Alumni Throw Nationwide Bicentennial Celebrations


This is the giant ‘C’ cake that inspired the alumni events held December 6. The cake was made by Flour and Salt Bakery and served at the Bicentennial Kickoff.

Emily Rahhal, News Editor

Colgate alumni celebrated the bicentennial year and the holiday season on Thursday, December 6 with six nationwide Bicentennial Birthday Parties.

The events took place in Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The celebrations included alumni from the graduating classes of 2009- 2018, and were organized by local alumni. Each event fundraised money to supporting Col- gate’s financial aid as a “birthday gift” to the University.

“A lot of alums can’t come back [to campus], and we’re doing all this stuff for the bicentennial, so they just wanted to be part [of it],” President Brian Casey said. “They normally have an event that’s near the holidays so we just said, ‘let’s just have cake.’”

Each of the bicentennial birthday parties also had a cake made by a local bakery. Back in September, Hamilton’s local Flour and Salt Bakery made a Bicentennial ‘C’-shaped cake that could feed 2,000 guests for the Bicentennial Kickoff event on Friday, September 21. This event was part of a larger Bicentennial Kickoff Weekend, which combined Family Week- end and homecoming. Casey said that alumni around the nation were impressed by the enormous cake, which inspired this bicentennial birthday event.

“This is really silly, but it started with the cake. The big C. We had the big cake, and two alumni groups said they wanted to have a cake too, so we decided to just have birthday parties,” Casey said. “We found our bakers in each of the cities who could bake a big C cake.”

Alumni will be included in more bicentennial events during the Bicentennial Tour, which will begin on February 6, 2019 in Boston and end on December 4, 2019 in West Palm Beach.

The Bicentennial Tour is a traveling celebration and conversation about Colgate’s history led by Jim Smith ’70, which will allow alumni and students abroad to celebrate the bicentennial without needing to be on campus. Smith’s book, “Becoming Colgate,” will help guide a discussion about the history of the university.

Smith took this project on in 2014, as the first attempt to compile a history of Colgate since 1969, according to Colgate University News. As the Rockefeller Archive Center’s vice president and director of research and education, Smith compiled the history of Colgate drawing on his own experience as an alum. University archivists, Bicentennial research fellows and other students helped Smith put together the research for the book.

The next on-campus celebration will be on December 15.

The Bicentennial Committee will host a “Village of Hamilton and Colgate University Bicentennial Holiday House Tour.” Each ticket will be $13, and the proceeds will go to the Hamilton Food Cupboard.

Contact Emily Rahhal at [email protected]