center sets up off campus", Higher Education News, 18 September 2007

External links[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.