$10 Million Gift Will Build Fox Hall and Launch Fifth Commons

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Scenic photo of campus in the summer.
By Mark Walden October 14, 2021

Trustee emeritus Robert Fox ’59, GP’23,’25 has given $10 million to build Fox Hall at Colgate University, the first residence hall of the University’s fifth Residential Commons. The gift was acknowledged by the Board of Trustees during its fall meeting, Sept. 30–Oct. 1.

“Today, Colgate takes a significant step forward in its plans to fundamentally enhance student residential life,” says President Brian W. Casey. “It is the remarkable generosity of Bob Fox that makes it possible, and on behalf of our community, I offer him my profound gratitude.”

Fox Hall will be located between Burke Hall and the ALANA Cultural Center in an area now occupied by Gate House. Its design will reflect both the careful planning and creativity that allow leading residential liberal arts universities like Colgate to foster the integration of living and learning on campus. The new facility will also assist the University in completing the implementation of the Residential Commons system, a first initiative within the Third-Century Plan.

Residential Commons, inaugurated at Colgate in 2015 with Ciccone Commons, serve as communities within a community. Each one — Ciccone, Brown, Dart Colegrove, and Hancock — occupies a series of residence halls, where first-year and sophomore students live and take courses together.

Students transition down the Hill as juniors and seniors to live in a variety of residences on Broad and College streets, but they retain their connection to their commons through social and intellectual programming as well as peer mentorship with incoming classes. Along the way, students develop personal responsibility while sharing a sense of belonging and interdependence with their peers.

“Fox Hall and the Fifth Commons demonstrate the University’s long-term commitment to create a comprehensive, inclusive residential program, stretching from the residential quadrangle at the top of the Hill to Broad Street and Lower Campus,” says Vice President and Dean of the College Paul J. McLoughlin II. “We thank Bob for his support of this vision.”

Fox, former chief executive officer and president at companies such as Del Monte and Revlon International, has been investing in Colgate’s distinctive approach to the liberal arts for decades. He is the namesake of the University’s Robert A. Fox ’59 Institute for Leadership, which offers Colgate students leadership development training through a process of self-reflection and experience. He helped to establish the Mark S. Randall Jr. Endowed Chair for swimming and diving in honor of his coach and mentor. In 2015, Fox committed $10 million to launch the Fox Partnership, a financial aid challenge that inspired an additional $17 million in gifts from alumni and friends.

“Colgate exposed me to a world of opportunity,” says Fox. “I grew up in very modest circumstances. I scored high on college board exams, held outside jobs during high school, and was a competitive swimmer — those test scores and extracurricular activities enabled me to get a Colgate scholarship. Now, I want to leave a lasting legacy for the third century at Colgate in return for all that the University has done for me.”