April 26, 2012
On Monday, Hamilton sent a message in a bottle to the future. The 2112 time capsule was completed and officially sealed, not to be re-opened until the Hamilton College tercentennial. Previous classes created time capsules “for their own memories,” Emerson Gallery Director Susanna White observed. “This one is dedicated to the community as a whole.”
“We were interested in building a sense of Hamilton not as an isolated unit but as a part of the world as a whole,” said Professor Frank Sciacca. Similarly, President Stewart noted that this most recent time capsule provides “a very expansive view of Hamilton in the world.” President Stewart, along with Dean of Faculty Patrick Reynolds, Student Assembly President Rachel Bristol ’13 and S.A. Vice President Tara Huggins ’14 all addressed personal letters to the Class of 2112.
President Stewart opened her letter with a slew of statistics, describing current Hamilton enrollment, acceptance rates, annual budget, current construction projects and many more events happening on campus. Stewart also warned that “these are perilous times for higher education” but expressed confidence that “Hamilton is situated to remain strong in this challenging environment and flourish well beyond the tercentennial.”
Dean Reynolds opened his letter expressing his “great, if posthumous, pleasure to address the Class of 2112.”
Reynolds posed several questions to the future Hamilton generations, wondering aloud if things we take for granted, such as academic journals, tenure, new media and summer vacation, will still exist in a hundred years. Dean Reynolds declared that the students and faculty today “have never been stronger” and praised the “breadth that a liberal arts curriculum allows,” imploring the Class of 2112 to continue that tradition.
The audience then witnessed an oboe composition entitled “Lament on Paradise Lost,” performed by a member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and accompanied by a video by Lauren Koss ’00. Composer Professor Sam Pellman expressed an environmental message in the piece, and commented that “future generations will certainly have formed a judgment” on the current environmental practices. A specialist in computer music, Pellman expressed his belief that an oboe would be a more accessible medium for future generations than rapidly changing technological mediums.
Rachel Bristol offered a similar, albeit not as glum, environmentalist message, claiming that “I kept coming back to the state of the environment in 2012 and what it will look like in 2112.” Bristol read Tara Huggins’ letter in her absence, musing on the social traditions and fads on campus. Huggins wrote, “I hope Hamilton is as great of an experience as it was when I was there.”
Professor Nathan Goodale ended the event talking about the archeology of Hamilton’s founding. He described a recent excavation he and his class undertook on a gazebo near the Edward North house, and included a nail dug up there within the time capsule.
At the end of the ceremony, Professor Sciacca offered a thumbprint panel on which anyone present could leave their print and DNA to be put in the time capsule. The capsule was then sealed for good and archived, waiting for the Class of 2112 to open it once again.