Was doing some searching and found a listing from Union College of the members of various classes. The 1851 class included Rev. John Rippey, Capt. John's grandson and my great grandfather.
He made Phi Beta Kappa. I happened to notice the listing for a classmate who also made Phi Beta Kappa, Leonard G. Calkins. What stood out was his "Residence at Entrance", which was China. (Most of the class was from New York, though there were a couple of Southerners as well.) So I googled him, and found a reference to "New York Central College" in McGraw, NY (just east of Cortland), which turns out to be a short-lived institution modeled on Oberlin, which was open to both sexes and to blacks. Calkins isn't mentioned in this newspaper story but there is a former "Calkins hotel" in McGraw.
Calkins appears to have bounced around, being in real estate in Chicago when the Union centennial directory was published.