Hamilton’s Promise
“Study what you love.
Be who you are.
Find your future.”
“There is no one Hamilton student just as there is no one Hamilton experience, but the promise we make to all our students is the same: At Hamilton, you can study what interests you, be accepted for who you are and what you believe, and prepare to be the person you were meant to become.”

The College

Hamilton College is a pre-eminent co-educational, residential, liberal arts college of approximately 1,850 students located in the village of Clinton, New York, in the beautiful Mohawk Valley. Over the last 50 years, Hamilton’s strategic choices have propelled it into the first rank of liberal arts colleges, forging a distinctive and vital identity from its long history. The College takes seriously its motto “Know Thyself.” It offers students what few places do: the promise of discovery and the rare opportunity to become the architects of their own intellectual development in an open curriculum. Hamilton asks students to ally their passion to their curiosity and to make learning a lifelong pursuit. It appeals to a diverse, strong, intellectually motivated, and increasingly self-directed student body. It attracts a faculty of vibrantly engaged scholars who are enthusiastically committed to teaching. And Hamilton has built a remarkable array of facilities and programs that sustain one of the broadest ranges of intellectual and artistic inquiry available on a small liberal arts college campus.

Originally founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, Hamilton College received its charter from the regents of the State University of New York in 1812. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the College built out a classic, restrained, and beautiful campus which endures to this day. The College remained small, 800 students and all male, with a powerful teaching tradition and an emphasis on both written and oral communication.

Starting in the late 1960s, Hamilton took a series of bold steps that forged its modern identity. In 1968, all-male Hamilton created Kirkland College, an independent women’s college physically adjacent to Hamilton’s existing campus. Kirkland complemented Hamilton; in addition to being an all-women’s college, its curriculum was more experimental, its buildings were modern, its emphasis was on the fine and performing arts, and it stressed creativity, self-direction, and interdisciplinary learning. Kirkland struggled financially, and in 1978, in an increasingly co-educational world, the trustees of both colleges united the two. The merger took time and generated conflict, but the cultural fusion generated a long, slow evolution and Hamilton’s singular identity. The unified Hamilton, currently slightly more than 50 percent women, retains its teaching commitment as well as a distinctive culture that blends the traditions of both institutions. Over the years, Hamilton has built on these distinctive cultures with an enhanced physical plant, updated curriculum, and renewed emphasis on integrating experiential learning to create a transformational educational experience for students.

Hamilton is a founding member of the Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference, an affiliation defining not only athletic competition, but also a group of small, liberal arts colleges that are similar in status and mission, and in agreement that athletics should be integrated and in synch with the academic program. Others in the conference include: Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Connecticut College, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan, and Williams.

In 1995, the board of trustees adopted a new residential life plan, closing the fraternity houses that had become incompatible with the College’s new co-educational culture. While students are permitted to organize single-sex non-residential Greek organizations, the former private fraternity houses are now integrated into the Hamilton campus, serving as student residence halls, a student center, and administrative offices.

During the past decade, the College has invested nearly $250 million in its physical plant, including major new facilities for the sciences, social sciences, and the arts. Most of the investment involved renovating and expanding existing facilities, although the newest facilities—the Wellin Museum of Art and the Kennedy Center for Theatre and the Studio Arts—are the first two completely new facilities erected on the campus since the Burke Library was built in 1972. These new and renovated facilities were planned and designed by trustee, faculty, student, and administrative committees and have helped to power the expanding breadth of Hamilton interests.

The College is distinguished by an outstanding faculty and exceptionally able administrators dedicated to student learning, scholarship, interdisciplinary learning, and innovative academic programs. Students and alumni speak with deep and genuine affection for Hamilton, particularly about the close, meaningful relationships and collaborations they have with academic advisors and faculty members.

Hamilton has 20,000 alumni, many of whom are leaders in the public and private sector. Notable alumni include U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, civil rights pioneers Bob Moses and Mary Bonauto, Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley, Hollywood producer and financier Thomas Tull, playwright Thomas Meehan, award-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie, the poet Ezra Pound, former Solicitor General Drew S. Days III, and Nobel laureate Paul Greengard. Alumni remain engaged with the College, returning to campus for reunions and special events, volunteering to assist students seeking career-related experience, and supporting the College financially. Nearly half of all alumni contribute to the Annual Fund, placing Hamilton among the top one percent for alumni loyalty among all colleges and universities in America. Their support is essential to the College’s financial stability. Today, the endowment and planned gifts total approximately $924 million, and Moody’s has given Hamilton College a healthy Aa2 rating.

Already recognized for its rigorous academic expectations and a strong liberal arts tradition, the College in 2000 adopted an open curriculum that replaced distribution requirements with a renewed emphasis on student responsibility for their educational choices, while continuing the College’s traditional emphases on excellence in written and oral communication. In recent years the faculty moved to further strengthen the advising system to better support the open curriculum, and in 2011 voted to approve a sophisticated set of eight educational goals that guide the development of both pedagogy and the curriculum. Those goals are: intellectual curiosity and flexibility; analytic discernment; aesthetic discernment; disciplinary practice; creativity; communication and expression; understanding of cultural diversity; and ethical, informed, and engaged citizenship. Hamilton also offers an array of exceptional domestic off-campus study programs in Washington DC and New York City, and various pioneering study abroad programs in France, Spain and China.

Hamilton prides itself on being a school of opportunity and has for many years met the full demonstrated financial need of every student it admits. With extraordinary trustee support and leadership, Hamilton took a bold step in 2007 and eliminated merit scholarships, and three years later, notwithstanding a 25 percent drop in its endowment, Hamilton became need-blind in its admissions decisions. The quality of the student body, which had steadily improved over the past two decades, received an additional boost after these decisions and following the move to the open curriculum. Overall, selectivity has increased, with the acceptance rate improving from more than 50 percent in the mid-1990s to 25 percent today, while the number of diverse students on campus has more than doubled. Both class rank and standardized test scores have moved up dramatically, with the average SAT score now just below 1400 (critical reading and math combined), and an average ACT composite score of 32.

In two generations, Hamilton has created, out of the heritage of the liberal arts, a socially and intellectually diverse college community. It reaches across the full range of disciplines, with the facilities and faculty to sustain exploration and discovery across the spectrum. The College appeals to a talented student body eager to direct their own learning and to faculty eager to teach motivated students who appreciate their scholarship. It offers to students the opportunity to build critical thinking skills, to learn the arts of expression, and to gain the intellectual power and the mastery required in a creative and sophisticated adult.

Over the course of its long and distinguished history, the Hamilton community has used its commitment to intellectual rigor, social equity, and civic responsibility to meet the challenges presented by each generation. Today’s challenges are substantial and call for exceptional leadership. The liberal arts landscape is evolving as new technology emerges, the cost structure for higher education changes, and globalization alters the world in which Hamilton exists. The College enters this period of profound challenge in higher education stronger and better prepared than at any time in its history.

The College seeks a president who can skillfully navigate this new terrain while embracing Hamilton’s ethos, building on its accomplishments, and offering an even greater promise to the next generation of Hamilton faculty, staff, and students.

The Essential Facts About Hamilton

Hamilton Teaching and Hamilton Learning

Hamilton was known at the turn of the 20th century for emphasizing written and oral communication. Rhetoric was a prime part of the curriculum, written expression counted, and all students gave a speech in the Chapel. Over time, the College has continued to reinforce and build upon its emphasis on critical thought and elegant expression.

Hamilton’s faculty recently adopted a fully articulated set of learning objectives. There are rigorous, well regarded centers for writing, oral communication, and quantitative and symbolic reasoning that both mentor students and are home to pedagogical innovation. A new program exclusively for first-year students, passed by the faculty in 2014, offers writing intensive and quantitative reasoning courses that are intentionally built across the curriculum. A senior year program, now well established, requires independent, carefully advised work that demonstrates mastery in the student’s concentration and that unites student and faculty scholarship.

Today, nearly two-thirds of Hamilton students spend at least one semester studying off campus. This number has grown significantly in the past decade. The College sponsors highly regarded programs in France, Spain, China, Washington, and New York and is launching a program in the Adirondacks in Fall 2015. Hamilton is part of a consortium for study in India and maintains an extensive list of other approved programs. Traditionally, off-campus study was coordinated by the dean of students office, but the administration recently hired a new director to run the program from within academic affairs in order to link it more closely to the curriculum.

Traditionally, Hamilton tended to organize itself by departments, some large, some very small, and many traditional. In recent years new programming allied to new facilities has brought together faculty in cross-departmental efforts that galvanize both faculty and student research, invent experiential opportunity, and inspire improved teaching.

The creation of new spaces for teaching and learning is the result of a deliberate and comprehensive process that seeks to match facilities with existing and emerging pedagogy. The 200,000-square-foot Taylor Science Center, built in 2005, has increased opportunities for undergraduate science education and research that often lead to student-published papers and posters. The building has an open floor plan that invites observation, engagement, and experimentation. Hamilton students work on research much as graduate students do at research universities. Last summer, 109 Hamilton students conducted funded research on campus in the sciences and 78 students participated in funded, on-campus humanities and social science research.

As previously noted, the Wellin Museum of Art (2012) and the Kennedy Center for Theatre and the Studio Arts (2014) have reinvigorated the visual and performing arts on campus. In 2009, the recently renovated and expanded Kirner-Johnson Building provided new facilities for the College’s social science departments and included space for Hamilton’s signature programs in writing (the Nesbitt-Johnson Writing Center), oral communication (the Oral Communication Center), and public policy (the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center). A variety of new academic initiatives (including a digital humanities program funded by the Mellon Foundation) and a broader focus on the humanities in general are showing interdisciplinary promise and have led to a wider range of experiential learning opportunities for students.

Students at Hamilton are strongly encouraged to take charge of their learning, to step out of their comfort zones, to invest energy and passion in their work, and to build the critical thinking and communication skills that are essential to a mature intellect. A motivated student body has responded to faculty commitment, new facilities, and rich programming with increasingly inspired work.


Hamilton has the equivalent of 190 full-time faculty members, of whom 120 are tenured, giving it a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. Like many colleges, it has a large number of professors nearing retirement in the next five to ten years.

Hamilton targets faculty salaries to be in the middle of an attractive group of peer institutions and has steadily invested in this area over the last decade. Faculty salaries are competitive in a geography that offers a very modest cost of living and fine schools for those with families. Most faculty live nearby, either in Clinton or in neighboring communities.

Facilities for teaching and research have been upgraded steadily, and the College provides generous support for travel, collaborative research with students, faculty research, and attendance at conferences. The combined effort creates a strong response to faculty recruitment efforts.

Though Colgate University, Syracuse University, Utica College, and SUNY Institute of Technology are all within commuting distance, Hamilton’s size and rural location can be challenges for dual-academic families, and it is sometimes difficult to recruit and retain a more diverse faculty to the region.

Teaching comes first at Hamilton, but the College expects a strong scholarly effort from all faculty; research and scholarly work are deeply engrained in the faculty culture. Faculty members also share a powerful commitment to the College and their students, providing them with mentoring, research opportunities, and effective academic advising. On Saturdays during student recruiting season, up to five professors from different disciplines volunteer to attend admission open house events. This volunteer turn-out is a testimony not just to faculty passion for recruiting the best students to Hamilton, but also to their appreciation of the incredibly effective work of the Admission Office.


From its founding generations, Hamilton has inherited a welcoming community. Visitors feel it immediately when they set foot on campus. The College operates like a small city on the hill but has the feel of a close community. Nearly everyone at Hamilton—students, faculty, and staff—would describe the campus community as welcoming and unpretentious.

Hamilton has a socially and intellectually diverse campus life, a product of the slow fusion of the Kirkland and Hamilton cultures. It has evolved in decisive steps: some organic and persistent, some dramatic. But the result is a student body with a broad spectrum of interests. The community retains a cheerful and engaging quality with an increasingly rich array of academic, athletic, artistic, and co-curricular activities.

As a member of NESCAC, the College encourages participation in athletics, and roughly one-third of its students are varsity scholar-athletes, excelling both in the classroom and on the field. The 2015 valedictorian for example, was a member of the men’s varsity hockey team. Driven by trustee interest and support, for the first time in 2011 all 29 varsity sports teams at Hamilton competed in NESCAC. Over the coming years Hamilton expects to invest additional time, attention, and money in its athletic program to further increase competitiveness.

There are more than 200 organizations and clubs for students focused on community service, culture, music, athletics, politics, religion, and social activities. Most students at the College tend to become involved in multiple activities outside their classes. Academic departments and student organizations sponsor speakers and programs on a regular basis. In 2011, the College established the Days-Massolo Center, a vibrant, multicultural center to further support student engagement and success around issues of difference.

The demographic composition of Hamilton’s student body continued to change when the College went need-blind in 2010. Today, approximately half of the student body receives need-based financial aid and the average award is approximately $41,300. In 2014-15, 17 percent of first-year students received Pell Grants.

In addition to socioeconomic diversity, every other demographic has changed as well. Women now comprise slightly more than 50 percent of the College’s students. More than one quarter of the student body consists of U.S. students of color or international citizens, and Hamilton enrolls students from 45 states and 47 countries. Approximately 15 percent of each entering class are first generation college students.

Effective with the start of the 2015-16 academic year, all Hamilton students will live on campus. The College has 27 different residence options on campus, ranging from small houses to apartments and large residence halls; the average residence hall houses 60 students.

Aligned with Hamilton’s commitment to a self-directed education, the College has created a largely self-governing community. There are student, faculty, and staff assemblies each serving consequential roles.

Hamilton students feel a strong sense of community and express a love for the College and for the activities and relationships that it fosters. The average first-year retention rate is currently 95 percent and the six-year graduation rate is 91 percent. Last year, 98 percent of the senior class contributed to the class gift.

Hamilton alumni are committed to supporting current students and other alumni in their quest for meaningful pursuits after college. Many work closely with the Maurice Horowitch Career and Life Outcomes Center to assist students in determining career goals and accessing internships and other career-related opportunities off campus. The Hamilton connection remains strong long after graduation with a number of alumni returning to campus as Hamilton parents.

Board Governance

The College is governed by a board of trustees with an authorized maximum number of 36 trustees, including the president of the College who serves ex-officio. Under the by-laws, 24 (charter) trustees are elected by the board, and 12 alumni trustees are elected by the Alumni Council. Charter trustees serve six-year terms and may be re-elected. Alumni trustees have single four-year terms. The board holds regular meetings four times annually. In addition to charter and alumni trustees, members who have spent more than seven years on the board are eligible to be elected as life trustees and can remain active as voting members on committees, though without voting privileges on the full board.


Hamilton sits on a hill overlooking the village of Clinton. The campus consists of the original Hamilton campus and the Kirkland campus built in the late 1960s. The former is made up of architecturally consistent stone and brick buildings, laid out in classical terms. The original Kirkland campus is composed of 1960s-era architecture but the newer and recently renovated buildings have open spaces and glass and steel exteriors that are consistent with the original design but are more accessible and inviting.

As noted earlier, in the last ten years the College, largely funded by alumni and parent donors, has invested about $250 million in new construction, renovations, and landscaping improvements. The campus has grown from 1.5 million to 2 million square feet, and 60 percent of the original campus buildings have been completely renovated. Academic space has been greatly expanded and upgraded with technology and scientific equipment. These new structures were painstakingly sited and designed to conform to the existing architecture and to avoid overwhelming the historic charm of the campus. Among the more recent developments are the state-of-the-art Taylor Science Center, the largest construction project in the College’s history when it opened in 2005; the Charlean and Wayland Blood Fitness and Dance Center that opened in 2006; major expansion and renovation of the Kirner-Johnson Building in 2009; and the Sadove Student Center at Emerson Hall in 2010. In 2012, the College opened the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, an exhibition space and a teaching laboratory for the arts, and the Kennedy Center for Theatre and the Studio Arts followed in 2014. Looking to the future Hamilton will invest $5 million a year in renewals and renovations to maintain its physical plant, sums that are built into the base budget. In addition, the College has been discussing large building and renovation projects for the humanities and athletics, though neither project will match the range and cost of the work of the last decade.

President Stewart was a signatory of the American College and University Climate Commitment in 2007, and Hamilton is implementing the climate action plan that it developed at that time. The College is committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 and has made significant strides in that direction even while adding new facilities.

College Finances

Hamilton’s fiscal-year-ending June 30, 2014 financial statements report total revenue of $127.8 million after discounting tuition by $32.5 million. Total revenues grew 3.5 percent before the tuition discount.

Tuition will rise 3.5 percent in FY15-16 to $49,010 plus room, board, and fees of $13,060, resulting in a net increase in revenue of 1.4 percent after accounting for increases in financial aid. The College is fully aware that family incomes in the U.S. rose only one percent last year, adjusted for inflation.

Hamilton’s endowment has been exceptionally well managed for an extended period of time. As the endowment approaches $1 billion, the investment committee has made the decision to increase the size of Hamilton’s investment office and move its location to New York City.

As of December 31, 2014, the endowment and planned gifts stood at $924 million. The College’s endowment is often listed among the top 150 of all 3,200 non-profit colleges and universities in the United States; Hamilton’s endowment-per-student often places it even higher.

The endowment generated a return of 24.1 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, compared with the mean return of 15.5 percent for all 832 colleges and universities that participate in the NACUBO survey. As of June 30, 2014, the three-, five-, and ten-year annualized returns for Hamilton’s endowment were 11.9 percent, 14.9 percent, and 8.6 percent, respectively.

From 2003 to 2014, the term of the current president, which includes the recession that began in 2008, the endowment and planned gifts grew from approximately $456 million to $924 million.

Development and Alumni Support

Because its base of 20,000 alumni is somewhat smaller than peers that had larger student bodies earlier in their history, Hamilton faces a greater funding challenge. Fortunately, its alumni are an unusually generous and successful group. Today 50 percent contribute annually, and nearly 75 percent donate in any given three-year period, ranking the College in the top one percent of alumni loyalty in the U.S. as measured by the percentage of alumni donors. In 2014, Hamilton received nearly $24 million in private gifts.

The last capital campaign, Bicentennial Initiatives, which concluded in 2013, was targeted at $117 million and raised $133 million primarily for three College priorities: endowing student scholarships to fulfill Hamilton’s need-blind promise, constructing arts facilities to unlock the imaginations of students and professors, and ensuring Hamilton’s margin of excellence through the Annual Fund. In President Stewart’s final year in office, fundraising initiatives will focus on financial aid and continuing to build the endowment.


Hamilton has a student body of approximately 1,850. Applications have topped 5,000 for the past several years, including a record 5,434 for the Class of 2019. Selectivity and yield have both increased steadily, with the current admit rate of 25 percent being the lowest on record. The College seeks to enroll approximately 475 fall and 35 spring first-year students annually, as well as about 20 transfer students each year.

Although the primary criteria for admission are academic achievement and intellectual potential, Hamilton also values leadership and commitment to extracurricular and community activities. In forming each class, the admission staff seeks students representing diverse geographic, economic, and ethnic backgrounds whose perspectives will enrich the learning community on campus. Hamilton requires standardized testing as part of the application process but provides students with a variety of ways to meet that requirement, including SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, AP, or IB exams.

Hamilton has become much more geographically diverse in recent years. While 28 percent of the Class of 2018 came from the College’s home state of New York, the class as a whole came from 32 states and 20 countries, and attended 371 different high schools (61 percent public). In recent years, California has been the third most represented state in the applicant pool and among the top five for admits and enrollees, with Florida close behind.

Financial Aid

Hamilton has a well-earned reputation as a “school of opportunity” and is committed to ensuring that all students can afford to attend the College. Hamilton meets the full demonstrated financial need of every student it admits and is need-blind in its admission decisions for U.S. citizens. In 2014-15 approximately half of the College’s students received more than $34 million in need-based financial aid with an average financial aid award of $41,300 and an average Hamilton College Scholarship of $37,500. The indebtedness of graduating seniors is significantly below the national average and has ranged between $17,000 and $20,000 in recent years.

Challenges and Opportunities

Joan Hinde Stewart became president of Hamilton College in 2003 and has presided over a period of tremendous growth at Hamilton. The physical plant has undergone a massive reinvestment, highlighted by the opening of new and renovated spaces for the sciences, social sciences, arts, and fitness and recreation; the entering classes are setting records for quality, selectivity, and diversity; and the two capital campaigns that Stewart helped launch after becoming president exceeded their goals with an emphasis on facilities and student scholarship aid. Under her direction, the College has implemented a strategic plan that advances four defining values rooted in Hamilton’s historic strengths: education for self-direction, a self-governing community, thoughtful dialogue and debate, and engagement with the world.

The next president of Hamilton College will have an uncommon opportunity to lead a strong college with even higher aspirations at a time of considerable change and challenge. As this document makes clear, the College is strong academically and sound financially. The College has a dedicated and outstanding faculty, a skilled and able leadership team, and a profoundly committed staff. Its facilities and systems are superbly maintained and highly functional, and it has an engaged, energetic campus culture. It is a community deeply committed to addressing the challenges of environmental stewardship. The College is privileged to have as its guide dedicated trustees who understand that it faces great challenges, both existing and emerging, that pose threats to even the strongest of colleges.

The board is looking for a president who is passionately committed to the liberal arts residential college model and deeply engaged with its contemporary challenges. The trustees seek a person who is energized by the opportunity to build on Hamilton’s extraordinary accomplishments and continue its upward trajectory. Above all else, the next president must guarantee that the College remains focused on ensuring that Hamilton graduates are well prepared for success in future endeavors with effective communication and critical thinking skills.

The specific challenges and opportunities are:

Lead the Hamilton Community in Creating a Bold Vision for the Future

The future of small liberal arts colleges will be different: Demographic changes will lead to campuses of greater diversity, technological developments will create new ways of learning and teaching, and advances in knowledge will require curricula that enfold new disciplinary and interdisciplinary work within the expansive landscape of the liberal arts.

Hamilton College is strongly positioned to be a leader in creating the liberal arts college of the future. With a strong endowment, a history of innovation, a community of dedicated teacher-scholars, and a proven leadership team, Hamilton is prepared to address the great challenges facing all college communities.

If Hamilton is to re-imagine the liberal arts residential campus for the future, its president must be willing to think boldly, ask probing questions, and take risks. All aspects of the College will need to be assessed from the physical plant to uses of technology and strategic partnerships. The president must invigorate dialogue about such issues as the cost of higher education and the role of on-line learning, the potential for resource sharing with peer institutions, the College’s environmental impact, future technology and infrastructure needs, and the further globalization of the campus and curriculum.

Creating a college that is academically, socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable for the long term will not be easy; it will require calling upon the wisdom of the entire community. The president must call forth that wisdom and mold it into a coherent and bold vision.

With a compelling vision in place, Hamilton’s president will partner with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other constituencies to further enhance the College’s curriculum, campus culture, and financial stability. The ultimate goal is to position Hamilton for continued future success in the rapidly evolving higher education landscape.

Maintain a Sustainable Financial Model

Hamilton enjoys a very strong financial standing, but it exists in a very competitive environment. Economic and demographic forecasts challenge all liberal arts colleges and suggest that stresses on finances will only build. Ensuring long-term sustainability will mean substantially increasing the endowment, addressing the cost structure, and securing and strengthening all current and future sources of revenue.

Through the generosity of its alumni and parents and the stewardship of its board and president, Hamilton has built a very strong endowment that keeps the College competitive. Hamilton’s next president must inspire alumni, parents, and friends, cultivate new donors, and deepen existing relationships to grow the endowment and support specific projects and campaigns. The president will be expected to share the Hamilton story and vision with new and existing donors through cultivation visits and meetings with individuals, corporations, and foundations. The president must also work with the board to continue its successful stewardship of endowed funds, while minimizing risk and managing debt.

The president also will be expected to maximize the use of all of Hamilton’s resources, to control costs wherever possible, and to find creative sources of revenue that grow directly from Hamilton’s inherent strengths and assets. Additionally, the president is expected to seek opportunities to collaborate with other institutions to leverage shared resources. As Hamilton builds toward the future, it will need excellent and creative work on its finances.

Build on the Strength of Hamilton’s Exceptional Liberal Arts Environment

Hamilton’s open curriculum allows students, under the careful guidance of a dedicated faculty, to direct their own intellectual development. It is a distinctive and appealing academic culture that attracts top students and inspires gifted scholars to join the Hamilton faculty.

Nurturing the learning environment and ensuring its ongoing rigor and relevance are fundamental to the continued strength and well-being of the College. The president must engage with faculty and staff in pursuing bold ideas and programs for maintaining the highest academic standards. The open curriculum rests on the foundation of careful and skilled advising. Student achievement attests to the strength of their advising, and the president, working with the dean, should place a high premium on maintaining and advancing the quality of advising.

In addition to academic advising, the College has recently assessed and invigorated all programs affiliated with student outcomes, including mentoring, expanding internship opportunities, building a formal alumni career network and establishing endowed funds to provide internship stipends. It is anticipated that within the next few years, every student will have had at least one career-related experience prior to graduating. The next president should continue to bring a strong dedication and focus to maintaining a rigorous, integrated, dynamic and broadly based career outcomes program.

Similarly, activities focused on athletics, civic engagement, and experiential learning support and enhance the classroom-based curriculum. Hamilton has invested tremendous energy in integrating in-class learning with out-of-class activities. Currently, a trustee-supported initiative is exploring opportunities to enhance students’ athletic experience by improving facilities, targeting recruiting, and supporting excellent coaching to improve outcomes and results. The next president should be prepared to focus on this area.

Support and Encourage Faculty in an Era of Renewal

The faculty ranks at Hamilton will be altered dramatically in the near future. The College expects that roughly one quarter of the current faculty will retire in the next five years; an additional 19 percent will retire in five to ten years. In 2015, the College will conduct 17 tenure-track faculty searches. Planning for faculty renewal has begun, and the president must ensure that a strong, vibrant faculty remains in the short- and long-term, giving the next president a critical opportunity to mold Hamilton’s future academic direction.

Since the hard work of creatively responding to an era defined by almost constant change rests on the shoulders of a thoughtful and dynamic professoriate, the president must engage the faculty in constructive dialogue about changes in technology, globalization and demographics, academic developments in new and interdisciplinary work, and internal commitments to exceptional pedagogy. The president must support faculty as they recruit and retain colleagues and diversify their ranks.

Academic rigor is set and maintained by faculty dedication to their teaching and scholarship. Presidential support, from careful attentiveness and appreciation through substantive resource development, boosts faculty efforts and is essential for success.

Deepen the Campus Culture and Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Hamilton has made thoughtful decisions about how to increase its diversity, and how to make the campus culture, inside and outside of the classroom, as welcoming and productive as possible for students of all backgrounds. This commitment is demonstrated by respectfully challenging and reimagining community norms and customs. Hamilton has noticeably increased the diversity of its students and staff in all areas, including race, gender, ethnicity, geography, and socioeconomic status. As the world shrinks, demographics change, and social customs evolve, the College must continue its active commitment to diversity and build a more open and inclusive learning community.

The president must bring an understanding of the ways in which diversity strengthens and deepens the education of Hamilton students and place a priority on initiatives to improve campus life for all members of the Hamilton community.

Ensure a Vibrant and Safe Campus Life

Hamilton grapples with student life issues in much the same way as many other colleges and universities. The College has invested in vibrant co-curricular activities, intramural, club and varsity athletics, and health and social services with new and varied programming.

Nevertheless, like his or her counterparts at peer colleges, the next president will need to address problematic student behaviors that require skilled and measured responses. The policies governing campus life should also create an environment that respects student individual expression and establishes community norms for safe behavior.

Increase Hamilton’s Visibility and Engagement beyond the Campus

If Hamilton is to reach its aspirations, its message must resonate with a broad audience of potential students, faculty, and donors. Public and private stakeholders must see the College as a lead advocate for the liberal arts. Hamilton has been relatively modest in its own proclamations of distinction, and it must do a better job of broadcasting its unique combination of traditional excellence and progressive innovation.

With its highly regarded international studies program, Hamilton is well positioned to build on its strong foundation, expand its presence internationally, and create new opportunities for learning, both domestically and abroad.

The president is the public voice for Hamilton College and must deliver a compelling message about the distinctive merits of Hamilton and its vision for liberal arts education.


Hamilton College seeks a bold, visionary president whose intellect and experience will inspire confidence in the Hamilton community. The Search Committee understands that no single candidate will have all the ideal qualifications, but it seeks candidates with many of the following qualities and characteristics:

  • A deep understanding of and commitment to the liberal arts and the undergraduate liberal arts college coupled with an appreciation of and enthusiasm for Hamilton.
  • An ability and desire to help lead the College in a discussion about the future of the liberal arts and undergraduate education in an evolving national context and an increasingly globalized society.
  • A history of recruiting, developing, and retaining a world-class faculty; a strong appreciation of the academic world, its scholarly values, and professional culture.
  • A record of successful administrative leadership, including oversight of senior leaders, and a record of effectively recruiting and retaining strong executives.
  • Recognized skill as a gifted communicator in diverse settings.
  • A capacity to connect with and relate to members of the Hamilton community on a personal level; an excellent listener who can build strong relationships and maintain open, accessible lines of communication with students, faculty, staff members, alumni, and parents.
  • A demonstrated ability to develop a strategic vision and the skill to execute that vision in a practical and inspiring way.
  • A talent to lead productive fundraising in an academic environment. An established background of fundraising success and campaign experience is highly desired.
  • A record of building and maintaining external relations and advancing an organization’s profile and reputation regionally, nationally, and internationally; the desire and ability to speak to the challenges facing higher education, especially the liberal arts, on a national and global platform.
  • Proven efficacy in working with a governing board, as a group and as individuals; experience in building and maintaining an engaged and supportive board.
  • A demonstrated respect for academic freedom and diverse opinions on key social and political questions of the day.
  • A deep engagement with and commitment to environmental stewardship.
  • Proven ability to build consensus and challenge the status quo to develop creative and innovative solutions.

To Apply

Hamilton has engaged Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist with this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed in confidence to the firm as directed below.

Please send CV with cover letter, or contact preferably by email, in strict confidence:

John Isaacson, Jane Gruenebaum, Keight Tucker Kennedy, or Jeff Kessner
Isaacson, Miller
1300 19th Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

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