October 3, 2013
Alumni Weekend is largely seen as a time to rekindle friendships, as well as a chance to make career-launching connections. It is also, however, an opportunity to celebrate student accomplishments made possible by the generosity of Hamilton alumni.
At the Helen and Doane Comstock ’27 Memorial Scholarship Lunch last Friday, scholarship recipients broke bread with their alumni benefactors, swapping stories about their experiences on and off the Hill. Will Robertson ’14, the keynote student speaker, described a formula he called “the Beatles Ratio,” based on the band’s song “The End”: “The love you make should be equal to the love you take.” This ratio encapsulates the spirit of Alumni Weekend—one of the only weekends in the academic year when current Hamiltonians can show alumni the projects and opportunities their philanthropy has supported.
While a range of alumni-funded scholarships and grants were recognized at the Comstock Lunch—from the 1812 scholars to the GOLD scholars—The Spectator would particularly like to call attention to the alumni who were involved in the recent expansion of summer research grants and summer internship funding.
This past summer, over 50 students in the humanities and social sciences received Emerson Foundation and Levitt Center grants to work with faculty members on projects of their creation. In the hard sciences and mathematics, over 80 students accepted funding to complete hands-on, collaborative research. Hamilton additionally provided internship funding to dozens more students who had obtained minimally- or non-compensating career-related experiences in their fields of interest—such as interning with a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. or assisting an environmental non-profit in Massachusetts.
Only a few years ago, these kinds of summer opportunities were unrealistic for many Hamilton students to pursue. Thanks to the Career Center’s implementation of a funding program in 2005 and a strong fundraising effort by concerned alumni, there has never been a better time for Hamilton students to embark on productive, exciting summers, without the weight of financial concerns.
That being said, The Spectator believes that even more can be done to improve career-related experiences for Hamilton students. While an increasing number of off-the-Hill summer internships are funded now, many legitimate requests are still rejected due to lack of funding. A goal should be set for all serious internship funding requests to be filled, as well as for further opportunities to be provided for students across all disciplines to partake in collaborative summer research. As Robertson’s “Beatles ratio” tells us, the more Hamilton students who are on the receiving end of donor generosity now, the more future Hamilton alumni there will be to pay that gift forward in the future.