Alumni Column: Colgate Around The World And Through Time

Graduation from Colgate ends one phase of a student’s life but opens up a whole new vista. The Colgate experience doesn’t end when the diploma is handed out, and in many ways it is just beginning. Let me explain. 

There are Colgate alumni traveling and living all around the U.S. and all around the world. I first became aware of this after my freshman year. In the summer of 1960, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe with my family. I was sitting at a sidewalk café in Paris when a man came up to me and said hello, addressing me by name. I replied politely, knowing he looked familiar but wondering frantically what his name was. As we chatted my mother approached us, greeted him and asked me with whom I was talking. Just as I was about to admit I had no idea I saw my freshman roommate, Dick Kraut, walk around the corner and realized I was talking to his father. What were the odds that both families were vacationing in Paris at the same time and managed to run into each other in the middle of that busy city?

In 1988, my wife and I joined a Colgate sponsored group traveling to Kenya. On the trip were alumni from Colgate classes ranging from 1937 to 1979. When we arrived in Nairobi, we learned the group had been invited to dinner at the home of Jim Adams ’70. Jim worked for the World Bank and had learned of our arrival after reading about the trip in the Colgate Scene. Who knew the Scene made it all the way to Nairobi! Jim had been stationed in Kenya for several years at the time, and we learned

a lot of things about the country from him that we never learned from our tour guides. 

Last summer, my wife and I took a trip that included a visit to Australia. I was especially excited about going to Melbourne because Pete Whipple ’64, a fraternity brother and track teammate, lived there. Pete has lived in Australia pretty much since he graduated, and I had not seen him in many years. However, our friendship lasted well over the years, and we were able to pick up right where we had left off years before. I was also delighted to discover that the Colgate mobile app worked in Australia. It not only showed that Pete lived in Melbourne but also indicated where he lived and where he worked. 

In the summer of 2013, I attended my 50th Colgate reunion. One of the things at the top of my agenda that weekend was getting the five captains of the Cross Country and Track teams from the Class of 1963 together for a picture. Phill Wilder was captain of the Cross Country team in the fall of 1961, and Jim Barnshaw was captain of the undefeated Cross Country team in 1962. Roger Busch was captain of the undefeated Outdoor Track team in the spring of 1962, Jim Courter was captain of the Indoor Track team in the winter of 1963 and I was captain of the Outdoor Track team in the spring of 1963. I had been in contact with all of the guys over the years, but it was the first time all five of us had been together at the same time since graduation. Again, it was obvious that our shared athletic experiences and friendships had withstood the test of time. We were able to reminisce easily about the good old days and share many of our fondest memories. 

I could go on, but I think these vignettes demonstrate well that the Colgate experience doesn’t end with graduation but carries on over time and distance.