Hamilton College

From Academic Kids

Hamilton College is a private liberal arts college located in Clinton, New York. It is sometimes referred to as the 'School on the Hill', due to the school's location on top of College Hill, just outside of downtown Clinton. Hamilton College was ranked as the 19th best Liberal Arts College in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report in 2005.



Hamilton currently offers several areas of study (this list from the schools website):

Additionally Hamilton students may study abroad. There are long standing programs in China and France. Some students also choose to study at other institutions within the United States, including the option to take part in long-standing programs in New York City and Washington, DC.


Hamilton began in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, and was chartered as Hamilton College in 1812. The college was founded by Samuel Kirkland as part of missions work with the Oneida tribe. The college is named for Alexander Hamilton, who was a member of the first Board of Trustees of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy.

In 1978, the all-male Hamilton College merged with the all-female Kirkland College, which had been located adjacent to Hamilton. The primary public reason for the merger was Kirkland's imminent insolvency. This merger was not done lightly, overnight or without loud dissention by some; including large student protests on campus and their occupation of the President's Building for a few hours. It took nearly 7 years to complete the merger; 1985 was the last year in which female students were given the option of receiving a Kirkland diploma instead of a Hamilton diploma. There are still several former Kirkland faculty teaching at Hamilton that fondly remember being part of a very different academic community prior to the merge.

Today, the original Hamilton campus is referred to by students and some school literature as the "light side" or "north side" of the campus. Formerly that side of campus was refered to as the "Stryker Campus" after its former president, Melancthon Woolsey Stryker ( (or incorrectly "Striker Campus"). On the other side of the street separating the two campuses, the former Kirkland campus is referred to as the "dark side" (a reference to the lighting in the Kirkland College buildings).

Hamilton College is the third oldest college established in New York.

Campus Life

Starting in the late 1990s, the administration and the trustees have tried to work together to improve life on the campus. While the process caused a great deal of controversy early on, the student body has by and large come to accept and appreciate the changes. At the same time a few fraternities and sororities have had their charters revoked for extreme behavior (causing additional controversy among the students).


Nearly all students now live in college-owned dorms. There are a variety of styles of residence halls, including former fraternity houses, suites, apartment style housing, and more tradional dormatory style housing.

On campus events

The changes have allowed the student community to increase the number and types of activities available on campus. The college has also provided significant funding for student activities through student-run organizations. College-sponsored student-run groups routinely bring music, movies, plays, and other performers to the college.

Fraternities Active at Hamilton


Like most small colleges in the United States, ethnic diversity is an ongoing struggle for the college. See Statistics for more information.


Hamilton is a NCAA Division III school and has been a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference since 1971. The college sports teams are known as the Hamilton Continentals. Hamilton sponsors 28 sports, including: Baseball (M), Basketball (M&W), Crew (M&W), Cross Country (M&W), Field Hockey (W), Football (M), Golf (M), Ice Hockey (M&W), Lacrosse (M&W), Outdoor and Indoor Track & Field (M&W), Soccer (M&W), Softball (W), Squash (M&W), Swimming & Diving (M&W), Tennis (M&W), Volleyball (W).

About 30% of the Hamilton student body participates on the athletics program. In addition to varsity sports, Hamilton sponsors several club sports and intramural activities each year. All students have the opportunity to participate at a level enjoyable to them. Including the creation of a Streaking team in 2002, which claims an undefeated record. The Hamilton Streaking Team ( received favorable coverage from the New York Times in 2004.


Over the last few years, Hamilton has worked to greatly improve the academic and dorm facilities. Hamilton has an impressive library for a school of its size. The science building has recently undergone a multimillion dollar renovation, along with the creating a new building for the Computer Science department. The art department has separate studios for each of the studio arts taught, which are well regarded by the student's majoring in those departments. In addition to the standard fields for soccer, football, etc., Hamilton's athletic facilities include an ice rink, swimming pool, several athletics fields, a golf course, all of which are open to use by the student body.

Campus Speakers

Hamilton hosts many different speakers on many different subjects. While the college has often had a diverse collection of speakers on many different topics, this has not been without controvsy.

Early in 2005, the college received national media attention in the United States when a scheduled appearance by Professor Ward Churchill was cancelled after the college received threats of violence protesting his speech. In an essay written in 2001, Churchill compared some victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks attacks to "Little Eichmanns," referring to Hitler's genocide architect Adolf Eichmann. FOX News televison personality Bill O'Reilly devoted time during several broadcasts to voicing his disapproval of the College giving Churchill an opportunity to speak. O'Reilly providing his viewers with the College's email addresses and phone numbers, asking them to contact the College and let them know what he thought of the proposed lecture. The proposed talk and subsequent cancellation caused a great deal of upheaval from both inside and out of the college community. Much of this upheval stemmed from numerous, credible threats of violence to Mr. Churchill, college administrators, and Hamilton students from outside of the college. Many of these threats were from viewers of the O'Reilly Factor. While most people voiced disapproval of Churchill's statements, many were concerned about placing limits on acedemic freedom and censoring speech.

The Sacerdote Series Great Names at Hamilton

Starting in 1996 the Sacerdote Series Great Names at Hamilton has brought some of the most sought after speakers to campus for presentations. While most of these have been in the form of speeches, they have also included a concert by B. B. King.

To-date the speakers that have been part of this series are:

Famous Alumni

Notable alumni of Hamilton College include:

College Trivia

  • The relatively obscure 1969 film The Sterile Cuckoo (which starred a young Liza Minnelli) was based up the novel of the same name written by Hamilton alum John Nichols. A fictionalized version of Hamilton was the location of most of the plot action in The Sterile Cuckoo and portions of the film were shot on the Hamilton Campus.
  • Also, Alex Haley was a professor at Hamilton for a breif period immeadately before he wrote Roots. Though he was not an active faculty member when he wrote Roots, Haley was living in the Village of Clinton when he wrote most of Roots.


General Information:
Percentage Male:49%
Percentage Female:51%
Average Entering Class Size:475
Applicants for class of 2007:4,405
Acceptance Rate:35%
Applicants for class of 2008:4,444
Acceptance Rate:34%
SAT Scores:
-75th percentile:1430
-25th percentile:1310
Ethnic Diversity:
Native American1%
Asian/Pacific Islander6%

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