University Celebrates First Charter Day of Third Century


The University raised funds for local organizations through their celebration for its 201st Charter Day on March 5 in the Memorial Chapel. Charter Day events honor the day that the New York State Assembly granted a charter to the Baptist Education Society of New York, founding what would later be renamed Colgate University.

In a statement to community members, President Casey explained that the tradition of celebrating Charter Day started in 2019 to honor the university’s Bicentennial. According to Casey, the day serves as a reminder of the privilege that students have of being at Colgate and to encourage donating and celebrating local charities. Community members were encouraged to donate one dollar or more to a variety of local organizations including Southern Madison County Ambulance Corp (SOMAC), Hamilton Food Cupboard and the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department.

Assistant Fire Chief for the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department Brendt Simpson explained that the Charter Day tradition emphasizes the extent that the Colgate community values local organizations’ work and the invaluable role that they have within the community.

Advanced-EMT and SOMAC Student Coordinator senior David Little echoed Simpson’s sentiment on the strong sense of community as emphasized through charitable donations.

“Instilling philanthropic values in tradition helps to build community, and there is no better way to celebrate Colgate’s Charter Day than by giving back to the community that Colgate is a part of,” Little said.

These monetary donations play a large role in the efficacy and functionality of the organizations, according to Little, who detailed the ways the SOMAC implements those donations.

“Last year we received almost 3,000 dollars through donations and a generous matching gift. We use the funds to support our student program’s training initiatives as well as updating some of our equipment. Some of the new equipment we have been able to purchase, with assistance from donations, are new monitors for all of our three ambulances as well as a robot that does CPR, which we keep in our fly car for deployment throughout the county,” Little said. 

According to Simpson, the Hamilton Fire Department used their donations to fund important equipment to the success of the department.

“We use generous donations like this to purchase the latest safety equipment for our firefighters.  Some examples include thermal imaging cameras, helmets, turnout jackets, pants and boots,” Simpson said.

Vice President and Dean of the College Paul J. McLoughlin II also praised the University’s celebration of Charter Day and the community values it supports.

“The celebration of Colgate’s Charter Day provides us with an opportunity to connect with the University’s history and the spirit of selflessness represented by our founders,” McLoughlin said. “I like that we have chosen to celebrate Charter Day by harnessing the collective generosity of our community outward as a way of celebrating our own university’s birthday.” 

Director of University Events Ainslie Ellis played a large role in organizing the Charter Day festivities last week and acknowledged that the deep history contributes to Colgate’s story.

“I think Charter Day is important because it is a significant part of Colgate’s history. I went to Colgate and graduated in 2000 and before last year I didn’t know Charter Day existed so the fact that we’re recognizing it now is really important,” Ellis said.