Rith Returns to Colgate



Since his first year at Colgate University, as a first-year in Still­man, Don Rith has appreciated the beauty of the campus. Upon graduating from Colgate in 1956, Rith received his master’s degree from the University. Now, Rith paints watercolors of the University. Rith visited Ham­ilton on October 30 and stood outside Porter Fine Art Studio downtown along with his works, chatting with students and par­ents and handing out postcards of some of his watercolor images to passersby.

Rith has a connection to Colgate not only through his own time here, but also because his daughter and son-in-law at­tended the school. He hopes that, through his artwork, people can feel the same way about Colgate as he does; he wants them to appreciate the beautiful campus as much as he does. Rith explains why he paints Colgate so often by simply stating, “because I love being here so much.”

After his years at Colgate, Rith went to the University of Iowa for his Ph.D., served as a faculty member at the universities of Nebraska, Maine, Iowa and Kent State. He then proceeded to S.U.N.Y. Brockport, teaching there for the last 19 years of his teaching career and eventually becoming Chairman of the Leisure Studies Department for a few years. Once he retired in 1996 he decided to paint, primarily watercolors, and he particularly focuses on images of Colgate and its events – ranging from paint­ings of the campus to fraternities and sororities, dorm buildings and athletic activities. One of his paintings, titled, “In the Old Days – the Colgate Bookstore,” fondly displays the bookstore of the past. Besides his works depicting the Hamilton area, Rith has also painted scenes of Europe, where he recently traveled, and barns and animals that he paints for local farmers. At times, Rith does special commission work as well, and he paints all these works in his studio near where he lives in South Otselic, New York, not far from Colgate.

For those interested in his paintings and prints, there are several currently at the Colgate Bookstore, Porter Fine Art Studio and more of both his originals and reproductions can be viewed online at his website: [email protected]. Rith him­self “welcomes inquiries at any time,” and he greatly appreciates all of the contacts he has made with everyone at Colgate.

Rith’s paintings display the beauty of the Colgate campus and reflect his love of the school and his appreciation of its landscape. He hopes that through his works, Colgate students and alumni can view his work and remember how much they love Colgate and their time here. As people strolled by during Family Weekend, several parents bought his paintings to bring home so even when away from Colgate, students could look upon its scenery and think of the University. Along with the artistic techniques that come through in his paintings, Rith’s love of Colgate itself shines through as the most important element of his works. Above all, Rith hopes not only that those who view his paintings will see and understand his deep attachment to and admiration of Colgate, but also that they will be able to connect his feelings toward the school to their own similar ones. Hopefully, the paintings remind the view­ers of how much they themselves love Colgate as a campus and as the place where they have spent so much time and have so many memories.