Hamilton College is the third oldest college in the state of New York, after Columbia University and Union College and is located in the Adirondack Mountain region.
I bet when Samuel Kirkland founded “Hamilton-Oneida Academy,” in 1793, he did not realize how extraordinary the institution would become. In 1812, his school was chartered as Hamilton College, in honor of Alexander Hamilton: the US statesman, first secretary of the Treasury, and member of the first board of trustees of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy. Right from the get-go, Hamilton was said to have a greater emphasis on rhetoric and elocution than most schools being formed in America.
In 1968, Hamilton’s sister school, Kirkland College was founded. Ten years later, the two colleges combined. Today, Hamilton still stands as one of the premier colleges in the country, with an emphasis on writing, reading, and thinking.
Hamilton’s original campus is known by students as the “light side” and the former Kirkland College campus is known as the “dark side.” The north and south sides of campus are connected by a long, red-bricked pathway known as Martin’s Way. Students go to class along Martin’s Way, and it’s not uncommon to see familiar faces on the way.
The Margaret Bundy Scott Field house, a 55,000-square-foot multipurpose athletic structure where basketball games are held, is located on the eastern end of campus near the football team’s Steuben Field, while a cluster of residence halls and the List Art Center, used for the visual and performing arts, is located on the west side of campus. Hamilton is known as a “walking campus” as most students get around on foot.
Hamilton College is located in the Clinton, NY where the population is about 2,000. This village, in Oneida County, is also known as the “village of schools” because of the number of private schools that operated there during the 19th Century. Residents of Clinton have a generally favorable relationship with Hamilton students.
The center of town is conveniently located down the hill from Hamilton’s campus and contains a few coffee shops, a bookstore, a gift shop, a few drugstores, some restaurants, and a supermarket. Although Clinton is not filled with many attractions, Hamilton is about 15 minutes away from a shopping mall, a movie theater, and restaurants.
The Citrus Bowl is the men’s ice hockey opener of the year. Hamilton fans have been known to throw oranges into the opponent’s goal after Hamilton scores its first goal of the season.
Halloween Weekend is huge at Hamilton. From Wednesday through Sunday there are different themed parties that students get decked out for.
The last day of classes in the spring semester, which some feel is “the best holiday of the year.” Annually on Class and Charter Day, afternoon classes are cancelled and there is a campus-wide picnic. Class and Charter day is unofficially the biggest party day of the entire school year.
Started in 2004, the May Day Music Festival is an outdoor event sponsored by several on-campus organizations and has hosted performers such as Ted Leo, The New Pornographers, and Sleater-Kinney.
Also started in 2004, HamTrek is the school’s annual sprint-triathlon consisting of a 525-yard swim, 9-mile bike ride, and 3.1-mile run. Students compete individually or in teams of three.
Guy Herbert (1989) is a former goalie for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and US Olympian.
A.G. Lafley, (1969) is the president and CEO of Proctor and Gamble.
Paul Lieberstein (1989) is an Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, producer, and actor on NBC’s The Office.
Thomas Meehan (1951) is a playwright best known for The Producers, Annie, and Hairspray
Ezra Pound (1905) was an American poet.
B.F. Skinner (1926) was a prominent behavioral psychologist.
Tom Vilsack (1972) is a former Iowa governor and former 2008 Democratic presidential candidate.
Hamilton competes in NCAA Division III sports and is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). There are 28 varsity sports including men’s baseball and football, men’s and women’s basketball, crew, ice hockey, lacrosse, track & field, and squash. In 2008, Hamilton won its first NCAA championship when the women’s lacrosse team defeated Franklin and Marshall in the finals of the NCAA tournament. About 30% of Hamilton students participate in the athletics program.
“Sports are HUGE at Hamilton. I would suggest that you fear The Continentals because we are ‘buff’ and we are ‘blue.’ We may be DIII, but we have just as much school spirit as a DI school. As a NESCAC school, Hamilton is filled with many talented athletes. Many members of the Hamilton community follow football, basketball, and ice hockey.”
— With special reporting by Amanda Nardi '11
Hamilton was cited as the second most “preppy” college in the United States in the Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach.
In Thorton Wilder’s play, Our Town, the character Mr. Webb returns on a train after having been away to give a speech at Hamilton College, his alma mater.
Hamilton graduate Alexander Woollcott was friends with Thorton Wilder and convinced him to go to Hamilton.
Housing is guaranteed for all four years at Hamilton. When students apply for housing, they fill out a housing preference form that the school uses to match the student up with one of 23 different residence halls. First-year students are not allowed to bring cars to campus due to the limited amount of parking and must wait until their second year to be able to do so.
Dorms at Hamilton are located on the “Light Side” and the “Dark Side” of campus. The Light Side consists of the original Hamilton College Campus and the Dark Side consists of what was once Kirkland College, before Hamilton became co-ed in 1978.
There are a ton of dorms located on the Light Side of campus, many of which were frat houses turned into really nice student dorms - the Residential Life Decision of 1995 eliminated Greek houses at Hamilton. The Light Side is typically known as the “preppier” side of campus. Dunham, located here, is the largest dorm on campus. It is also the most centrally located underclassman dorm on campus and can accommodate 249 students.
The Dark Side houses the art department, theater department, and the Root Glen. It is also known to have more ‘artsy students.’ The Dark Side dorm buildings include suites, as well as Babbitt and Milbank residence halls. Suites typically consist of five singles and one double, along with a kitchen and common room.