The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh (SUNY Plattsburgh or Plattsburgh State College) is a public liberal arts college
in Plattsburgh, New York
. The college was founded in 1889 and officially opened in 1890. The college is part of the State University of New York
(SUNY) system and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
SUNY Plattsburgh has 5,109 students, of whom 4,680 are undergraduates.
Founding of the normal school
Former state politician and influential Plattsburgh businessman, Smith M. Weed, championed endlessly the cause to build a state normal school
(a teachers' college) in the city of Plattsburgh. After multiple proposals to the New York state senate going as far back as 1869, The final bill was formally proposed on January 12, 1888 by George S. Weed, Smith Weed's son and then state assemblyman. With the strong backing of Assemblyman General Stephen Moffitt, the Plattsburgh Normal and Training School bill was passed by both houses of the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Governor David B. Hill
in June 1889. The board of directors adopted official by-laws for Plattsburgh State Normal and Training School on September 2, 1889.
At a meeting held on June 28, 1889, it was decided the new normal school would be on land known as "the former athletic grounds", bounded on the north by Court Street, on the east by Wells Street, on the south by Brinkerhoff Street, and on the west by Beekman Street. However, these plans were dropped in favor of a larger plot created by combining land on each side of Court Street west of Beekman Street, so that "Court Street, one of the finest residence streets in the village, leads directly to the main entrance".
This is the same location where Hawkins Hall
now stands on the current campus of SUNY Plattsburgh.
The impressive structure, known as "Normal Hall", was constructed by Brown Brothers of Mohawk, New York
, who also built the Court House in downtown Plattsburgh.
Plattsburgh State Normal and Training School officially opened with its first day of classes on the morning of September 3, 1890. The school's first principal was Fox Holden, former Superintendent of the Plattsburgh Union Graded Schools.
Holden served for only two years, from 1890 until the first graduating class in 1892.
Fire of 1929
On January 26, 1929, a fire that began in the boiler room destroyed the Plattsburgh Normal School. Aided by high winds and the building's well-oiled floors, the structure was engulfed in flames within a half-hour and demolished within an hour. Six children who were being given music lessons were safely lowered out the second story window by their teacher Lyndon Street.
With an extensive shuffling of city services, classes resumed the following Wednesday at City Hall in downtown. The longer-term solution was to share facilities with a number of the city's K-12
public schools. This half-day schooling arrangement was necessary for the survival of Plattsburgh Normal School but proved to be too disruptive to public school students, and the practice was discontinued in September 1930.
Plans were soon approved for a new structure to replace Normal Hall. Plans were formally approved on October 10. The new building would be in the same location and be twice as large as the old Normal Hall. The new structure was completed in 1932, and in 1955 it was named Hawkins Hall
in honor of George K. Hawkins, the principal of Plattsburgh Normal School from 1898 to 1933.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Plattsburgh State Normal and Training School was renamed State University of New York College at Plattsburgh when it joined the State University of New York
(SUNY) system with its establishment in 1948. When the school became part of the SUNY system, it changed from a two-year teacher's institution to a four-year, public liberal arts college
During the 1960s and 1970s, SUNY Plattsburgh, as well as the whole State University of New York system, underwent rapid growth. Many of the more modern buildings on campus were constructed during this time period, including the Angell College Center, Feinberg Library, and one low-rise and several high-rise dormitories.
Since 1978, the student population has remained relatively small, ranging between 5,500 and 6,600 matriculated students. Enrollment was the highest in the Fall 1988 semester, with 6,594 students. In fall 2017, enrollment was 5,719 students, the first year of increased enrollments after several years of declining enrollment at the college. The following year, enrollment declined by 15 students, to 5,704. In Fall 2018, the average class size was 22 and the student-faculty ratio was 16:1.
In the 21st century, the campus has seen the completion of two new buildings: the Hudson Hall Annex and Au Sable Hall. The majority of dormitory buildings received renovations during the period as well. The 2010s also saw the renovation of Hawkins Pond, the Podium walkways, and various athletic fields.
Presidents and Principals of SUNY Plattsburgh
Prior to the founding of the SUNY system, the chief executive of the Plattsburgh State Normal and Training School was known as the principal. When the SUNY system was founded in 1948 and the Normal School joined and became SUNY Plattsburgh, Charles Ward, who was principal at the time, became the president of the college. Alexander Enyedi
is the current president.
The primary campus of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh is in the city of Plattsburgh
, in the North Country
region of upstate New York
. The campus is near Lake Champlain
and the Adirondack Mountains
, in a region known as the Champlain Valley
. The closest major city outside of Plattsburgh is Burlington, Vermont
, which is less than "as the crow flies
," but takes about an hour to travel by ferry. The closest major city within New York is Albany
(headquarters of the SUNY system
), to the south. SUNY Plattsburgh also has a strong connection with Canada due to the Canada–US border
being just north and the city of Montreal
just over away.
The SUNY Plattsburgh main campus consists of 36 buildings on ,
in an area just west of the intersection of Broad Street and Rugar Street. The center of campus is Amité Plaza, a large outdoor courtyard surrounded by many of the most essential buildings on campus, including the Angell College Center, the Myers Fine Arts Building, and Feinberg Library.
The iconic focal point of Amité Plaza is a massive metal sculpture of two people shaking hands. This sculpture, for which the courtyard was named, was created by renowned sculptor William King
. It represents amity
between the United States and Canada.
The most distinctive academic building on campus is Hawkins Hall, located on Beekman Street between Broad Street and Cornelia Street. Hawkins Hall replaced the original Plattsburgh Normal School which burned to the ground at that same location in 1929. The oldest building on campus is Champlain Valley Hall, while Macdonough Hall is the oldest dormitory
. Other dorms line Rugar Street, including five 9-story, and one 10-story high-rises.
Several key athletic facilities are located west of the main campus at the Field House Complex. Among them is the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena
, the 3,500 seat home to Cardinal Hockey. SUNY Plattsburgh also has remote sites, ranging from Valcour Educational Conference Center in nearby Peru, New York
to a Branch Campus in Queensbury, New York
(near Glens Falls
). SUNY Plattsburgh owns a campground outdoor education center, Twin Valleys, in Lewis, New York
, approximately a 45-minute drive away. Consisting of several cabins with beds, a lake, a low-ropes course, and a dining building, Twin Valleys is used for a variety of events, including RA training, dorm floor trips, and the annual Odyssey experience.
Artwork is an essential aspect of the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. The Plattsburgh State Art Museum
is considered a "Museum Without Walls", comprising over 4,600 historic and contemporary works of art. Two prominent permanent exhibitions are the Rockwell Kent
Gallery and Collection and the Nina Winkel Sculpture Court. The Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection is in the Feinberg Library. It is the largest collection of Rockwell Kent
's work in the United States. The Nina Winkel Sculpture Court is in the Myers Fine Arts Building. It is the largest display in the country devoted to the art of one woman. Temporary Exhibitions are held at the Burke Gallery, Plattsburgh State Art Museum, including "Views of Lake Champlain" by Canadian artist Samir Sammoun
, in cooperation of the State of New York and New York State First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson
Alexander Enyedi became president of SUNY Plattsburgh on January 21, 2020. Enyedi is a member of the SUNY Plattsburgh College Council, which serves as an oversight and advisory body to the senior administration within the State University of New York
system. In accordance with New York State Education Law, nine of the ten Council members are appointed to seven-year terms by the Governor of New York, with the one student elected to the remaining post for a one-year term.
Academics and demographics
SUNY Plattsburgh is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
The college offers more than 60 baccalaureate degrees and a wide variety of minors
within three principal academic divisions; Arts and Sciences, an internationally accredited School of Business, and Education, Health and Human Services. Graduate degrees are offered in Education, School Psychology, speech-language pathology, and liberal arts. All courses offered at Plattsburgh are taught by faculty,
the majority of which hold doctoral degrees.
A few of SUNY Plattsburgh's more notable academic programs include:
* Education – Plattsburgh was founded as a teacher's college and Education is still the school's largest major.
* Center for Communication and Journalism – Encompassing four distinct majors, it is the only center of its kind in the SUNY system.
* Canadian Studies – The most comprehensive undergraduate Canadian studies program in the United States.
* Expeditionary Studies – The only collegiate academic program in the nation to focus on rock climbing, ice climbing, free-heel skiing and sea kayaking.
*Robotics – One of only 19 undergraduate robotics programs in the nation and the only one within the SUNY system.
59% of SUNY Plattsburgh students are female and 41% are male. In 2005, 4,061 students (75%) were categorized as White
, 261 (5%) Black
, 216 (4%) Hispanic
, and 111 (2%) of Asian
descent. That year, SUNY Plattsburgh stated it was their goal to raise the number of minority
students from 11% to 13% or greater by 2010.
The number of incoming freshmen who classified themselves as minority rose to 16% in 2007, 17.2% in 2009, and to 22.5% in 2011.
Over 90% of students originate from within New York state, 4% of students come from other states, and foreign students comprise 5% of the student population.
52% of students live in on-campus dormitories, a requirement for freshmen and sophomores. 21% of the student population are commuters, while 27% are considered off-campus renters.
Research and endowment
The Plattsburgh College Foundation helps raise funds for SUNY Plattsburgh through charitable donations. 90% of gifts received go towards financial aid, including $750,000 for student scholarships in 2006. The remaining 10% of funds raised by The Plattsburgh Fund goes towards activities, improvements in campus technology and improvements in the welfare of the college. Alumni donations account for 40% of all donations.
Plattsburgh State competes in 19 different intercollegiate sports at the Division III
level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
. Depending on the sport, Plattsburgh teams compete within the State University of New York Athletic Conference
(SUNYAC) or the Eastern College Athletic Conference
(ECAC). Team sports with both men's and women's teams include ice hockey
, track and field
, and cross country
. Plattsburgh also has men's teams in baseball
, and women's teams in softball
, and volleyball
. All Plattsburgh State intercollegiate athletic teams are named either the Cardinals or Lady Cardinals.
Cardinal Hockey is the most notable of Plattsburgh State sports, featuring perennial national powerhouses in both men's and women's ice hockey
The men's hockey team has won three NCAA D-III Championships (1987, 1992, and 2001) and 18 SUNYAC
Championships. The women's hockey team has won six NCAA D-III Championships (2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017) and five ECAC
Western Division Championships (2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, and 2015). The 2013–2014 Lady Cardinals' team blew out the Norwich Cadets in the 2014 NCAA Championship in Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena
, 9–2 in front of a crowd of over 1600. They finished their season with an outstanding record, 28–1–1. The Lady Cards also claimed the title of 2013–2014 ECAC West Champions. The previous year (2012–2013) the Lady Cardinals were defeated in the NCAA semifinals, moving on to grasp a third-place title. They ended with a 29–1–0 record, also winning 2012–2013 ECAC West Championships. The 2006–2007 Lady Cardinals' team that won the National Championship went undefeated (27–0–2); a feat accomplished for just the fourth time in NCAA hockey history (men's or women's at any level). The Lady Cardinals won NCAA D-III championships in the 2013–2014, 2014–2015, 2015–2016, 2016–2017, and 2018–2019 seasons.
Cardinal hockey players have been named first team All-Americans
a total of 19 times. For the men's team, Tracey Belanger (1999), Jason Desloover (1998),
Steve Moffat (1998),
Lenny Pereira (1993, 1994), Joe Ferras (1987), Peter DeArmas (1985), Gaetan D'Anjou (1982), and Doug Kimura (1980, 1981) have been first team All-Americans. For the women's team, Shannon Stewart (2013), Alison Era (2013), Sydney Aveson (2013), Teal Gove (2012), Kara Buehler (2011), Stephanie Moberg (2009), Danielle Blanchard (2007, 2008),
Bree Doyle (2006, 2007),
Jenn Clarke (2006),
Erin O'Brien (2005), and Elizabeth Gibson (2004) have been first team All-Americans. Blanchard won the Laura Hurd Award
as the NCAA Division III Player of the Year in 2008.
Plattsburgh-Oswego hockey rivalry
In 1990, the Cardinal Hockey Boosters Club began a tradition of fans throwing hundreds of tennis balls
onto the ice after the first SUNY Plattsburgh goal was scored against the visiting SUNY Oswego
Lakers. There are a number of reasons tennis balls may have been chosen. It is believed that tennis balls were chosen because the Head Coach for Oswego's hockey team was also the school's tennis coach; because tennis balls matched the bright yellow color of the Lakers' jerseys; or because the tennis coach from Oswego State had left to work for Plattsburgh. In 1998, Oswego goaltender
Carl Antifonario shutout
the Cardinals in Plattsburgh, denying fans the opportunity to throw any tennis balls. This accomplishment led to an Oswego counter-tradition of throwing hundreds of bagel
s (representing a zero; also said to represent "bird food" for Plattsburgh's mascot: a Cardinal) on their home ice following the first goal scored against the Cardinals in Oswego. The SUNY Plattsburgh tradition of throwing tennis balls at home games against Oswego lasted for 18 years but, following Oswego's lead two years earlier, it was finally ended by school administrators on January 25, 2008.
In 1904, Plattsburgh Normal College basketball team was shut out by Potsdam Normal College by a score of 123–0.
After an undetermined period without a team, Plattsburgh State officially rejoined intercollegiate men's basketball in 1921. Since that time, Cardinals basketball has gone to seven NCAA tournaments (1975, 1995, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013), including a Final Four
appearance in 1976.
The men's lacrosse team has only made the SUNYAC playoffs once in school history, which was during the 2013 season. Though to some this might not seem like an accomplishment, to others the program has made tremendous strides. Not only was the team's first playoff appearance in the 2013, but also the team's first ever hosted playoff game, first ever victory in a playoff game and first ever appearance in the SUNYAC championship. That game resulted in a 9–2 loss to SUNY Cortland though SUNY Plattsburgh was the first team to hold SUNY Cortland under double digits that entire season.
Cross Country/Track & Field
The men's cross-country team has qualified for the NCAA Championships on ten separate occasions, most recently in 2008. Their top finish was in 1975, after placing 9th. The women have qualified for six NCAA Championships. The 2007 women's were the National Runner-up to Amherst College.
The men's track and field team has boasted nineteen NCAA All-American athletes, including two Nationals Champions; Andy Hastings (1986) and Chris Verkey (1998). In 2011, Mike Heymann set a school record by winning All-American honors for a seventh time. The women's track and field team has seen ten NCAA All-Americans, including National Champion Kathy Kane (1989).
The Cardinals sponsored a men's wrestling team for eleven seasons, from 1963–64 to 1973–74. They had two winning seasons, 1967 (7-6) coached by Bob Kopinsky, and 1968 (8-6) coached by Don Learman.
The Student Association, also known as the S.A., is the student run government body at Plattsburgh State. Their mission is to voice the concerns and interests of the students, as well as provide services, programs, and activities for the college community.
The SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association was founded in 1963 and replaced the former House of Delegates. Then-president of the college George Angell encouraged student Marty Mannix to pitch the idea for a new student run government to the administration and student body. The campus overwhelmingly approved of the changes, and Mannix was voted in as the first Student Association President.
Honors Student Association
The Honors Student Association (HSA) is an independent organization from the college's Student Association. Started in 1984, the HSA acts as the student government for the Redcay Honors College at Plattsburgh. The HSA organizes and coordinates a wide variety of social activities to benefit the honors students, the campus, and the Plattsburgh community. All students in the Honors College are automatically members of the HSA.
Cardinal Points is the name of the student-run weekly newspaper. In 2007, the Associated Collegiate Press
named Cardinal Points as a finalist for a Newspaper Pacemaker Award, the highest award given to college media. An October 2015 cover of ''Cardinal Points'' gained national attention after being accused of depicting a blackface
The Cardinal Yearbook is published by the Journalism department. Plattsburgh State also has a full color local magazine published annually, once called All Points North, now renamed Do North since 2013. Plattsburgh State Television (PSTV) is the student run television station, and 93.9 WQKE
is the student run radio station. The communications department also runs WARP, a radio station streaming over the cable bulletin board in the Plattsburgh area.
Residence Hall Councils
Organized by the Office of Housing and Residence Life, each residence hall has a residence hall council, each headed by a respective elected president, vice president, secretary, and representatives for each floor. Using a budget provided from the Hall Council Fees portion of tuition, hall council members acting as a small municipal body organize events, parties, barbecues, tournaments, and sometimes competitions or collaborations with other residence halls on campus. The hall council is often responsible for creating and maintaining dorm newsletters as well.
* Thomas LeBlanc
- President of the George Washington University
, 2017 -
* Jack Russell Weinstein
(1991) - Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at The University of North Dakota, Author, Radio personality.
* Dave Annable
– Television actor best known for his roles on ''Reunion
'' and ''Brothers & Sisters
''. Named the No. 7 'Sexiest Men Alive' by People Magazine
* Owen Benjamin
– comedian, actor, conspiracy theorist, and Holocaust denier.
* Tom Chapin
– Grammy Award
-winning musician. Class of 1966.
* Bryan O'Byrne
– Character actor
in movies, television shows, and commercials. Former member of the Emmy Nominating Committee.
* Michael Rispoli
– Television actor best known for his role as Jackie Aprile Sr. on The Sopranos
. Class of 1982.
* Tim Robbins
– Academy Award
-winning film actor best known for his roles in ''Bull Durham
'' and ''The Shawshank Redemption
* Nancy Kress
– Science fiction writer best known for her Hugo
Award-winning novella ''Beggars in Spain
''. Class of 1969.
* Edie Huggins
– Pioneering and long-time television reporter in Philadelphia. Daytime television soap opera and motion picture actress. Class of 1963.
* John Daly
– Skeleton racer since 2001. Qualified for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and named to the 2014 Olympic team. Graduated with a communications degree in 2008.
* Doug Hoffman
– Republican candidate in the 2009 special election and the Republican Primary of 2010 in the 23rd District races.
* Wallace E. Pierce
– U.S. Congressman
representing New York's 31st congressional district
from 1939 to 1940. Class of 1903.
* Dan Scavino
- White House Director of Social Media under President Donald Trump
* Anthony D. Weiner
– Convicted sex offender and former U.S. Congressman
who represented New York's 9th congressional district
from 1999 to 2011. Class of 1985.
* William Love
– The ninth Episcopal bishop of Albany
. Class of 1988.
Notable faculty and staff
* Eliza Kellas
– Renowned educator and suffragist
. Former principal of Emma Willard School
and co-founder of Russell Sage College
. Kellas served at Plattsburgh Normal School from 1891 to 1901, reaching the position of Preceptress (equivalent to Dean of Students).
* Jacques Lemaire
– Former NHL ice hockey
player, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame
in 1984. Lemaire was an Assistant Coach for Cardinal Hockey during the 1981–1982 season.
* Peter Frampton
's classic rock
hit song ''Do You Feel Like We Do
'', from the best-selling album ''Frampton Comes Alive!
'' was recorded live on the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh on November 22, 1975. This Student Association sponsored concert was held at Memorial Hall.
* On July 10, 1976, the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh served as the official staging area
for the United States Olympic Team before leaving for the 1976 Summer Olympics
in nearby Montreal, Quebec
, Canada. President Gerald Ford
visited the college campus to address the 425 Olympic athletes outside the Field House.
* SUNY Plattsburgh served as the filming location for two documentary films: 1982's Academy Award
-winning If You Love This Planet
and parts of 2003's The Yes Men
* In September 2011, the UK Band: One Direction filmed their music video "Gotta Be You
" on the Plattsburgh Campus.
Collection of photographs of Plattsburgh Normal School(Courtes
SUNY Plattsburgh Special Collections
North Country Digital History Project
Category:Educational institutions established in 1889
Category:State University of New York university colleges
State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Category:Education in Clinton County, New York
Category:1889 establishments in New York (state)
State University of New York Plattsburghi