Alumni Column: A Valentine to My True Love, Colgate



Joanna E. Allegretti

One of my favorite movies is The Notebook. Besides the fact that I am certain that Ryan Gosling and I have a very happy future together, I love the movie because it is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love. After some resistance, an unlikely couple, Al­lie and Noah, fall for one another. Over the course of several years, they learn that their love can do anything they want it to. It hits home because it parallels the greatest love story of my life – the one with Colgate.

Once upon a time, I was a star high school student with a well-rounded resume, high GPA and SAT scores. I thought I was the ideal candidate for any top college in the country, but many of them had other thoughts. When I applied to 15 schools during my senior year, a lot of letters of rejection and waitlist notifications arrived in the mailbox. I was gutted. Just when I thought the expected next step of college might not be an option, I received letters of acceptance to Hamilton and Colgate.

That day, before I opened the two fat envelopes that had arrived in the mail, I was greeted at our front door with internet-printed pictures of Colgate toothpaste tubes taped to it. My mom and younger sister were thrilled and had pretty much made my decision for me, given that there were no photos of Alexander Hamilton taped to the door!

While I hadn’t set my sights on Colgate at the onset of my application process, like Allie in The Notebook, as teenagers we did not know what was best for us. But Noah and Colgate were quick to realize these perfect matches. Allie and Noah and Colgate and I began whirlwind courtships that soon blossomed into lasting love. Colgate was beautiful. Colgate challenged me. Colgate engaged me. Colgate made me a better person. For four years, it was everything I could have asked for.

Graduation day in 2005 was my worst breakup. To have had the most successful and longest relationship of my life come to an end was unbearably difficult. When Allie leaves for college, she cuts off her relationship with Noah. But the audience knows their love is not lost. Like Allie, I thought moving on to a new endeavor might help me get over heartbreak. She went to Sarah Lawrence; I went to Manhattan. But we both learned that a true love is endur­ing, and it knows no boundaries of time and space.

My love for Colgate is as strong as ever but has taken a different shape now that our rela­tionship is long-distance. I am co-president of the Colgate Alumni Club of New York City. I am a class agent for the Annual Fund office. I work on the Alumni Admission Program. I am one of 55 members on the Alumni Council. It has been nearly seven years since graduation, but the passion I felt for Colgate, like that Allie felt for Noah, has not diminished with the passage of time. These volunteer posts all help to keep me close to what I consider the most influential relationship of my life – the one with my college. It turns out graduation day was only a break, not a break-up. Allie returned to Seabrook, and I re-engaged with Colgate in NYC, and we both picked up where we left off.

A true love lasts a lifetime, not just four years.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Colgate, my alma mater and love!