The Colgate Scene
July 2002

The estimable Mr. Seamans

[Photo by Gary E. Frank]

Tim Seamans '02 applied to Colgate as an afterthought. That he did was fortunate for both Colgate and himself.

At the urging of his parents, the winner of this year's 1819 Award submitted his application just before deadline, was accepted, and then deferred entering Colgate for a year. While attending Phillips Exeter Academy, Seamans received a letter from Mary Hill, who was then dean of admission.

"She wrote, `Hey, Tim, I hope you're having a good time at Phillips Exeter. Can't wait to have you come sing for us,'" Seamans said.

The personal touch from Hill clinched things for Seamans.

"Someone actually remembered where I was and what I was doing," Seamans said. "I thought, `This is the place for me.'"

Even at an institution such as Colgate -- whose students have long been known for having a broad range of interests -- Seamans' record of commitment is impressive.

"Everyone who comes here wants to leave a mark on Colgate," said Seamans, who majored in mathematics and French. "It's tough to do that. Colgate is an amazing place, with a lot of amazing people."

The Concord, Mass., native has left his mark, and then some. During his four years at Colgate he has been president of Men Advocating Change, a peer education group concerned with preventing date rape; a member of the Drug and Alcohol Awareness Group; a four-year member and a two-time officer of the Colgate Thirteen; a member and officer of Konosioni and director of its most successful auction ever; and a member of the Residential Life Council as a first-year student and a resident advisor for three years. He was elected to the Phi Eta Sigma first-year honor society, for which he served on the society-sponsored committee that chooses a "Professor of the Year" and as an organizer of the group's social activities. Seamans is the winner of one scholarship and one fellowship awarded for outstanding leadership and academic achievement; the recipient of a Fulbright teaching fellowship in France; a student host coordinator and tour guide for the Office of Admission; a swimming instructor for students from the Hamilton Central School; a deacon of University Church; and captain of an intramural sports team. The magna cum laude graduate even found time to pose as a Forrest Gump-like figure on a poster for the Office of Residential Life.

"Colgate has always attracted a few students, in each class, who seem to throw their arms around the place in an embrace that can last a lifetime," said Interim President Jane Pinchin when presenting the 1819 Award to Seamans. "Active, involved, caring students become active, involved, caring alumni. Colgate wouldn't be Colgate without them."

Shortly before receiving the award, Pinchin points out, Seamans told the Maroon-News, "I just love Colgate and I'm ecstatic to be here and excited about being an alum."

"We were ecstatic to have had Tim here, and the alumni will be excited about this addition to their ranks -- whether they know it yet or not," she said.

Alumni will be excited about this addition to their ranks -- whether they know it yet or not. Seamans admits that his enthusiasm for meeting people has sometimes made it difficult to say no to a new opportunity to make his mark. Nevertheless, he feels that what he's looking for in each opportunity is the chance to make a connection.

"I figure that if people focus on a certain set of areas to develop certain skills in life, why not broaden my scope and go into a lot of different areas?" he said.

That's one reason why the self-described "people person" joined the Residential Life Council as a first-year student and went on to become a resident advisor. In addition to bringing him into contact with a broad cross-section of students, Seamans believes being so involved made him a better resident advisor.

"I could answer so many different questions for my residents because I was involved in all those things," he said.

Among those at Colgate who have been a major influence to him, Seamans counts Tim Mansfield, associate director of residential life, and Gary L. Ross '77, dean of admission. Both Mansfield and Ross impressed him, Seamans said, because they are personable, accessible and creative.

"Tim is an outstanding young man and the epitome of what an 1819 Award Winner should be," said Ross. "In his four years at Colgate Tim has impacted every corner of this campus in a most significant way, and the students, faculty and staff members who got to know Tim well would all join me in saying that he did not just leave an impression on us -- he left a lifelong impression. I know Tim will bring distinction to Colgate throughout the time he is working as a Fulbright recipient and in any area he chooses to pursue after his fellowship is completed."

For his Fulbright fellowship, Seamans will teach English in either junior or senior high school in Bordeaux, France. One reason Seamans is looking forward to the fellowship is that it will enable him to have one of the few student experiences he missed at Colgate -- participation in a study-abroad group. Seamans choose to maintain his commitment to the Colgate Thirteen instead.

While he is unsure as to what he'll do after his fellowship is completed, Seamans is certain of what he doesn't want to do. After working one summer doing actuarial adjustments for a financial services company, Seamans said he "can't sit in a cubicle all day working on a computer."

Instead, Seamans is considering seeking an M.B.A. in marketing, teaching at a private school or, perhaps, working in higher education in admissions or residential life.

"I'm going to follow my heart," he said, "and see where it takes me."

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