Alumni Column Uniquely Colgate

Chris Johnson

I am amazed at how small the world truly is, especially when it comes to Colgate.  Last weekend, I ran into a classmate of mine outside a bodega in New York City who I had not seen in a number of years. We both have kids now – the next generation of Colgate Raiders. Shortly after my daughter was born, my wife joined a neighborhood new mothers group. She quickly discovered that one of our daughter’s new friends was the product of Colgate sweethearts and there have been multiple conversations about the Class of 2033 ever since. These random and frequent interactions make the Upper West Side feel more like the academic quad, with familiar faces darting across busy city streets from apartments to restaurants, instead of across tree lined paths from residence halls to Frank Dining Hall.

These connections do not just happen in New York City. Friends in Boston, Charlotte and Los Angeles, as well as others living in far off places throughout the world, often recount stories of running into classmates and fellow alumni in unique and unplanned circumstances. A friend e-mailed me the other day that he and his wife were having lunch at a local diner when he got a Facebook message that one of our classmates was also grabbing lunch at the same spot. Fellow diners quickly found themselves listening to Colgate banter once the connection was made.

A few summers ago, we were visiting my wife’s alma mater in Ann Arbor, Michigan. With an alumni network of more than 500,000 strong, there was a fairly good chance we would be talking about Michigan football with a familiar Wolverine. Yet we ran into one of my classmates sitting in the lobby of our hotel where we discussed logistics for our upcoming 10-year reunion.

We often hear and talk about the Colgate connection, this lifelong bond with Colgate that starts at orientation, strengthens upon graduation and grows as we all chart different courses in the world. Sometimes, Colgate encourages these interactions through various planned events or celebrations, but it is the random, everyday occurrences that makes this connection special

It is a connection forged through friendships made during our four years on the hill. It is nurtured once we graduate and begin to connect with the greater world. And it is bridged through generations of Colgate alumni who have each contributed to this lifelong network. It is uniquely Colgate.