SUNY History and General Statement

The State University of New York (SUNY), was founded at Potsdam, N.Y., in 1816. Years later, the Morrill Act of 1862 led to the creation of four Ivy League land-grant SUNY colleges, which now currently exist at Cornell University. SUNY was officially established in February 1948 when New York became the 48th state, of the then 48 states, to create a state university system. SUNY initially represented a consolidation of 29 unaffiliated institutions, including 11 teachers colleges. All of these colleges, with their unique histories and backgrounds, united for a common goal: To serve New York State. Since 1948, SUNY has grown to include 64 schools, a mix of 29 state-operated campuses and five statutory colleges — including research universities,  liberal arts colleges, specialized and technical colleges, health science centers, land-grant colleges — and 30 community colleges, that were either formerly independent institutions or directly founded by the State University of New York.

Today, the State University of New York’s 64 geographically dispersed campuses bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education. Its 64 campuses are divided into four categories, based on educational mission, types of academic opportunities available, and degrees offered. These institutions offer programs as varied as ceramics engineering, philosophy, fashion design, optometry, maritime studies, law, medical education; music, theatre and dance, and everything in between. SUNY offers students a wide variety of educational options including short-term vocational/technical courses; certificate, associate, and baccalaureate degree programs, graduate degrees and post-doctoral studies. It provides access to almost every field of academic or professional study within the system with more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs.

SUNY attracts the best and brightest scholars, scientists, artists and professionals, and boasts nationally and internationally recognized faculty in all major disciplines. Faculty are regular recipients of prestigious awards and honors. The highly-regarded doctoral degree granting universities are home to top research programs and attract experts in a variety of fields. Students study in campus classrooms and laboratories or work from a distance through Open SUNY, which provides educational opportunities through courses and degree and certificate programs. SUNY employs 88,000 faculty and staff and counts more than 3 million alumni, residing in New York State and throughout the world.

The State University of New York is committed to serving as the state's strongest economic and quality-of-life driver and providing quality education at an affordable price to New Yorkers and students from across the country and the world.