Storied Traditions at Colgate University Skip Navigation

Traditions

Colgate has been around nearly 200 years, and in that time we've developed an incredible sense of tradition.
No. 13 is considered lucky here at Colgate!

Lucky 13

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!

First Kiss

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

Salmagundi

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.

Colgate Songs

Take a listen to some of our most popular songs from throughout the years.

Lyrics and Recordings

Alma Mater
When through thy valley, Fair Chenango twilight falls,
Bringing its silence
To our college halls;
In that happy moment,
Love for Alma Mater swells,
And the heart outpouring,
Of her glory tells:

(Chorus) 
Colgate, Alma Mater,
Fairest theme of all our lays!
Colgate! Alma Mater,
Ever blest, thy days.

Far from thy valley,
Yearly rove thy loving ones,
Yet, in their dreaming,
E'er thy name returns;
'Tis the same fond spirit
Which the mem'ry lingers o'er
And our lips but echo
That old song of yore:

Repeat chorus twice
Colgate Hymn
Alma Mater, mother dear,
Reverently we raise.
To the guardian of our youth,
Grateful hymns of praise.
Robed in honor, crowned with light.
Radiant dost thou stand.
And thy love in every heart,
Rules with sweet command.

Alma Mater, mother true!
Loyal sons would we,
Strong in heart, with ready hand,
Give our lives to thee.
Noble, fair and wise art thou,
And thine influence pure.
With the grandeur of thy hills,
Ever shall endure.
Fight, Fight, Fight
Hark the strains of martial music ringing,
Sound of voices raised in joyous singing,
Colors proudly waving to the sky;
A host is drawing nigh, Just watch them,
They march and sing along a triumph song;
And this is what they sing.

(Chorus)
Fight, fight, fight for dear old Colgate!
With Heart and hand now we'll win for thee!
Oh, we will fight, fight, fight for Alma Mater,
On to victory we're marching!
Foes shall bend their knee before us,
And pay their homage to pow'r so great,
So let us send out a cheer, and banish all fear,
While we are fighting hard for old Colgate.

Repeat chorus
In Eighteen Nineteen
Long ago, in the valley of Chenango, gathered thirteen.
Funds were low, but abundant was their pluck, in eighteen-nineteen.
Thirteen prayers were said with rapt devotion,
Thirteen dollars set the thing in motion,
Thus began old Colgate University in eighteen-nineteen.

Live true to the memory of those thirteen men of yore.
Whose faith made tradition that shall live for evermore.
Whose deeds give us courage to strive as they strove then.
'Tis the spirit that is Colgate, dear mother of men.

Up the hill, with profound determination, journeyed thirteen.
Ring of ax rent the silence of the woods in eighteen-nineteen.
Forest monarchs bowed to form a clearing,
Hymns triumphant blended with the cheering.
Thus began old Colgate University in eighteen-nineteen.

Live true to the memory of those thirteen men of yore.
Whose faith made tradition that shall live for evermore.
Whose deeds give us courage to strive as they strove then.
'Tis the spirit that is Colgate, dear mother of men.