Alumni Review Article: "The Many Paths to Spiritual Discovery"
A Summary of the Chaplaincy Program

Today’s students have options for exploring the religious and spiritual aspects of their lives, including a support system whose mission, as described by Newman Chaplain John Croghan, is to “help kids bounce this important information around and ask, ‘OK, how does this fit me?’” More...


"The Culture of the Heart"

Chaplaincy Mission Statement

Founder of Hamilton College, Rev. Samuel Kirkland, had a vision for an institution centered on an educational outreach to the Oneida Indians, an expression of his enduring connection to this community. Kirkland's vision included an ethical and spiritual dimension of appreciating diversity, and of educating the whole person, summing up his educational philosophy in this way: "the culture of the heart is to be considered as an important object in every part of education."

The chaplaincy exists to encourage:

  • all forms of religious and spiritual life which find expression at Hamilton College
  • the quest for meaning – including understandings of social justice – in the lives of all members of our community
  • opportunities for learning about ourselves and those different from ourselves both within and beyond our college community.

We seek to nourish the culture of the heart in our students – the meaning of our lives as individuals and as citizens of the world. We are committed to advance within our campus community our college’s mission statement, to “embrace difference,” as Rev. Kirkland did long ago, and “engage issues ethically and creatively.”

Current chaplaincy efforts to fulfill this mission includes offering:

  • worship services
  • spiritual music
  • study groups
  • observance of holy days
  • experiences of prayer and meditation and movement
  • interfaith engagement and opportunities to learn about spiritual practices and ideas different from your own
  • discussions and talks focused on the life of spirituality and moral concern
  • service projects
  • internships in spiritual vocation & information on graduate theological education

The chaplaincy also serves as a liaison to communities of faith in the surrounding area, and a resource for students whose spiritual needs extend beyond our campus. Chaplains are available for counseling with all members of the Hamilton community, in areas of bereavement, spiritual exploration, and other matters of personal growth. The chaplaincy also supports community outreach and the work of the COOP, Community Outreach & Opportunity Project at Hamilton College.

Guiding Principles

Religion is often seen as an experience which divides people into different, contentious groups. It is our belief that religious and spiritual traditions -- understood and practiced with integrity -- leads us toward unity and reconciliation.

Inclusivity is a goal and also a means to that goal for the chaplaincy. Embracing religious and spiritual diversity -- including those members of our community who consider themselves atheists, agnostics or with no particular spiritual orientation -- is essential to our mission. It is our desire to encourage each spiritual life community, to help connect it to the tradition from which it arose, and to help it breathe new life into its current campus expression. The chaplaincy is committed to reaching out to -- and including -- all people seeking answers to life's important questions, women and men of all sexual orientations, all races, socio-economic situations, ethnicities, abilities, ages, and all spiritual orientations or lack thereof.

We do not seek to collapse the differences that exist between us, but to recognize the profound learning opportunities that arise when we explore our differences with honesty and good will, and the sense of unity when we discover our common commitments to justice, equality, reconciliation, and peace.