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National Day on Writing

Of little value are your wisdom and discoveries if you cannot successfully express them and thus impress the public and render a social service. Never let Hamilton’s emphasis on composition and delivery be lessened.

— Archibald L. Love, Class of 1876, in his 1926 Half-Century Annalist letter

 

Expressing yourself clearly and effectively is the single most important tool you can develop, and it carries with you through your life. Today, I’m in the business of communicating at one of the most highly respected communications companies, and what got me here didn’t come from Columbia Business School. It came from Hamilton.

— Barry Seaman ’67, former Time magazine correspondent, in a 1997 interview

 

Hamilton’s writing-intensive curriculum and my experience in the Writing Center have been invaluable to me in my professional career. Although I arrived at Hamilton with a general understanding of how to formulate an analytical argument, I truly learned how to write at Hamilton.

— Bethany Baker Booth ’98, former Writing Center tutor, in a 2007 Alumni Review article celebrating the Writing Center’s 20th anniversary

 

Writing clearly is a prerequisite to being able to think clearly, which in turn is a prerequisite to almost everything else in the real world. One could not escape from Hamilton without mastering those skills.

— Gordon Boak ’64, in his class’ 40th Reunion Yearbook, 2004

 

The advice I give my clients is what I learned and shared every day in the Writing Center: A good idea is worthy of the time and effort required to communicate it effectively.

— Sean Ryan ’97, former Writing Center tutor, in a 2007 Alumni Review article celebrating the Writing Center’s 20th anniversary

 

I take it as my personal mission to make students better writers. You can actually see the progression over the course of a semester.

— Tara McKee, assistant professor of psychology, in a 2008 Alumni Review article “Teaching Moments and Lessons for Life”

 

Hamilton helped me learn how to think, to write, to speak and, most importantly, how to learn — the cornerstones of leadership.

— A.G. Lafley ’69, chairman, president and CEO, Procter & Gamble, in a 2007 interview

 

Writing is fundamental to learning. Most students read something from beginning to end, highlighting information along the way, but they aren’t really processing any of what they read until they analyze, discuss, summarize, synthesize and write.

— Barbara Tewksbury, professor of geosciences, in the 1997 New Century Campaign case statement

 

Though my career goals focus in science, specifically the study and practice of medicine, I have found the opportunity at Hamilton to explore other areas of academics. Principally, I have been able to develop and sharpen my writing abilities. Encouraging professors and phenomenal resources such as the Writing Center have made this progression possible.

— Benjamin Van Arnam ’09, in a 2007 thank-you note to his scholarship benefactor

 

Hamilton focused on speaking, writing and critical thinking. I do those every day. If you can do those three things, you can do almost anything.

— Bill Smith ’80, former general manager of the Minnesota Twins, from an article in the Utica Observer-Dispatch, Summer 2008

 

It’s hard to say how much of what I’ve become is rooted in my years at Hamilton. I know I carried away a respect for writing and clear communication. I think I also left with a confidence that I could do whatever I set out to do. I may not have ended up where I set out to go, but I kept my head getting there.

— Charles Bonenti ’67, in his class’ 25th Reunion Yearbook, 1992

 

I didn’t know if at the time, but I began my career in advertising in Ed Barrett’s freshman English comp class. He was caring but tough. In the beginning, my themes came back all marked up with his bright red JARGONs and BE CLEARERs and a big red “F” at the top. I gradually worked my way up through “Ds”, then “Cs” and, by the end of the year, to a gentlemanly “B.” Ed knew what he was doing. In that one year, he had taught me how to write.

— Don Spector ’57, in his class’ 50th Reunion Yearbook, 2007

 

A fortune cookie once told me: writing is a craft, not an art. I try to live by this fortune cookie's wisdom. I definitely don't view writing as a talent; my writing is full of practice, hard work, perseverance and diligence.

— Lauren Magaziner ’12, in a 2011 thank-you note to her scholarship benefactor

 

You would be surprised by the number of lawyers who still do not know how to construct paragraphs and arrive at logical conclusions in their writing. And don’t get me started about the endless e-mails that never arrive at the point. Undoubtedly, Hamilton’s emphasis on written communication has served me in great and small ways. No matter what kind of job you have, your ability to write a coherent argument is a skill that will serve you well.

— Doug Hsiao ’88, former Writing Center tutor, in a 2007 Alumni Review article celebrating the Writing Center’s 20th anniversary

 

As you develop your minds and your leadership skills at Hamilton College, you will concern yourselves with how you speak and how you write, whatever your major subject is. Respectful, engaging, grammatical and straightforward language will stand you in good stead in learning, communicating, leading, getting a job and making a difference in the world.

— President Joan Hinde Stewart, in her 2007 Convocation address

 

Simply put, Hamilton taught me to think analytically, to write effectively, and to speak with confidence in public. Those are the indispensable tools of my profession and, I think, key components of a productive life.

— Mark Evans ’64, in his class’ 40th Reunion Yearbook, 2004

 

…everything I did at Hamilton helped me hone my skills and reinforce my love of learning. To this day people ask me, "How did you get into management consulting?" My answer — at least to myself — is, "I can think and I can write."

— Matt Gurin ’88, in the 2003-04 Thanks (annual report on alumni support)

 

When you walked out of Hamilton, everyone knew you could think, write and speak, and, more importantly, that what you had to say was worth hearing.

— Sean Fitzpatrick ’63, in the 1997 New Century Campaign case statement

 

The ability to write and to speak well, to advance claims through evidence and storytelling, and to develop counterarguments considerate of the sentiments of others — this is and always has been the heart of a Hamilton education.

— Steve Phillips P’07, in the 2004 Excelsior campaign video

 

I’m an analyst, a planner and a writer. I learned all three at Hamilton. The breadth and depth of inquiry Hamilton encourages is part of the reason I’m interested in so many different areas, both in my business and personal life.

— Thomas Thompson ’73, in his class’ 25th Reunion Yearbook, 1998

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