Colgate University Loves the Number 13 - Important Traditions at Colgate Skip Navigation

Lucky 13

Our love affair with the No. 13 has become a Twitter mainstay as students, alumni, and friends tweet #colgateday each Friday the 13th, also known as Colgate Day, to see if we can trend. And, yes, we have made #colgateday trend (twice).
No. 13 is considered lucky here at Colgate!
The university was originally founded as The Baptist Education Society of the State of New York by 13 men who each offered $13 and 13 prayers.

The society's original constitution contained 13 articles. Our address is 13 Oak Drive, and we are located in the zip code 13346 (the first two digits are 13, and the last three digits add up to 13!). There is certainly no triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) here -- in fact we've embraced it as Colgate's lucky number!

So, that is why we've adopted the most notorious 13 – Friday the 13th – as a celebration of Colgate. Every Colgate Day students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families around the world don their Colgate regalia and celebrate the university and its community. And tweet!

The Diploma, Seal, & Motto

In 1846, Professors A.C. Kendrick and J.F. Richardson prepared the Latin formula for the diplomas that has remained the same to today. They, along with Professor John Howard Raymond and three trustees, devised the seal and motto, "Deo Ac Veritati" ("With reference to God and for the purpose of truth" or simply "For God and for Truth"). Oh... and the motto has 13 letters!

Torchlight Ceremony

First-year students are led up Colgate’s hill by faculty in full academic regalia and the members of Konosioni, the university’s senior honor society, who carry torches. They finish their march in the academic quad and then proceed into the Chapel for Founder's Day Convocation activities. 

Four years later, on the night before commencement, students process back down the hill in their gowns (but no caps), all with torches. The students circle Taylor Lake and sing the Alma Mater, then toss their torches into a bonfire, and celebrate their last night together as an undergraduate class.


The first volume of the Salmagundi was published by the Junior Class in 1883. The word means "miscellany" or "medley," and originally the book contained lists of faculty, fraternities, other campus organizations, and their respective members. Salmagundi became the yearbook for the graduating class in 1934.

First Kiss

Be careful who you kiss on Willow Path. If your first kiss occurs under the willows, legend says the couple will marry.


Adam and Eve are the eighth generation of swans to grace Taylor Lake.