Happy 247th Birthday Alexander Hamilton
Secretary of Treasury Hamilton Was Trustee, Lent Name to Hamilton College
By Holly Foster 315-859-4068
January 11, 2002
Hamilton College was named for Alexander Hamilton (born January 11, 1755). Hamilton was originally founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, a school for the children of the Oneidas and of the white settlers, who were then streaming into central New York from New England. The idea for the school came from Samuel Kirkland, missionary to the Oneida Indians.
In 1793, Kirkland presented his plan for education to President George Washington who "expressed approbation" and to Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who consented to be a trustee of the new school, and to which he also lent his name. The Academy remained in existence for nearly 20 years. It faltered, almost failed, and never came to serve Samuel Kirkland's original purpose. In 1812, it was rechartered as Hamilton College, the third college chartered in New York (Columbia and Union are older). A statue of Hamilton stands in front of the College's landmark building, the Chapel.
The idea of the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) group originated in 1979 at Hamilton College, and today the acronym is used by colleges and universities across the country. It was, quite simply, an idea to help young alumni stay connected to their alma mater by catering to their special interests. In addition to social gatherings, such as the series of seven Alexander Hamilton Birthday parties across the country today, this age group is very volunteer-oriented. In fact, one fairly well-established GOLD program - GIVES (GOLD Involved in Volunteer Efforts) - has organized events such as tree plantings, clean-up days (in NY and Boston), wiring schools, and painting playgrounds in the various cities in which we have GOLD chapters.
Hamilton has organized groups in New York, Boston, Washington, San Francisco, Chicago, central New York and San Diego.