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State University of New York at New Paltz

State University of New York at New Paltz
Established 1828
Type Public
Endowment $7.37 million[1]
President Donald P. Christian[2]
Provost Philip Mauceri[3]
Academic staff
313 (full-time)
294 (part-time)
Students 7,885
Undergraduates 6,582
Postgraduates 1,303
Location New Paltz, New York, USA
Campus Small Town, 257 acres (104 ha)
Colors Blue and Orange
Nickname Hawks
Mascot Hugo the Hawk

The State University of New York at New Paltz, known as SUNY New Paltz for short, is a public college in academy in 1833.[4] The College is one of only four SUNY institutions in the New York metropolitan area.


  • History 1
  • Statistics 2
  • Campus 3
  • Campus theaters 4
    • McKenna Theater 4.1
    • Parker Theater 4.2
    • Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall 4.3
  • Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art 5
  • Demographics 6
  • Rankings 7
  • Current Information 8
  • Athletics 9
  • Clubs and traditions 10
  • Alma mater 11
  • Notable alumni 12
  • Notable faculty 13
  • Presidents of SUNY at New Paltz 14
  • See also 15
  • References 16
  • Bibliography 17
  • External links 18


Old Main, the oldest building on campus.

Following a decimating fire in 1884, the New Paltz Classical School offered their land to the state government of New York contingent upon the establishment of a normal school. In 1885, the New Paltz Normal and Training School was established to prepare teachers to practice their professions in the public schools of New York. It was granted the ability to award baccalaureate degrees in 1938, when it was renamed the State Teachers College at New Paltz; an inaugural class of 112 students graduated in 1942. A few years later, in 1947, a graduate program in education was established. When the State University of New York was established by legislative act in 1948, the Teachers College at New Paltz was one of 30 colleges associated under SUNY's umbrella. An art education program was added in 1951; in 1960, the college (assigned the moniker of the State University of New York College of Liberal Arts and Science at New Paltz in 1961) was authorized to confer liberal arts degrees.

There were several student-led demonstrations in the late 1960s and early 1970s, primarily against the Vietnam War. In the spring of 1967, a sit-in protesting military recruitment on campus blocked the entrance to the Student Union for two days. While there were scores of demonstrators the first day, all but 13 dispersed before New York State Troopers arrived and bodily carried the demonstrators to a waiting school bus for a trip to court. In the fall of 1968, students rallied in support of Craig Pastor (now Craig DeYong) who had been arrested by New Paltz Village Police for desecration of the American flag which he was wearing as a superhero cape in a student film directed by Edward Falco. College President John J. Neumaier posted bail. Pastor was released and charges were dropped. Following the Cambodian Campaign and concomitant Kent State shootings in May 1970, there was a protest leading to a five-day student occupation of the Administration Building (subsequently renamed Old Main). A March 1974 sit-in at the Haggerty Administration Building (opened in 1972) reacted against perceived discriminatory hiring practices, the state-mandated reintegration of Shango Hall (which then housed underrepresented students), and the threatened cessation of the Experimental Studies Program in the wake of a budget shortfall.[5]

van den Berg Hall is the second oldest building on campus. Today it is the home to the business program.

Amid this tumult, the college's general education program (including then-vanguard introductory surveys of African and Asian cultures) was eliminated in 1971; a distribution requirement was re-instituted in 1993. A program in video art (under Paul Ryan), dance therapy, clowning, camping, and ecodesign. Instructors in the program were hired by students and compensated through student activity fees. A 4-acre (1.6 ha) environmental studies site operated by students and community members under the aegis of the program at the southern periphery of the campus included geodesic domes, windmills, kilns, a solar-powered house funded by the Department of Energy, and more inchoate variants of sustainable architecture. Upon ascending to the college presidency in 1980, Alice Chandler characterized the edifices as "shacks and hovels" and abolished the program in the early 1980s, demolishing most of the site in the process.[6] Under Chandler's leadership, the college (then known as the State University of New York College of Arts and Science New Paltz) began to offer professional degree programs in nursing, engineering, journalism, and accounting.[7] The Legislative Gazette, a journalism and political science internship in which students live and work in Albany and produce a weekly newspaper about state politics, was established in 1978.

The Pond with Esopus Hall in the background

On December 29, 1991, the campus was the scene of a widely reported PCB incident that contaminated four dormitories (Bliss, Gage, Capen and Scudder Halls), as well as the Coykendall Science Building and Parker Theatre. Under the direction of the county and state health departments, the university began a massive, thorough clean-up effort. As an additional precaution, 29 other buildings were thoroughly tested and, if necessary, cleaned. The clean-up process lasted until May 1995. Since 1994, PCBs have not been used on the SUNY New Paltz campus.[8] Concerns about this incident have been covered in New York Times articles by Michael Winerip, as well as investigative reporting in the Woodstock Times and Sierra magazine by Eric Francis.

The college was rebranded as the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1994.[9]

In November 1997, two events on campus attracted nationwide media attention. The first, a feminist conference on sex and sexuality sponsored by the Women's Studies department entitled "Revolting Behavior: The Challenges of Women's Sexual Freedom", featured an instructional workshop on sex toys offered by a Manhattan sex shop proprietor and a lecture panel on sadomasochism ("Safe, Sane and Consensual S/M: An Alternate Way of Loving").[10] The second, a seminar entitled "Subject to Desire: Refiguring the Body", was sponsored by the School of Fine and Performing Arts. One presenter, Fluxus performance artist and longtime New Paltz resident Carolee Schneemann, was best known for Interior Scroll (1975), a piece that culminated in her unrolling a scroll from her vagina and reading it to the audience; at the seminar, Schneemann exhibited[11] abstract photographs of her vagina as part of Vulva's Morphia (1995), "a visceral sequence of photographs and text in which a Vulvic personification presents an ironic analysis juxtaposing slides and text to undermine Lacanian semiotics, gender issues, Marxism, the male art establishment, religious and cultural taboos."[12]

The Excelsior Concourse. One of the busiest parts of campus.

Political conservatives were outraged that a public university had hosted such events, and Governor The Vagina Monologues shortly afterwards. The college's then-president, Roger Bowen, defended freedom of expression on campus and refused to apologize, doing little to allay conservative ire. "The real issue," he said, "is whether some ideologues, however well-intentioned, have the right to dictate what we say and what we do on this campus." SUNY trustee Candace de Russy called for him to be dismissed.[13] Bowen later resigned.


The Fine Arts Building

For 23 consecutive years (as of Fall 2012), New Paltz has received the most student applications among SUNY's comprehensive colleges. [14]

In 2006 New Paltz received 11,941 applications for the fall and accepted 4,141 (39%).The middle 50% of incoming freshman had a high school GPA of 90.6 with an SAT of 1160.[15]

In 2008 New Paltz received 13,868 applications for the fall and accepted 35%. However, the yield rating was 24% unlike past years of 21% causing an unexpected 1,300 new students to join the New Paltz class body. The incoming freshman had a mean SAT score of 1160, and the mean of their high school GPAs was around 90.[16]

In 2009, SUNY New Paltz received over 19,000 freshmen and transfer applications for the fall semester. 15,400 applications were freshmen alone. The school accepted 34% of freshmen and 36% of transfer students. The incoming freshmen class had a mean SAT score of 1172 and a high school GPA of 91. Also, 100% of New Paltz's accepted freshmen class continues to come from the top 2 of 5 SUNY Quality Groups.[17]

In 2010, New Paltz accepted 37% of freshmen students and 36% of transfers. The incoming freshmen class has a mean SAT score of 1190 and a high school GPA of 92. Accepted transfer students had a mean GPA of 3.4.[18]


Atrium of the Student Union Building. Opened in 2010.
Inside the Atrium

The SUNY New Paltz campus consists of about 350 acres (140 ha) in the small town of New Paltz, New York. There are thirteen residence halls, centered mostly in two quads. The main campus has two dozen academic buildings, including the Haggerty Administration Building, a lecture hall, Old Main, Sojourner Truth Library, one main dining hall, a Student Union Building, and extensive gymnasium and sports areas.

The college also operated a satellite campus in Olivebridge, New York, consisting of another 400 acres (160 ha). In 2008 it was sold by Campus Auxiliary Services to the Open Space Conservancy;[19] it is now operated as the Ashokan Center.

SUNY New Paltz is undergoing extensive construction projects over the next 5 years, totaling nearly $300 million,[20] including:

  • Renovation of Hasbrouck Complex Residence Halls (Ongoing)
  • Student Union Building addition: "The Atrium" (Completed Fall 2010)
  • Old Main renovation (Completed Spring 2011)
  • The Concourse Landscaping/Renovation (Completed Fall 2011)
  • Hasbrouck Quad Landscaping/Renovation (Completed Fall 2011)
  • Construction of Mohonk Walk (Completed Summer 2012)
  • Sojourner Truth Library renovation (Estimated Completion: Fall 2015)
  • Construction of a new science building (Estimated Completion: Fall 2016)
  • Wooster Science Building renovation (Estimated Completion: Winter 2015)
  • Ridgeview Hall (Completed Summer 2015)

Campus theaters

SUNY at New Paltz contains three on-campus theaters.

McKenna Theater

McKenna Theatre is a fully equipped proscenium theatre seating 366. The theater is named in honor of Dr. Rebecca McKenna, professor of English and Drama and the founder of the theatre arts program at New Paltz. At the rear portion of the theater is a sound booth for digital audio equipment it has the capabilities to play back, mix, and amplify audio. There is also a lighting booth with a computerized light board (controlling over 200 dimmers) and lcd video projection equipment behind the audience (and upstairs). There are 32 line sets in the fly space above the stage. There is also a scene shop behind the stage, storage area for scenery, a paint shop, and some other technical facilities. [21]

Parker Theater

The building was originally built as a dining hall. Parker was then converted to a theatre venue and teaching space. In 1972 it was made into a theatre production facility. The building was renovated in 1994, featuring a modified thrust stage surrounded by a three-quarter audience configuration seating up to 200 people. In the rear are lighting and sound booths with computerized light board (controlling over 90 dimmers) and digital audio equipment. To the right and the left side of stage are performance studio spaces, classes are offered in acting, voice, movement, and musical theatre. On the same floor of the theater, there is a costume studio, dressing rooms, costume maintenance, storage facilities, and faculty offices.[21]

Parker Theatre was Built in 1962, the Raymond T. Kurdt Theatrical Design Collection, one of the most significant collections of original costume and set designs in the nation is in Parker Theater.

College Hall, home to the Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall. Also, the oldest residence hall on campus.

Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall

Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall resides in College Hall a building on the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz. College Hall is the oldest residence hall on the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz built in 1951, it is a landmark, and is the closest hall to the village of New Paltz.[22]

The facility contains 125-seats and is named in honor of patrons to the performing arts programs at SUNY New Paltz. The hall offers a delicate setting student recitals and chamber music performances. The rear of the hall contains a small studio equipped with Pro-tools HD and a Control 24 sound board used for recording professional venues.[21]

Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall is an important facility for the community. The Location hosts many recitals and is an integral part of the Piano Summer program.[23]

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art

At the center of campus is the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, one of the largest art museums in the SUNY system.[24] The Dorsky has two wings; the East Wing includes the Morgan Anderson Gallery, Howard Greenberg Family Gallery, Sara Bedrick Gallery and the Corridor Gallery and the West Wing includes the Alice and Horace Chandler Gallery and the North Gallery. The Dorsky's permanent collection comprises more than 5,000 works of art, with areas of focus that include American Art, with an emphasis on the Hudson Valley and Catskill Regions, 19th, 20th and 21st century photography and metals. A small but excellent "world collection" of art and artifacts dating back to ancient times and representing diverse cultures enhances the museum's exhibitions and educational programs. Through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, the Dorsky supports and enriches the academic programs at the college, presents a broad range of world art for study and enjoyment, and serves as a center for Hudson Valley arts and culture.[25] In addition to providing outstanding instruction space for students and Hudson Valley schoolchildren, the SDMA allows New Paltz community members to regularly display their artwork. The Dorsky's facilities include research and seminar rooms for visitors, students and professors at SUNY New Paltz.

Also on SUNY New Paltz campus is the Fine Art Building Student Gallery and the Student Gallery in the Smiley Art Building which feature student works.


New Paltz boasts a diverse student body composed of African Americans (5%), Latinos (11%) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (3.7%). The majority of the student body feeds from Long Island (28.6%), New York City (23.5%) and the Hudson Valley Area (15.9%). Out of state students make up 6% of the total student body, while international students make up 1%. There is a 3:1 female to male ratio.


In 2007, Newsweek magazine rated SUNY New Paltz as America's "Hottest Small State School".[26]

The Courtyard.

In 2010, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine ranked SUNY New Paltz 53rd in the country (out of a list of 100 top schools) in academic quality and affordability.[27]

The college was also recently ranked 8th among the best public universities and 40th among public and private universities in the North that offer bachelor's and master's degree programs, according to the U.S. News & World Report's rankings for America's Best Colleges 2009.[28]

In the 2011 edition of U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges, SUNY New Paltz ranked 7th among top public colleges with Master's Degrees in the North. The school also was named 33rd in the nation for schools with Master's programs.[29]

New Paltz was named one of the best 222 colleges in the northeast by the Princeton Review in 2006.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranked New Paltz as one of the 100 best values among public colleges and universities in the nation.[30]

The school was also ranked 7th Counterculture college by High Times Magazine because of its active NORML/SSDP chapter,[31] a designation which received mixed reviews from administrators and student leaders.[32]

In 2013, Kiplinger ranked New Paltz highly once again. They ranked New Paltz 44th on their list of Best Values in Public Colleges in America, and the 5th best value in the SUNY system.[33]

Also in 2013, Affordable Colleges Online ranked New Paltz 2nd on its list of "Top 50 Affordable Colleges With High Returns."[34]

Current Information

The view overlooking "The Gunk" and Hasbrouck Residence Complex

SUNY at New Paltz currently offers bachelor's and master's degrees, with over 100 undergraduate and 50 graduate degree programs. Currently, almost 8,000 students attend SUNY at New Paltz—over 6,200 undergraduates and over 1,600 graduate students. The College President is Donald P. Christian, formerly the college's provost.[35] The Student Body President is Osatohamwen Okundaye.[36] The Presiding Officer of the Faculty is Janice Anderson.


SUNY New Paltz teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Hawks are a member of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming & diving and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and volleyball.

Clubs and traditions

"The Quad" at SUNY New Paltz

The student governance is operated by the Student Association, which funds most student activities through a mandatory fee. There are many clubs and fraternities and sororities. In addition, there is also an on-campus government, the Residence Hall Student Association (R.H.S.A.).[37][38]

The college has an auxiliary services corporation common to many state campuses in New York, called College Auxiliary Services, Inc. (CAS). This on-campus company operates the dining halls and bookstore, as well as being the source of discretionary funds for spending by the college president and the R.H.S.A.[39]

The college has a Foundation and an active Alumni Association.[40]

The college's official student newspaper is called "The Oracle." In 2010, it was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists for having the Best Affiliated Website for four-year college or university (Region 1 competition). It was named as a runner-up for the National Title.

Among the many clubs and associations on campus, SUNY New Paltz is home of The Nifty Nifflers, a Quidditch team inspired by the fictional sport played in the Harry Potter Series.

The campus T.V. station is known as WNPC TV. It broadcasts on channels 3, 6 and 8 in the New Paltz area.

The college's radio station, WFNP, is known as "The Edge". It broadcasts part-time at FM 88.7, and also streams online[41] Its public service announcement program is called the "voicebox of the Valley".

Alma mater

A view of the Shawangunk Ridge from campus.

In a valley fair and beautiful
Guarded well by mount and hill
Beats a heart whose pulse is rich and full
Of life, and pow'r, and thrill.
We love thee, Alma Mater dear.
To thee our hearts are true.

And we'll sing with voices strong and clear
To the Orange and Blue.
New Paltz, forever our Alma Mater,
We raise our song to thee.
The hills re-echo with glad crescendo
Our praises full and free.[42]

Notable alumni

Principals residence, about 1909

SUNY New Paltz boasts numerous alumni including:

Notable faculty

Presidents of SUNY at New Paltz

  • William Haggerty, 1944-1966
  • John Neumaier, 1968-1972
  • Stanley Coffman, 1972-1979
  • Alice Chandler, 1980-1996
  • Roger Bowen, 1996-2001
  • Steven G. Poskanzer, 2001-2010
  • Donald Christian, 2010–present

See also


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  5. ^ The Evening News - Google News Archive Search
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  25. ^ Official mission statement from
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  • Webdesign Team. "Parker Theater",, 2010 All Rights Reserved

External links

  • SUNY New Paltz
  • SUNY New Paltz Athletics
  • Student Association of New Paltz
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