Thanks for the Memories, Colgate

Joe Leo '01 & Amy Hargrave-Leo '03

Many friendships begin here at Colgate, but few as strong and lifelong as the relationships we been fortunate to be a part of.

In August of 1997 Joe stepped foot on Colgate’s campus, excited and nervous about where Colgate would fit into his life. On his own for the first time, the path ahead was his to choose, or so he thought. Little did he know that soon maroon and white would run through his veins and he would be proud to be a Raider.

In August of 1999 Amy arrived at Colgate with her own set of hopes and aspirations, eager to make a difference and to leave her mark. Before even arriving she was a Leader of the New Millennium, a program tailor-made for who she was to become here at Colgate. Although we had high hopes for our college experience, we never could have imagined all that we would take with us.

As we prepare to move on to the next stage in our lives, for the first time we’re feeling homesick. Colgate has been so much more than our school, so much more than just a place that we’ve received our diplomas from, and so so much more than just four soon to be distant years of our lives.

To us, Colgate has been home, where we not only live, but where we are a part of a family. A part of family that has nurtured, supported, and loved us since the day we received our hand-signed letters from Gary Ross. You will not find another Dean of Admissions that genuinely cares about whom you are and who are to become. Thank you Gary for your love, patience, and friendship, but most importantly, thank you for what you do for Colgate.

Colgate is a place where we learned about life and how to really live it. We learned about who we were and how we can and should make a difference. We learned how to love, how to love each other, how to love our friends, and how to love our rivals. We learned how to grow through joy and through loss in ways we never could have imagined. We learned how to lead and how to follow, and how to hold each other up as well as hold each other accountable.

Colgate is an opportunity! We have treated every second of our time here as an opportunity to grow and become who we are today. It hasn’t always been easy to keep that perspective but now as we plan to leave it is crystal clear. With this opportunity comes a responsibility to make the most of what every Colgate student is privileged to have, four years of work and fun, followed by a lifetime of connectedness and memories.

There are so many people that have made our time here at Colgate unforgettable. First and foremost we thank God who makes all things possible. Our families, who’ve encouraged us and have supported us through everything life has offered. We thank our classmates from 2001 and 2003, because we are forever linked to this special place during our shared time here. We thank our professors, who challenged us and at times frustrated us, but most importantly showed us how hard we could work. Also, our colleagues, who have seen potential in us and helped us to realize it. We thank the students who are the best and brightest, and we thank the alumni who have shown us what it means to give back and to be a part of Colgate after you leave.

To the students, appreciate Colgate while you’re here. You will never have a time or place where you are more supported and encouraged, surrounded by people who want to see you succeed. Understand that the people who work at this great University have dedicated their lives towards making your life better. They spend many sleepless nights planning and caring for your futures. Thank them while you still have the chance. Many years from now the campus gates will still be open but the people who have made your experience yours may not be here.

For us this is not goodbye; it is our second Commencement, a new beginning. Although our lives are taking our bodies away from Colgate, our hearts will always be here. Colgate is forever a part of who we are and who we are yet to become. As our great Alma Mater tells us, “Ever blessed thy days.”