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A Sign for Our Times

May 20, 2010

In the spring of 2010, a permanent cast-iron historic marker was placed at the entrance to the Kirkland Campus by Hamilton College.  Its text, in gold letters on a green background, reads:

Kirkland College, a college for women, fostered creative spirit, independent thinking and intellectual curiosity.  Founded 1965, merged with Hamilton College 1978.

Francis Musselman, former Kirkland College Trustee, at marker dedication

Traditionally, New York State markers were blue with gold lettering – the colors used for the campus signs marking the Chapel and Elihu Root’s birthplace.  However, when Communications & Development officer Dick Tantillo investigated the possibility of placing a third marker on campus, he discovered an interesting fact:  markers are produced by a few independent iron foundries, and there are no fixed color requirements.  Trustee Susan Skerritt suggested that a dark green background would be most appropriate for this new landmark.  After discussion with several other alumnae, the decision was made to place the marker at the same spot on College Hill Road where a large wooden sign once indicated the entrance to Kirkland College.

Click the triangle to hear Fran Musselman’s “Open Mike” remarks: 


Nancy Avery Dafoe (K’74), Bill Rosenfeld, Billie Jean Stratton (K’74), and Jo Pitkin (K’78) in McEwen’s Cafe Opus

Kirkland College entrance, circa 1970

Kirkland College entrance, circa 1970

A crowd of alumnae, current students, past faculty and well-wishers gathered on April 16, 2010 to dedicate the marker, and gathered afterward in the nearby Molly Root House for champagne and Open Mike reception.

Just like our unusual diplomas, the green marker represents a quintessential Kirkland trait:  the impulse to question assumptions and involve community in creating a unique and satisfying outcome.

Marker dedication attendees waited in the rain

Kate Faison ’79 and Susie Hartman ’74

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Penny Watras Dana permalink
    May 20, 2010 5:37 pm

    Beautiful! Thanks for posting!

  2. kirkie '74 permalink
    August 16, 2010 10:51 pm

    Hey Jennie,
    Do you know who puts up the markers? Is it the State of New York, or is that an old person’s tale?
    If it was the State, Susan how did you convince them to make the changes?
    Am I totally misinformed about where the markers come from? Please enlighten !

    • August 16, 2010 11:24 pm

      Hamilton College actually ordered and erected the historic marker. The Communications & Development office consulted with the Committee for Kirkland College regarding color and wording for the sign.

      It’s interesting – New York State provides some information (like where to find foundries that do this kind of casting) but does not directly fund or even approve markers any more – private landowners can set them where they wish. There’s more information on the origin of the historic marker program here:

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