State University of New York
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State University of New York
State University of New York
State University of New York seal.svg
MottoTo learn, to search, to serve
TypePublic University System
Established1948 (1948)
ChairmanH. Carl McCall
ChancellorKristina M. Johnson
Eileen McLoughlin
Academic staff
Campus64 campuses[1]
ColorsBlue and Gray

SUNY brandmark.svg

The State University of New York (SUNY ) is a system of public institutions of higher education in New York. It is the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the United States,[2] with a total enrollment of 424,051 students, plus 2,195,082 adult education students, spanning 64 campuses across the state. Led by Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, the SUNY system has 91,182 employees, including 32,496 faculty members, and some 7,660 degree and certificate programs overall and a $10.7 billion budget.[3]

SUNY includes many institutions and four university Centers: Albany (1844), Binghamton (1946), Buffalo (1846), and Stony Brook (1957). SUNY's administrative offices are in Albany, the state's capital, with satellite offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C. SUNY's largest campus is the University at Buffalo,[4][5][6][7] which also has the greatest endowment and research funding.[8][9]

The State University of New York was established in 1948 by Governor Thomas E. Dewey, through legislative implementation of recommendations made by the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University (1946-1948). The Commission was chaired by Owen D. Young, who was at the time Chairman of General Electric. The system was greatly expanded during the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.

Apart from units of the City University of New York (CUNY), SUNY comprises all other institutions of higher education statewide that are state-supported.


The first colleges were established privately, with some arising from local seminaries. But New York state had a long history of supported higher education prior to the creation of the SUNY system. The oldest college that is part of the SUNY System is SUNY Potsdam, established in 1816 as the St. Lawrence Academy. In 1835, the State Legislature acted to establish stronger programs for public school teacher preparation and designated one academy in each senatorial district to receive money for a special teacher-training department. The St. Lawrence Academy received this distinction and designated the village of Potsdam as the site of a Normal School in 1867.[10]

On May 7, 1844, the State legislature voted to establish New York State Normal School in Albany as the first college for teacher education. In 1865, the privately endowed Cornell University was designated as New York's land grant college, and it began direct financial support of four of Cornell's colleges in 1894. From 1889 to 1903, Cornell operated the New York State College of Forestry, until the Governor vetoed its annual appropriation. The school was moved to Syracuse University in 1911. It is now the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. In 1908, the State legislature began the NY State College of Agriculture at Alfred University.

In 1946-48 a Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University, chaired by Owen D. Young, Chairman of the General Electric Company, studied New York's existing higher education institutions. It was known New York's private institutions of higher education were highly discriminatory and failed to provide for many New Yorkers.[11] Noting this need, the commission recommended the creation of a public state university system. In 1948 legislation was passed establishing SUNY on the foundation of the teacher-training schools established in the 19th century. Most of them had already developed curricula similar to those found at four-year liberal arts schools long before the creation of SUNY, as evidenced by the fact they had become known as "Colleges for Teachers" rather than "Teachers' Colleges."

On October 8, 1953, SUNY took a historic step of banning national fraternities and sororities that discriminated based on race or religion from its 33 campuses.[12] Various fraternities challenged this rule in court. As a result, national organizations felt pressured to open their membership to students of all races and religions. The SUNY resolution which was upheld in court states:

Resolved that no social organization shall be permitted in any state-operated unit of the State University which has any direct or indirect affiliation or connection with any national or other organization outside the particular unit; and be it further

Resolved that no such social organization, in policy or practice, shall operate under any rule which bars students on account of race, color, religion, creed, national origin or other artificial criteria; and be it further

Resolved that the President be, and hereby is, authorized to take such steps as he may deem appropriate to implement this policy, including the determination of which student organizations are social as distinguished from scholastic or religious, and his decision shall be final.[13]

Despite being one of the last states in the nation to establish a state university, the system was quickly expanded during the chancellorship of Samuel B. Gould and the administration of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who took a personal interest in the design and construction of new SUNY facilities across the state.[14][15] Rockefeller championed the acquisition of the private University of Buffalo into the SUNY system, making the public State University of New York at Buffalo.[16]


SUNY is governed by a State University of New York Board of Trustees, which consists of eighteen members, fifteen of whom are appointed by the Governor, with consent of the New York State Senate. The sixteenth member is the President of the Student Assembly of the State University of New York. The last two members are the Presidents of the University Faculty Senate and Faculty Council of Community Colleges, both of whom are non-voting. The Board of Trustees appoints the Chancellor who serves as SUNY Chief Executive Officer.

The state of New York assists in financing the SUNY system, which, along with CUNY, provides lower-cost college-level education to residents of the state. SUNY students also come from out-of-state and 171 foreign countries, though tuition is higher for these students. Although tuition is higher for these non-resident students, their tuition is subsidized by New York State taxpayers.

There is a large variety of colleges in the SUNY system with some overlap in specialties between sites. SUNY divides its campuses into four distinct categories: university centers/doctoral-granting institutions, comprehensive colleges, technology colleges, and community colleges. SUNY also includes statutory colleges, state-funded colleges within other institutions such as Cornell University and Alfred University. Students at the statutory colleges have the benefit of state-subsidized tuition while receiving all of the campus life amenities of the host institutions.

SUNY and the City University of New York (CUNY) are different university systems, both funded by New York State. Also, SUNY is not to be confused with the University of the State of New York (USNY), which is the governmental umbrella organization for most education-related institutions and many education-related personnel (both public and private) in New York State, and which includes, as components, the New York State Education Department and the New York State University Police.

Presidents and chancellors

Executive Title Term
Alvin C. Eurich President January 1, 1949 - August 31, 1951
Charles Garside Acting President September 1, 1951 - March 31, 1952
William S. Carlson President April 1, 1952 - September, 1958
Thomas H. Hamilton President August 1, 1959 - December 31, 1962
J. Lawrence Murray Acting Chief Administrative Officer January 1, 1963 - August 31, 1964
Samuel B. Gould President
September 1, 1964 - January 11, 1967
January 12, 1967 - August 30, 1970
Ernest L. Boyer Chancellor September 1, 1970 - March 31, 1977
James F. Kelly Acting Chancellor April 1, 1977 - January 24, 1978
Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. Chancellor January 25, 1978 - January 31, 1987
Jerome B. Komisar Acting Chancellor February 1, 1987 - July 31, 1988
D. Bruce Johnstone Chancellor August 1, 1988 - February 28, 1994
Joseph C. Burke Interim Chancellor March 1, 1994 - November 30, 1994
Thomas A. Bartlett Chancellor December 1, 1994 - June 30, 1996
John W. Ryan Interim Chancellor
July 1, 1996 - April 20, 1997
April 21, 1997 - December 31, 1999
Robert L. King Chancellor January 1, 2000 - May 31, 2005
John R. Ryan Acting Chancellor
June 1, 2005 - December 19, 2005
December 20, 2005 - May 31, 2007
John B. Clark Interim Chancellor June 1, 2007 - December, 2008
John J. O'Connor Officer-in-Charge December 22, 2008 - May 31, 2009
Nancy L. Zimpher Chancellor June 1, 2009 - September 4, 2017
Kristina M. Johnson Chancellor September 5, 2017 - Present

Student representation

Student Services at SUNY Purchase College

The SUNY Board of Trustees has a voting student member on the board. The student trustee serves a dual role as the President of the Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNYSA). SUNYSA is the recognized student government of the SUNY system.

In the 1970s, students pressed for voting representation on the governing board of SUNY colleges. In 1971, the State Legislature added five student voting members to Cornell's Board of Trustees. However, at that time, all members of a board must be over the age of 21 for a corporation to hold a liquor license, so to allow Cornell to retain its license, the legislature had to go back to amend NYS Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 126(4) to require half the board must be 21.

In 1975, the legislature added a non-voting student seat to the boards of all SUNY units. Two Attorney General of the State of New York opinion letters[17] reduced the parliamentary rights of the student members to participate at meetings and indicated they were not in fact Public Officers, and arguably subject to personal liability from lawsuits. In 1977, another statutory amendment made student members of SUNY councils and boards subject to the NYS Public Officers Law or NYS General Municipal Law and granted student representatives parliamentary powers of moving or seconding motions and of placing items on the agendas of the bodies. Finally, the legislature gave full voting rights to the student members in 1979, resulting in the students of all SUNY units having voting representatives, except for the NYS College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Finally, in 1986, the legislature gave the student representative of that college voting rights as well.[18]


University at Albany
Binghamton University.
University at Buffalo
Stony Brook University
SUNY Oswego campus as viewed from Glimmerglass Lagoon

University centers and doctoral degree granting institutions

University centers

Doctoral degree granting institutions

Comprehensive colleges

Technology colleges

Community colleges



For the 2017-2018 academic year, tuition costs at SUNY schools for an undergraduate degree are less than two-thirds the cost of most public colleges in the United States. For example, tuition at the University at Buffalo for an undergraduate degree is $9,828 per semester or $27,068 per year for non-resident students.[84] Undergraduate tuition for non-resident students at the University of Maryland is $35,216 per year.[85] Non-resident tuition and fees at University of Oregon are $32,535 per year.[86]

New York State also offers free tuition for all public college and universities for families who have an income of lower than $125,000 and are residents of the state. Other requirements to qualify for free SUNY education include full-time enrollment and staying in the state for a number of years after graduating.[87][88]

Size, financing, rankings

New York's largest public university is the State University of New York at Buffalo, which was founded by U.S President and Vice President Millard Fillmore. Buffalo has an enrollment total of approximately 30,000 students and receives the most applications out of all the SUNY's.[89][90][91]

Campus Acreage Founded Enrollment Endowment Operations Athletics Nickname Athletics
Albany 586 1844 17,600 US$65.3 million 548.3 million Great Danes NCAA Div I America East
Binghamton 930 1946 16,695 US$116 million 456.2 million Bearcats NCAA Div I America East
Buffalo 1,346 1846 30,183 US$624.8 million 3.53 billion Bulls NCAA Div I
Stony Brook 1,364 1957 24,594 US$233.9 million 2.09 billion Seawolves NCAA Div I America East

Selectivity and admission

School Selectivity rating[92] Percent students admitted[93] Middle 50% SAT[] Students in top 10% of class[] Middle 90% GPA[]
Albany 78 56%[94] 1110-1260 15% 88-94
Binghamton 93 44%[95] 1200-1380 50% 92-95
Buffalo 85 51%[96] 1120-1290 34% 90-96
Stony Brook 89 41%[97] 1130-1270 Not reported 87-93

Research funding

School NSF Funding Rank Funding Dollars (USD)[8]
Albany 134 137,759,000
Binghamton 161 76,005,000
Buffalo 56 387,863,000
Brockport 577 1,321,000
Buffalo State 515 2,106,000
Cobleskill 625 908,000
Cortland 629 819,000
Downstate 211 39,354,000
ESF 259 21,239,000
Farmingdale 441 3,213,000
Geneseo 592 1,201,000
Optometry 428 3,637,000
Oswego 632 725,000
Purchase 567 1,433,000
Stony Brook 97 225,712,000
Upstate 222 34,286,000

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

The SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence is an annual award given out by the SUNY system to distinguished student leaders across the State of New York. Established in 1997, the system considers the Chancellor's Award to be "the highest honor bestowed upon the student body."[98]


Every school within the SUNY system manages its own athletics program, which greatly varies the level of competition at each institution.


Division I

  • The four university centers compete at the Division I level for all of their sports. All but Binghamton field football teams, with Buffalo in Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) and Albany and Stony Brook in Division I FCS (formerly Division I-AA). The four Cornell statutory colleges compete as part of the university as a member of the Ivy League, an FCS conference that chooses not to participate in the FCS postseason tournament.
  • A small number of community colleges compete at the NJCAA Div. 1 level.

Divisions II and III

  • Most SUNY colleges, technical schools and community schools compete at the NCAA or NJCAA Div. II or III level.

Other associations

  • SUNY Delhi is a member of the NAIA.
  • SUNY Canton and SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry are members of the USCAA.[99][100]


The most prominent SUNY rivalry is between the Albany Great Danes and Binghamton Bearcats. The two belong to the America East Conference. Frequently referred to as the I-88 Rivalry, Binghamton and Albany sit at either end of Interstate 88 (roughly 2.5 hours apart). Both teams are known to post the highest visitor attendance at either school's athletic events. Both schools also have less intense rivalries with a fellow America East member, the Stony Brook Seawolves. In football, a sport not sponsored by the America East, Albany and Stony Brook have a rivalry in the Colonial Athletic Association.

SUNY Buffalo tends to have a rivalry in basketball with two private colleges in the same geographical area. Canisius College and Buffalo's South Campus are 2.5 miles apart on Main St. in Buffalo. Their other rival is Niagara University in Lewiston, NY.

SUNY Oswego and SUNY Plattsburgh also share a notable rivalry in Division III Hockey, with that game almost always having the SUNYAC regular season title up for grabs.

SUNY Cobleskill and SUNY Delhi rivalry focuses on basketball, cross country, and previously track, although Cobleskill track and field started competing at the NCAA Division III level in spring 2009. The SUNY Delhi 2003-2004 basketball season was canceled after a basketball game was called with 48 seconds left after several SUNY Delhi basketball players nearly started a brawl in the Ioro Gymnasium at SUNY Cobleskill on Wednesday February 4, 2004.

SUNY Oneonta has developed a rivalry in almost every sport with SUNY Cortland. They share the red dragon as a team nickname, and their matchups are known as the "Battle of the Red Dragons".

There is an unusual sports rivalry between SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Finger Lakes Community College, with both campuses sponsoring nationally ranked teams in woodsman competitions.

SUNY Press


The State University of New York Press (SUNY Press) is a university press and a Center for Scholarly Communication. The Press is part of the State University of New York system and is located in Albany, New York. It was founded in 1966, and publishes scholarly works in various fields.[101]

See also


  1. ^ a b c SUNY. "SUNY FAST FACTS". Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "Short History of SUNY". The State University of New York. SUNY. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Applebome, Peter (2010-07-23). "The Accidental Giant of Higher Education". Retrieved .
  4. ^ "SUNY: Complete Campus List". Retrieved .
  5. ^ "2009-10 Tuition and Fee Rates: A National Comparison" (March 2010). Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  6. ^ "Tuition and Fees at Flagship Universities Over Time." The College Board ( Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  7. ^ ""Remarks by Governor Eliot Spitzer"". The Governor's Site. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Rankings by total R&D expenditures". National Science Foundation. Archived from the original on 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^
  10. ^ (subscription required)
  11. ^ Tod Ottman, "Forging SUNY in New York's Political Cauldron," in SUNY at Sixty: The Promise of the State University of New York, ed. John B. Clark, W. Bruce Leslie and Kenneth P. O'Brien (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010), 19.
  12. ^ "State U. Bans Social Societies on Bias Count". Cornell Daily Sun. 70 (15). 9 October 1953. p. 1. Retrieved .
  13. ^ Webb v. State University of New York
  14. ^ "Introduction," in SUNY at Sixty: The Promise of the State University of New York, ed. John B. Clark, W. Bruce Leslie and Kenneth P. O'Brien (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010), XIX
  15. ^ SUNY at Sixty, XIX
  16. ^ "SUNY Buffalo School of Management History". University at Buffalo. 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ 1975 Op. Atty. Gen., November 25 and 1976 Op. Atty. Gen., June 14
  18. ^ "Student Members of the Boards of Trustees and College Councils". SUNY. May 28, 1986. Retrieved .
  19. ^ "Binghamton University". Retrieved 2011.
  20. ^ "Stony Brook University". Retrieved 2011.
  21. ^ "University at Albany". Retrieved 2011.
  22. ^ "University at Buffalo". Retrieved 2011.
  23. ^ "State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry". Retrieved 2011.
  24. ^ "SUNY College of Optometry". Retrieved 2011.
  25. ^ "SUNY Downstate Medical Center". Retrieved 2011.
  26. ^ "State University of New York Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome (SUNY IT)". Retrieved 2011.
  27. ^ "Upstate Medical University". Retrieved 2011.
  28. ^ "New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University". Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  29. ^ "Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)". Retrieved 2011.
  30. ^ "Cornell University College of Human Ecology". Retrieved 2011.
  31. ^ "Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine". Retrieved 2011.
  32. ^ "Cornell University ILR School". Retrieved 2011.
  33. ^ "Buffalo State College". Retrieved 2011.
  34. ^ "Empire State College". Retrieved 2011.
  35. ^ "Purchase College". Retrieved 2011.
  36. ^ "SUNY Geneseo". Retrieved 2011.
  37. ^ "State University of New York at New Paltz". Retrieved 2011.
  38. ^ "State University of New York at Oswego". Retrieved 2011.
  39. ^ "The State University of New York at Potsdam". Retrieved 2011.
  40. ^ "State University of New York College at Cortland (SUNY Cortland)". Retrieved 2011.
  41. ^ "SUNY College at Oneonta". Retrieved 2011.
  42. ^ "SUNY Fredonia". Retrieved 2011.
  43. ^ "SUNY Plattsburgh". Retrieved 2011.
  44. ^ "The College at Brockport". Retrieved 2011.
  45. ^ "The College at Old Westbury". Retrieved 2011.
  46. ^ "Alfred State College". Retrieved 2011.
  47. ^ "Farmingdale State College". Retrieved 2011.
  48. ^ a b "Fashion Institute of Technology". Retrieved 2011.
  49. ^ "Morrisville State College". Retrieved 2011.
  50. ^ "SUNY Canton". Retrieved 2011.
  51. ^ "SUNY Cobleskill". Retrieved 2011.
  52. ^ "SUNY Delhi". Retrieved 2011.
  53. ^ "SUNY Maritime College". Retrieved 2011.
  54. ^ "SUNY Adirondack Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  55. ^ "Broome Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  56. ^ "Cayuga Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  57. ^ "Clinton Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  58. ^ "Columbia-Greene Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  59. ^ "Corning Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  60. ^ "Dutchess Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  61. ^ "Erie Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  62. ^ "Fulton-Montgomery Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  63. ^ "Genesee Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  64. ^ "Herkimer County Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  65. ^ "Hudson Valley Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  66. ^ "Jamestown Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  67. ^ "Jefferson Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  68. ^ "Mohawk Valley Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  69. ^ "Monroe Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  70. ^ "Nassau Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  71. ^ "Niagara County Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  72. ^ "North Country Community College (The College of Essex & Franklin)". Retrieved 2011.
  73. ^ "Onondaga Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  74. ^ "Orange County Community College (SUNY Orange)". Retrieved 2011.
  75. ^ "SUNY Rockland Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  76. ^ "Schenectady County Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  77. ^ "Suffolk County Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  78. ^ "Sullivan County Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  79. ^ "Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3)". Retrieved 2011.
  80. ^ "Ulster County Community College (SUNY Ulster)". Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  81. ^ "Westchester Community College". Retrieved 2011.
  82. ^ "University at Buffalo Law School". Retrieved 2017.
  83. ^ "JCC Warren, PA Center". Jamestown, New York: Jamestown Community College. Retrieved .
  84. ^ "Tuition and Fees - SUNY". Archived from the original on 2017-10-22. Retrieved . Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  85. ^ "University of Maryland Costs". Retrieved .
  86. ^ University of Oregon. "Tuition - University of Oregon". Retrieved .
  87. ^ Excelsior Scholarship Program. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  88. ^ Jaschik, Scott (April 10, 2017). "New York Adopts Free Tuition." Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  89. ^ "SUNY Buffalo: Complete Campus List". Retrieved .
  90. ^ "Chancellors and Presidents of the University". University of Buffalo, The State University of New York. Archived from the original on 2016-06-10. Retrieved . Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  91. ^ Hill, David J. (April 13, 2017). "Another Record-Breaking Year for Applications to UB." Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  92. ^ U.S. News & World Report Rankings 2007
  93. ^ "College profiles". New York: College Board. Retrieved .
  94. ^ "State University of New York at Albany profile". New York: College Board. Retrieved .
  95. ^ "State University of New York at Binghamton profile". New York: College Board. Retrieved .
  96. ^ "State University of New York at Buffalo profile". New York: College Board. Retrieved .
  97. ^ "State University of New York at Stony Brook profile". New York: College Board. Retrieved .
  98. ^ Insider - Buffalo State College - SUNY's Highest Student Honor Awarded Archived 2012-06-10 at the Wayback Machine
  99. ^ "About SUNY Canton Athletics". Retrieved 2014.
  100. ^ "". Retrieved 2014.
  101. ^ SUNY Press Mission Statement

External links

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