Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Introduce Senate Resolution to Commemorate Bicentennial of Hamilton College in Clinton, NY

May 24, 2012

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a resolution to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Hamilton, ranked among the top liberal arts schools in the country, received its charter from the Regents of the University of the State of New York on May 26, 1812. Schumer and Gillibrand proposed a measure in the Senate to celebrate the college’s sustained commitment to its charter two centuries ago. The New York senators recognized the alumni, faculty and students of Hamilton for helping the United States to grow as a diplomatic and industrial world power. Hamilton, originally founded by Samuel Kirkland in 1793 and named after the first U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, is the third oldest college in New York State. 

“Over the course of 200 years, Hamilton College has stood as a beacon of higher education in the center of New York State,” said Schumer. “I am honored to commemorate the bicentennial of Hamilton’s charter, and to recognize the bright future of a school that has provided our country with thoughtful leaders and public servants at all levels of government. Today, I stand with Sen. Gillibrand to celebrate Hamilton’s steadfast example of excellence in education. Hamilton’s success illustrates why the United States is the best place in the world to go to college. Hamilton has helped New York State lead the charge in innovative higher education.” 

“For two centuries, Hamilton College has firmly established its place as one of New York and America’s leading universities,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Whether it’s discovering the next major scientific breakthrough, or producing leaders in business, and strong, dedicated public servants, Hamilton College is providing students with a powerful education, equipping them with knowledge and skills that can take them anywhere, and lead our country forward.” 

Schumer and Gillibrand proposed a resolution to commemorate the 200 years since the Regents of the University of the State of New York awarded Hamilton College its charter on May 26, 1812. Hamilton, which by then offered a four-year college curriculum, was chartered “for the instruction and education of youth, in the learned languages and liberal arts and sciences.” 

In the measure, Schumer and Gillibrand highlight that Hamilton College was founded in 1793, three months before construction of the U.S. Capitol building commenced. That summer, Reverend Samuel Kirkland founded Hamilton-Oneida Academy as a seminary for European-American and Oneida Indian boys as part of his missionary work. Rev. Kirkland named the school after Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, who served on the board of trustees. 

Schumer and Gillibrand lauded the all-male Hamilton College’s merger with the all-female Kirkland College in 1978. Both New York senators wrote in their commemoration that Hamilton expanded as “one coeducational institution of higher learning dedicated to academic freedom and the unfettered pursuit of truth.” 

Hamilton College’s alumni include U.S. Vice President James Sherman (1878), U.S. Secretary of State Elihu Root (1864), poet Ezra Pound (1905), the current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (1972), in addition to Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Hamilton alumni have served in both houses of Congress, the U.S. district and appellate courts, various Presidential Cabinet and diplomatic posts. Hamilton graduates have also served as governors and as state, county and local officials. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont served on Hamilton College’s faculty. Today, Hamilton College educates 1,812 students from 49 states and 37 countries.