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SUNY Oneonta

The State University of New York College at Oneonta is a four-year liberal arts college in Oneonta, New York, United States, with approximately 5,900 students.


Ravine Parkway

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Red Dragon
White Red

College History


SUNY Oneonta was established in 1889 as the Oneonta Normal School. It was located in a building nicknamed �Old Main� at the top of Maple Street in the city of Oneonta. The school�s first principal was James M. Milne, for whom the college's current library is named. For nearly 40 years, Old Main was the only building on campus, until 1933 when Bugbee School was built. Named after Percy I. Bugbee, the second principal of the Oneonta Normal School, Bugbee School provided an on-campus training facility for the student teachers attending the normal school. In 1948, the college became a founding member of the State University of New York system, and the Oneonta Normal School was officially renamed the State University College of Education in 1951. Royal F. Netzer was the college�s president from 1951�1970, presiding over a period of tremendous growth. The three joined buildings known as the Morris Conference Complex were the first ones erected on the current campus. The cornerstone of the current building was laid in 1950, with one wing being completed in February 1951 and the other in September 1951. The two wings, Bacon and Denison Halls, were originally used as dormitories, which were much needed on the rapidly expanding campus. In 1952, the Faculty-Student Association Inc.(forerunner of today�s Oneonta Auxiliary Services) purchased a 63-acre farm about four miles north of the college that led to the development of today�s 276-acre College Camp, which provides educational, recreational and social opportunities for the college community. Home economics programs were added to the college�s teacher education programs, and in 1954, a Home Economics building and heating plant were constructed on the upper campus. These were followed in 1958 with the construction of a women�s dormitory, Wilber Hall, followed by Tobey Hall in 1959. The 1960s were a period of rapid growth in the college�s operating budget, student enrollment, number of staff members and the campus itself. To alleviate the shortage of classrooms, 10 mobile classrooms were brought in as a temporary solution. Additional property was acquired to the north and west of the campus, providing two entrances from West Street, one near a new service building. The first library on the upper campus was built in what is today�s Alumni Hall. Other new buildings on the upper campus included a dorm, Littell Hall; a cafeteria (Lee Hall) and the Chase Physical Fitness Center. A path connected the upper campus with Old Main, which was slowly being phased out as the main academic building. In fall 1963, the college started accepting transfer students into 13 liberal arts programs, beginning the transition to a multipurpose higher education institution. In 1964, a men�s dormitory (Golding Hall) and the first science building, known as Science I, were built. These were followed in 1966 with the construction of four administration and class buildings (Mills Dining Hall, Schumacher, Netzer and Hodgdon Instructional Resource Center), five dormitories (Ford, Grant, Hays, Huntington and Sherman halls) and the health center. The late 1960s were a period of rapid faculty turnover. Between 1966 and 1970, there were 205 faculty resignations, retirements or contract terminations. With 35 or 40 new positions each year, the number of new faculty members increased from 35 in 1963 to 80 or more from 1966�1970. With the rapid growth in the number of faculty, the college�s four major academic departments began to split into separate departments. The Department of English, Speech and Theater, which also included Foreign Languages, was the first to subdivide in 1969 into three departments: English, Speech and Theater, and Foreign Languages. In 1970, the Science Department split into separate departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics and Science Education, and the Social Science Department split into six separate departments. By the early 1970s, several more new buildings had been constructed, including academic facilities (Fitzelle Hall, Fine Arts, Science II and the current Milne Library), Wilsbach Dining Hall, five dormitories (Matteston, MacDuff, Curtis, Blodgett and Hulbert halls) and the Hunt College Union, named for Charles W. Hunt, who served as the school�s principal/president from 1933�1951. A field station on Otsego Lake in Cooperstown was also completed, stimulated by a gift of 300�400 additional acres. The new building housed an environmental laboratory facility for the Biology Department and the new graduate program in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Objects, the forerunner to today�s Cooperstown Graduate Program in museum studies. Between 1972 and 1980, teacher education enrollments declined dramatically, while liberal arts enrollments increased. The 1970s were a decade of state budget problems and declining enrollments. Clifford Craven led the college as president from 1970 to 1987. The historic Old Main building was torn down in 1977, and in 1981, two pillars from the building were installed on a hill overlooking the SUNY Oneonta campus as a reminder of the college�s history. Today, they are part of a campus tradition for new and graduating students called �Pass Through the Pillars.� In 1982, the College at Oneonta Foundation was formed with the mission of raising and administering gifts and grants to enhance the academic status of the college through endowment, scholarships and institutional programs. Alan B. Donovan served as college president from 1988�2008. Accomplishments during his tenure included advancements in technology, including Internet access; a more competitive admissions process, expanded multicultural programs and increased financial stability. The college�s endowment grew from $1.9 million when Donovan joined SUNY Oneonta in 1988, to $30 million when he left. Challenges during Donovan's era included student violence in downtown Oneonta and racial tension on campus. The college made national news in fall 1992 during an incident known as the �Black List.� On the morning of Sept. 4, 1992, a 77-year-old woman visiting a family just outside the city of Oneonta told police she was attacked as she slept and struggled with her knife-wielding assailant before he fled. Based on a glimpse of the attacker's hand and his voice, she concluded he was black, and blood at the scene indicated he had been cut on the hand, police said. College officials gave New York State Police a list of 78 black male students to help in the investigation. In the following days, police stopped hundreds of people of color in the area, questioned them about their whereabouts and checked their hands for signs of wounds. Release of the list sparked public outrage and national media attention. The perpetrator was never found. SUNY Oneonta�s commitment to community partnership took root in the 1990s with the establishment of the Center for Economic and Community Development and the Center for Social Responsibility and Community. Several construction projects were completed on Donovan�s watch, including the Alumni Field House in 1998 and the Robin Ross Higgins Hall in 2003. A $10 million renovation to the Human Ecology facilities was also completed in 2003. In 2008, Nancy Kleniewski began her tenure as SUNY Oneonta�s seventh president. In 2009, she convened the Strategic Planning and Resource Council, composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members and charged with developing a strategic plan to help define the college's future. The resulting �Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan 2010� was adopted by the College Senate in spring 2010 to guide the college through 2015. In fall 2013, SUNY Oneonta founded five new schools--Economics and Business, Arts and Humanities,Social Science, Natural and Mathematical Sciences, and Education and Human Biology--to give greater focus to disciplines and careers in those areas. Three founding deans joined the college in summer 2013: Dr. Venkat Sharma, dean of the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences; Dr. Susan Turell, dean of the School of Social Science; and Dr. David Yen, dean of the School of Economics and Business.

College Specialty


The SUNY College at Oneonta unites excellence in teaching, scholarship, civic engagement, and stewardship to create a student-centered learning community.



Richard Yamarone -Author, public speaker, and adjunct professor. Benny Manieri � Stand-up Comedian, Writer, Actor. Philip M. Greifeld � Chief Executive Officer, Captain D's, former CEO of Huddle House, Inc. Ron Garan - NASA astronaut Victoria Graffeo � Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals Robin Higgins � Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs (ret.), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Roy McDonald � New York State Senator Bill Pullman � Actor, Director, Producer Walaid Madry - Senior Network Engineer, Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Edward Burns � Actor, Director. Amy Ignatow � Author and illustrator of the Popularity Papers series of children's books. Roger Watkins � Film Director and Actor Gary Valentine � Actor Gary Sinise- Actor Matt McGinley � Drummer for the band Gym Class Heroes. Shawn Sears � Drummer for the Boston based rock group Sheila Divine Al Schnier � musician guitarist for the American jam band moe. Don Garber � Major League Soccer Commissioner. Keith Tozer � Milwaukee Wave (MISL) head soccer. Marty Appel � Author, Public Relations official, New York Yankees. Sal Paolantonio � ESPN NFL Reporter Stephen Rannazzisi � Actor, comedian. The League, TV Show. Bruce Wladyka � CPA President of the 12 ounce club, still rocking a mullet *Ian Travis MacMillan � Author, Creative Writing Professor at University of Hawaii.



Rural, 250 Acres