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198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323

(315) 859-4011


Hamilton College

Hamilton College

At Hamilton, you have the flexibility to zero in on your academic interests ­and to explore the breadth of the liberal arts.

An Undergraduate Experience Like No Other

There is no one Hamilton student just as there is no one Hamilton experience, but the promise we make to all our students is the same: At Hamilton, you can study what interests you, be accepted for who you are and what you believe, and prepare to be the person you were meant to become.

Hamilton’s open curriculum allows you to choose courses because they interest you and fit your individual academic plan, not because you need to fulfill some requirement. A faculty advisor will help you make responsible, informed decisions.

Hamilton’s campus is characterized by a diverse array of people with different backgrounds, experiences and ideas. Be yourself at Hamilton, and be respected for who you are.


Hamilton College prepares students for lives of meaning, purpose, and active citizenship. Guided by the motto “Know Thyself,” the College emphasizes intellectual growth, flexibility, and collaboration in a residential academic community. Hamilton students learn to think independently, embrace difference, write and speak persuasively, and engage issues ethically and creatively. One of America’s first liberal arts colleges, Hamilton enables its students to effect positive change in the world.


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. 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. The college instead provided a free concert for the student body, coordinated by the Student Activities Office and the student-run Campus Activities Board. Concerts have included groups such as Passion Pit, White Panda, Sammy Adams, and Macklemore.

Citrus Bowl: The Citrus Bowl is the first men's hockey home 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, and Sleater-Kinney. The name refers to the fact that the festival is staged in early May or late April.

HamTrek: Begun 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 2000s, 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.

Reunions: Every June, alumni, faculty and friends of the college take over the Hamilton campus for an extended weekend of parties, lectures, panel discussions, performances, hikes, games and happy hours.

Student Life:

27 Residential options — from small houses to large residence halls, students live in singles, doubles, triples, quads, apartments and suites.

More than 60% of our students participate in Hamilton's off-campus study programs in France, Spain, China, India, Washington, D.C., and New York City, or choose from among hundreds of other approved programs.

Students participate in 29 varsity teams, 17 club sports, and 17 intramural programs.

Hamilton students are involved in numerous student organizations, including cultural, greek, performance, public affairs, religious, sports groups and clubs.



"Alex" Mascot
The mascot, "Alex," is a representation of the College’s namesake, Alexander Hamilton, in his Continental uniform. The likeness of Alexander Hamilton establishes the connection between the person for whom the College is named and the nickname for the College’s athletics teams. It also conveys the spirit and values of the College community and the institution’s emphasis on being a school of opportunity. A poor and orphaned immigrant, Alexander Hamilton overcame adversity to become one of early America’s greatest public servants. His opposition to slavery, along with his financial acumen, service in the Continental Army, persuasive writing and eloquent speaking make him a worthy representation of the College that bears his name. Alex, was introduced to the Hamilton community during Fallcoming and Family Weekend 2014.

Hamilton College today:

Hamilton confers bachelor of arts degrees in 21 areas of study.


Hamilton College has an enrollment of about 1,850 students. Students hail from 46 states and 45 countries; more than one-quarter of the student body consists of U.S. students of color or international citizens.

Famous graduates:

Tom Vilsack (born December 13, 1950) was adopted as an infant by Bud and Dolly Vilsack. He earned a history degree at Hamilton College in 1972 and continued his studies at Albany Law School. After graduating, he and his wife Christie moved to her home state of Iowa, where his political career began. He was elected mayor of Mt. Pleasant in 1987. From there, he moved up the political ladder, becoming a state representative, then governor, before being appointed to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by President Barack Obama. 

Ezra Pound (born October 30, 1885) studied literature and languages in college and in 1908 left for Europe, where he published several successful books of poetry. Pound advanced a "modern" movement in English and American literature. His pro-Fascist broadcasts in Italy during World War II led to his arrest and confinement until 1958.

Interesting facts about Hamilton College:

The first national fraternity was Sigma Phi, founded in 1827 at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. It is the second-oldest Greek fraternal society after Phi Beta Kappa.

Founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy; chartered in 1812 as Hamilton College; third oldest college established in New York State.