Campus Life

Arts and Culture



The Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art joins traditional object-based learning with advances in interdisciplinary approaches. With its visible archive and open storage, the museum allows access to a collection of art and artifacts strong in American works on paper and including paintings and sculpture, Greek vases, Roman glass and Native American objects. Important collections include works related to Ezra Pound and the Vorticist movement and The Walter Beinecke, Jr. Collection of prints, drawings and paintings of the Lesser Antilles. The Wellin offers classroom space, a study center to facilitate access to and research of the collection, and a versatile exhibition space. 



The Dance Department produces one major concert in the spring and participates with the Music Department in a concert/performance for Family Weekend in the fall. In addition, the department presents student-choreographed works, usually as part of composition and choreography courses, and as part of the senior projects. Student-run dance organizations, including the Student Dance Alliance and the Dance Team, offer workshops and occasional performances.



In addition to the professional performing arts series, there are performances by faculty members, students, and student ensembles. The Department of Music sponsors master classes by visiting artists and lectures on music subjects by prominent scholars. The department also runs a program for private study in a variety of instruments and voice. Most instruction on orchestral instruments is offered by members of the Syracuse Symphony. A fee is charged for such instruction, but students receiving financial aid may obtain assistance in meeting the cost. The Music Department also owns several African drum collections as well as a Javanese Gamelan, and it maintains a well-equipped studio for electronic music that surpasses such facilities at many larger colleges and universities.

The Hamilton College Choir continues a long tradition of choral excellence that dates back to its founding in 1867. Its annual spring concert tour has in recent years ranged as far west as Chicago and Milwaukee, as far north as Montreal, and as far south as Atlanta. The Choir also tours in Europe every four years. This ensemble of approximately 65 singers also produces a musical or operetta each year. Open to all students by audition during Orientation Week. Full-year participation is required.

The Hamilton College Orchestra, made up of 50 to 60 Hamilton College students and community members, performs in Wellin Hall four times a year. Its repertory includes the masterpieces of the orchestral literature as well as contemporary compositions. The orchestra has recently performed works of Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorák, Tchaikovsky, Copland, Debussy, Mozart, Ravel, Sibelius and Stravinsky, and regularly commissions and premieres new works for orchestra. On occasion an advanced student performer will be featured as concerto soloist with the orchestra. Open to all students by audition during Orientation Week and the first two days of classes during both Fall and Spring terms.

The College Hill Singers is a chamber vocal ensemble drawn from the College Choir. Its repertoire ranges from Renaissance madrigals to Brahms part-songs to contemporary works.

The Chamber Music Program is an extension of the orchestral program, providing additional opportunities for members of the orchestra to study and perform, as well as giving ensemble experience and training to less advanced students who are not yet ready for orchestra. In addition to formal concerts and more informal appearances on campus, the chamber ensembles perform frequently at churches and charity events in the region. Auditions are held concurrently with orchestra auditions during Orientation week each term.

The Hamilton Jazz Ensemble is a full big band with five saxes, four trombones, four trumpets and four rhythm section players. The music covers the style periods from the mid 1930s to the present. A seven-piece combo, composed of members from the Jazz Ensemble, performs as well. Auditions are held on Tuesday during the first week of classes each fall.

Hamilton College and Community Oratorio Society, which numbers approximately 135 singers, performs major choral works with orchestra each semester. The society is open to all members of the community without audition. Interested singers may join by attending the first rehearsal of the term.

The Buffers, Special K, Tumbling After, and the Hamiltones are Hamilton's student-run a cappella performance groups. All male, all female, or coeducational, each group draws from varied repertories ranging from traditional barbershop quartet melodies to contemporary music, and each mixes musical skill with humor to entertain audiences both at Hamilton and on tour. Auditions are held by announcement.

The College also houses the Fillius Jazz Archive that includes more than 200 interviews with great jazz artists and several vintage jazz recordings. The archive has sponsored residencies by such artists as Milt Hinton, Byron Stripling, Joe Wilder, Clark Terry, Bobby Watson and Jane Ira Bloom.

Other concerts on campus are offered by the Campus Activities Board. The Office of Multicultural Affairs as well as a variety of student organizations also sponsor concerts from time to time.



The Theatre Department produces two major theatrical productions each year in historic Minor Theater. In addition, the department regularly produces student-directed shows, usually as part of the senior projects, as well as several class workshop presentations and guest artist workshops. Auditions for departmental productions are open to all students and are held early each semester. Audition notices are posted on campus and on e-mail. Technical and managerial positions are also available. 

The student-run theatrical group Untitled-at-Large produces student-directed musicals, plays and one-act productions. Audition notices are posted on campus. There are also two student improvisational theatre groups.


Performing Arts

Hamilton sponsors two professional performing arts series: Classical Connections and Contemporary Voices and Visions.


Lectures and Performances

Numerous lectures and live performances are provided during the year for the Hamilton community from the income of endowments established for those purposes and augmented by general College funds.

The Lee H. Bristol, Jr. Endowment for the Performing Arts was established in memory of Lee H. Bristol, Jr., Class of 1945, to bring performing artists to the College.

The William M. Bristol, Jr. Distinguished Visitors Program, established through the bequest of William M. Bristol, Jr., Class of 1917, supports lectures, performances and other special events held in connection with several-day visits by high-profile experts in various fields.

The Richard P. Butrick Lecture Fund was established by the Honorable Richard P. Butrick, a retired diplomat, to support an annual lecture or lectures.

The Classical Dance Residency Fund underwrites up to three classical dance artists-in-residence each semester in support of Hamilton's Dance and Movement Studies Department.

The Class of 1940 Cultural Endowment was established on the occasion of the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1940 to support a major cultural event to be held annually at the College, preferably in the Hans H. Schambach Center for Music and the Performing Arts.

The Class of 1949 Performance and Lecture Fund was established on the occasion of the 40th Reunion of the Class of 1949 to support major performances or lectures to be held in the Hans H. Schambach Center for Music and the Performing Arts.

The Peter D. Constable Lecture Fund was established in 2001 in honor of former Ambassador Peter D. Constable, Class of 1953, to support an annual lecture in international relations.

The Continental Group American Economy Lecture Series was established in 1980 by the Continental Can Company to provide lectures dealing with the American economy.

The David Maldwyn Ellis Lecture Fund was established by Robert B. Carson, Class of 1956, in honor of David Maldwyn Ellis, Class of 1938 and professor emeritus of history, to support lectures on the topics of American history or American institutions.

The Great Names at Hamilton Lecture and Performance Fund was established to support one or more annual lectures or performances by individuals of national or international renown in any field.

The Doris M. and Ralph E. Hansmann Lecture Series was established in 1993 in honor of Mr. Hansmann, Class of 1940, and his wife, to support annual lectures in any field. Fields are designated on a three-year rotating basis.

The Terry Herrick Memorial Fund for Industrial Relations Study was established in 1981 by alumni and friends in memory of Horace Terhune Herrick, Jr., Class of 1942, to support lectures on subjects relating to labor, management and productivity.

The Victor S. "Torry" Johnson III '71 Lecture Fund was established in 1987 to bring to the campus alumni, public figures, scholars and others who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers and are recognized leaders in their fields to address a significant aspect of American life and thought.

The Edwin B. Lee Lecture Fund in Asian Studies was established in 1990 by former students and friends of Professor Lee to bring to the College each year a distinguished lecturer in the field of Asian studies.

The Arthur Levitt Endowment Fund was established by Arthur Levitt, Jr., father of Lauri Levitt Friedland, Class of 1981, in memory of Mr. Levitt's father, Arthur Levitt, Sr., to support lectures and other activities coordinated through the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center.

The Helen B. Longshore Memorial Endowment was established by Helen B. Longshore, a friend of the College, to support the College's music programs and activities.

The Meyer Student Performance and Activities Fund was established in 2003 by Eugene B. and Melissa Meyer in recognition of their son Nathaniel's rewarding experience at Hamilton as a member of the Class of 2001. The fund provides support for non-academic, co-curricular events and activities.

The John Ripley Myers Lecture Fund was established in 1912 by Mary H. Myers in memory of her son, John Ripley Myers, Class of 1887, to support annual lectures in areas not covered by the curriculum.

The James S. Plant Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series was established in 1987 through a bequest from Dr. Plant, Class of 1912 and an eminent child psychiatrist, to bring to the campus outstanding scientists as guest lecturers.

The James T. and Laura C. Rhind Arts Fund was established to bring to the campus fine arts performances or exhibitions with merit, with preference for the field of music.

The William Roehrick Lecture Fund was established in 1988 in honor of William G. Roehrick, Class of 1934, to support annual lectures by distinguished scholars in the fine arts.

The Root-Jessup Lecture Series, sponsored by the Root-Jessup Public Affairs Council, brings public figures to the campus to speak on issues of current nationwide interest.

The John B. Root '44 Exhibition Fund provides funding to support exhibitions at Hamilton's Wellin Museum of Art, as well as programming related to art exhibitions at the College.

The John Rybash Memorial Psychology Lecture Fund, established in memory of John Rybash, professor of psychology at Hamilton, is designed to support a lecture by a prominent speaker in the field of psychology.

The Sacerdote Family Lecture and Performance Fund was established by Mr. and Mrs. Peter M. Sacerdote, along with their son Alexander Sacerdote, Class of 1994, to support one or more Sacerdote Great Names Series at Hamilton programs each year. Annual lectures or performances will be given by individuals of national or international renown in any field.

The Reverend Alexander Thompson Memorial Lecture Fund was established through a bequest from Luranah H. Thompson in memory of her husband, the Reverend Alexander Thompson, Class of 1906, to support an annual lecture.

The Winton Tolles Lecture Series was established in 1991 by members of the Class of 1951 in memory of Winton Tolles, Class of 1928, and dean of the College from 1947 to 1972. It brings to the campus distinguished writers in the fields of literature, journalism and theatre to lecture and meet with students.

The Chauncey S. Truax Memorial Fund was established in 1956 by R. Hawley Truax, Class of 1909, in memory of his father, Chauncey S. Truax, Class of 1875, to bring to the College distinguished guest lecturers and visiting scholars in the field of philosophy.

The Arthur Coleman Tuggle Lecture Fund was established by Clyde C. Tuggle, Class of 1984, in memory of his father. This fund suppports lectures related to current ethical issues by preeminent individuals in the public policy arena.

The Winslow Lecture Fund was established through a bequest from William Copley Winslow, Class of 1862, to support lectures on classical archaeology.

The Frank H. Wood Memorial Lecture Fund was established by alumni and friends in memory of Frank Hoyt Wood, who was for many years a professor of political science at Hamilton, to support lectures in history, political science or matters of current general interest.