State University of New York at Fredonia

State University of New York at Fredonia
Motto Where Success is a Tradition
Type Public coeducational
Established 1826
Endowment $30.96 million (2013)[1]
President Virginia Schaefer Horvath, Ph.D.
Undergraduates 4941 (as of Fall 2014)
Postgraduates 273 (as of Fall 2014)
Location Fredonia, New York, USA
42°27′12″N 79°20′13″W / 42.45344°N 79.33697°W / 42.45344; -79.33697Coordinates: 42°27′12″N 79°20′13″W / 42.45344°N 79.33697°W / 42.45344; -79.33697
Campus Small Town,
249 acre campus
Colors Blue and white         
Athletics NCAA Division III, SUNYAC
17 varsity teams
Nickname Blue Devils

The State University of New York at Fredonia (also known as SUNY Fredonia and Fredonia State College) is a four-year liberal arts college located in Fredonia, New York, United States. It is a constituent college of the State University of New York.

Fredonia was one of the state teachers' colleges traditionally specializing in music education, but now offers a large number of programs in many areas, including a growing graduate division. The most popular areas of study include science, communication, music, education, and the social sciences. There are 82 majors and 41 minors.

The Fredonia campus, located in Chautauqua County (southwest of Buffalo) was designed by prominent architects I.M. Pei and Henry N. Cobb in 1968.[2]


Fredonia Academy (1826–1867)

Opened in 1826 as Fredonia Academy under its first principal Austin Smith, the academy enrolled eight students. The first classes began on October 4, 1826. Within one year the Academy had 136 students, 81 boys and 55 girls.[3] In 1827 it was a state normal school.[4]

The Academy reached peak enrollment in 1856 with 217 students. The school was plagued by financial shortages and was forced to close its doors in 1867.

Normal School (1867–1948)

In 1867, the college re-emerged for its second phase of existence, as a New York State Normal School. On December 2, 1867, the Normal (as it became commonly known) began classes with 147 students, 62 boys and 85 girls. For students preparing to be teachers, no tuition was charged, books were supplied, and travel costs were reimbursed; in return, students had to promise to teach after graduation. Those students not studying for the teaching profession paid tuition and provided their own textbooks.

During its 82 years, Fredonia Normal had a tumultuous existence. With a fluctuating student enrollment and threats of state funding reductions, the school seemed to be in constant jeopardy of closing. Nonetheless, gradually the school was upgraded. In 1930, 58 acres (230,000 m2) of land west of Central Avenue in the Village of Fredonia were bought to house a future campus. In 1938, music building (Mason Hall) was the first to be constructed on the Central Avenue site. New York State Governor Herbert Lehman signed the Feinberg Law in 1942 that changed the Normal Schools into Teacher Colleges, statewide.

State University System (1948–present)

With the formation of the State University of New York on March 13, 1948, the college created a Division of the Humanities in 1958, and in 1960 Fredonia was selected by State University to grant the A.B. degree. Previously, Fredonia's curriculum was restricted for teacher training only.

From the 1940s through the early 1960s, additional buildings were erected: Fenton Hall (administration), Jewett Hall (sciences), Dods Hall (physical education and athletics), an addition to Mason Hall, and residence halls Gregory, Alumni, McGinnies, Chautauqua, and Nixon.

In 1968, the master plan for the modern Central Avenue campus was drafted by the highly respected architectural firm of I.M. Pei & Partners of New York at the request of then-president Oscar E. Lanford. A complex came into being that consisted of the Rockefeller Arts Center (building for fine arts), Maytum Hall (administration), Daniel A. Reed Library, McEwen Hall, Campus Center student union (now Williams Center), Houghton Hall (sciences), and LoGrasso Medical Center (infirmary). Maytum Hall, McEwen Hall (lecture rooms), Reed Library, and the Williams Center were all inter-connected, including an elevated walkway connecting McEwen Hall and the Williams Center. Also included in the plan were the suite-style residence halls Kasling, Disney, Grissom, Eisenhower, and Erie Dining Hall (now closed); In 1970, Pei and Cobb returned to Fredonia to construct the second suite-style residence halls of Hemingway, Schulz, Igoe, and Hendrix.

In the early 1970s a second addition was made to Mason Hall (including practice rooms), science building Houghton Hall, and multi-discipline Thompson Hall. In 1981, construction was finally begun on the long-awaited major indoor sports facility, Steele Hall, which had been delayed for nearly nine years due to state funding difficulties throughout much of the 1970s. More recent campus buildings and additions have been the University Commons residence and dining hall, additions to Steele and Mason Halls, and another long-awaited project - the new science building adjoining Houghton Hall. A stadium for athletics - mainly soccer and lacrosse - which included an upgraded, lighted playing field, was recently built over the existing playing fields.


Architects I.M. Pei and Henry Cobb designed the master plan for the modernized campus in 1968. Many of the buildings are listed in architectural guides as examples of exceptional modern architecture. Some are described in architectural history books. The National Building Museum listed the SUNY Fredonia campus as one of I.M. Pei's ideal places to visit in its 1991 journal "Blueprints."[5]

Pei is credited with designing Maytum Hall, Williams Center, Reed Library, Rockefeller Arts Center, and McEwen Hall, as well as its characteristic circular perimeter road, aptly named Ring Road. The design of Daniel Reed Library earned Henry Cobb and I.M. Pei the 1969 Prestressed Concrete Institute Award.

Academic and administrative buildings on and off campus


U.S. News and World Report's 2016 edition of America's Best Colleges ranked Fredonia 66th on their list of Regional Universities (North). Graduate program Speech-Language Pathology is ranked 163th.

Campus construction projects

Science Center

In 2011, campus officials broke ground on the $60 million Science Center, the largest capital project in Fredonia’s history. When combined with the renovation of Houghton Hall (to be adjoined to the new science building), the complex will house all of the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math). Although the building was first proposed in the early 1970s, planning for the now-realized three-story structure began in 2006. It is to include chemistry, biology and science education classrooms, labs, and offices, and to provide support for the environmental sciences. At over 92,000 square feet, the structure will include a 120-seat auditorium to accommodate traditional and group learning activities; two "smart" classrooms suitable for all learning styles; an atrium featuring a café, displays and open seating; a roof-top observatory; an attached greenhouse; and several student reading and conference rooms.[8]

Faculty offices, situated in pairs, will be placed between teaching and research laboratories and also include informal teaching spaces composed of write-on glass walls and seating. Its many architectural highlights include a science balcony with a vaulted roof and views into a courtyard that will contain native plants and local geologic features. Visitors will be able to view first-floor laboratories from corridors and windows from the courtyard.

The center was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, a New York City-based firm with a global reputation for excellence in the design of academic and scientific research facilities. Its portfolio includes projects at Cornell University, New York University and the University of Buffalo. Rochester, N.Y.-based Pike Company, the lead contractor, has built facilities at Cornell and the University of Rochester, and also directed the recent renovation of Fredonia’s Nixon Hall.

Williams Center

The first and second floor interiors of this circular campus icon have been updated and reconfigured to make the facility more appealing and inviting. New glass walls around the Multipurpose Room, combined with reviving the building’s signature skylights, create an open atmosphere. Major entrances are modified to improve accessibility and traffic flow inside the building; the loading dock is being reworked to create better sight lines that enhance pedestrian and vehicle safety.

Below-the-surface upgrades includes new wiring, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, new audio/visual equipment in classrooms and conference areas, and an updated sprinkler system. The building will also have enhanced acoustics throughout.

The basement, which houses the Centre Point Food Court, El Diablo Azul and Horizon Room, have recently been upgraded. In addition to the Multipurpose Room, the Williams Center also housed Financial Aid, Student Accounts, Lifelong Learning and Special Programs, the Student Association, Campus Life, the ticket office, The Leader, and the SUNY Fredonia Federal Credit Union, which have all been relocated.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., of Batavia, N.Y., is the general contractor for this project that’s included in the five-year capital plan launched in 2008. The first and second floors, which contain over 60,000 square feet, have now all been remodeled.

Dods Hall Fitness Center

Construction for the Dods Hall Fitness Center began in May 2012. The $2.7 million project was completed the following year and opened in January 2013. Located in the space that once housed the old swimming pool, the fitness center accommodates equipment for both athletes and the general campus.[9]

Rockefeller Arts Center addition

Projected at 40,000 square feet, this long-sought, two-story addition will be the fine arts center’s first expansion. The project, targeted to go out to bid in December, will accommodate relatively new programs that were not offered when the center opened 42 years ago, and also consolidate other curriculum offerings under one roof. For example, Dance and the Media Arts programs – now tucked away in Dods Hall and McEwen Hall, respectively – will be relocated to Rockefeller. Ceramics and sculpture studios will vacate their second floor space in favor of more practical first floor spaces.

Key features of the addition will include a multipurpose room to host an assortment of events, such as pre-concert lectures, post-performance discussions, film and video showings, and small receptions. It will also result in three new dance studios, including one with flexible, tiered seating that can double as a performance space; a new, attractive public entrance; and a café.

Academic schools

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Undergraduate degree programs include Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts, Visual Arts and New Media, and Art History, as well as Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, Musical Theatre, Theatrical Production and Design, Visual Arts and New Media, and Dance.

School of Music

The School of Music operates under the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Undergraduate degree programs include: Music Performance, Music Education, Composition, Musical Theatre, Music Therapy, Sound Recording Technology, Music, Jazz Studies Concentration.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has 15 departments (215 full-time and 154 part-time faculty): Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Communication, Communication Disorders & Sciences, Computer and Information Sciences, English, Geosciences, History, Mathematical Sciences, Modern Languages & Literature, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice.

Undergraduate degree programs include: Applied Mathematics, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Communication, Communication Disorders and Sciences, Computer Science, Computer and Information Sciences, Criminal Justice, Engineering (Cooperative), English, French, Geochemistry, Geology, Geophysics, History, Industrial Management, Interdisciplinary Studies (American Studies, Arts Administration, Environmental Sciences, Exercise Science, Sport and Exercise Psychology, International Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and a self-design option), Mathematics, Mathematics-Physics, Medical Technology, Molecular Genetics, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Spanish. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences also offers programs that lead to teacher certification in Science Education, Math, English, Spanish, French, Social Studies, and History.

Graduate degree programs include: Biology, Chemistry, English, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Speech Language Pathology.

College of Education

Undergraduate degree programs include: Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 2), Childhood Education (Grades 1-6), Childhood Inclusive Education (Grades 1-6) Adolescence Education programs include: Biology, Chemistry Earth Science, English, French, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies, Spanish, Music Education

School of Business

Undergraduate majors include: Business Administration (with concentrations in Finance, Management, or Marketing), Accounting, Economics, Sport Management,[10] and Music Industry.[11]

Residence halls

SUNY Fredonia has 14 residence halls. These halls consist of four single-sex and ten coeducational buildings. (Grissom Hall became co-Ed Fall 2016). Students also have a choice of building style: corridor, suite, kitchen-suite, or independent living. Corridor style residence halls are long, staggered hallways with no sections, whereas suites are short corridors with either staggered hallways extending from the main corridor, or doors leading into the individual suites. All rooms are double rooms though University Commons does have single rooms

Corridor halls

Suite-style halls

Suite-style residence halls are placed into 'Quads': Andrews and Kirkland. They are groups of four residence halls either in an L pattern (Andrews) or a square pattern (Kirkland). The buildings are connected by floor, but residents can not go through the doors, except for emergencies. Suites are numbered in a 'Suite:room' fashion. For Example: 212-A is Suite 212, room A.

Kirkland complex

Kirkland has private common rooms contained within the suite though common rooms may be used as double rooms when necessary. Eisenhower and Disney Hall house the 'Kitchen Suites' meant for upperclassmen. There is a fee associated with moving into a kitchen suite, however a student does not need a meal plan. Kitchen suites take up the 'D' room of a suite, and the common room is connected to the kitchen. Therefore, only six people live in a kitchen suite.

Andrews complex

Andrews buildings have shared common areas, and private suites. The shared common areas are open to all other residents, but the bathroom, bedroom and suite-hallway are separated from the open areas. Andrews has its own dedicated parking lot next to Igoe and Hendrix. Those two halls have exclusive rights to using that parking lot.

On campus student media

WCVF-FM is a public FM radio station located in McEwen Hall, broadcasting from the top of Maytum Hall on campus. Licensed to the State University of New York at Fredonia, the station broadcasts on 88.9 MHz on the FM dial. "CVF" stands for "Campus and Community Voice of Fredonia," the station's slogan. The station primarily features "alternative" rock, but includes an eclectic mix of genres at consistent times throughout the week. Listeners can catch blocks of Polka, Spanish, Blues, Jazz, Folk, Reggae, Hip Hop and anything in between. Live programs hosted by student and community jocks can be of any format/genre from talk, music, to radio drama. WCVF also covers local sports and includes live broadcasts/commentary for several Blue Devil teams. WCVF broadcasts National Public Radio (NPR) Monday through Friday: Morning Edition (7- 9 am) and All Things Considered (4-6 pm). These broadcasts are achieved through a partnership with NPR member station WQLN-FM in Erie, Pennsylvania. WCVF-FM has a sister station WDVL which broadcasts via internet streaming and a local cable channel.

The Normal Leader was created in September 1899 by the Zetesian society, an all-male literary organization. The Normal Leader was a monthly newspaper, costing ten cents a copy or fifty cents for a yearly subscription. On September 28, 1936 The Normal Leader became what we know today as The Leader on its Vol. XXXVI article No. 3 even though the school would not change its name to SUNY Fredonia until 1948. The Leader is produced by a team of Fredonia students, some of whom receive stipends from the Student Association. The Leader is printed by the Corry Journal in Corry, Pennsylvania and is distributed free on campus and in the surrounding community. Today, The Leader features mainly news which is pertinent to the SUNY Fredonia campus and community. This weekly publication comes out every Wednesday during the academic year and can be found around the SUNY Fredonia Campus.

WNYF is the Student television station of the University. WNYF is sponsored by the Student Association, and was founded in 1979 by two communications students. WNYF's programming includes student-produced programs ranging from entertainment, music, Educational television and even a student-written soap opera. In the station's first few months of existence, it began televising the annual dance marathon that raised funds for Muscular Dystrophy. WNYF maintains an archive of every show produced by the students since 1979. The station was relocated several times, and WNYF settled into its current location in Hendrix Hall in 1997. WNYF broadcasts to the campus on cable TV Channel 6, and to the Public-access television on Channels 17 in Fredonia and 19 in Dunkirk.

Notable alumni




Politics, government and law

Literature and education



President Tenure Notes
Joseph A. Allen 1867–1869 Born on April 25, 1819, Allen was the first "President" of The Fredonia Normal School. Prior to coming to Fredonia he was the Principal of both Syracuse Academy and The State Reform School and at Westboro where he was principal for seven years. He died on July 17, 1904.
J.W. Armstrong 1869–1898
Francis B. Palmer 1898–1907
Myron T. Dana 1908–1922
Howard Griffth Burdge 1922–1928
Hermann Cooper 1929–1931
Leslie R. Gregory 1931–1948
Harry W. Porter 1953–1961
Oscar E. Lanford 1961–1971
Dallas K. Beal 1971–1984
Donald A. MacPhee 1985–1996
Dennis L. Hefner 1997–June 30, 2012 Hefner received his bachelor's degree in economics from California State University and both his Masters in economics and Ph. D from Washington State University. Prior to coming to Fredonia he worked for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington, D.C. and also as Vice President of Academic Affairs at California State University in San Bernardino from 1990 to 1994. He also worked as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities from 1994 to 1996.
Virginia Schaefer Horvath July 1, 2012 – Present Dr. Horvath has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Fredonia since 2005. She was appointed by the SUNY Board of Trustees on March 28, 2012 after a six-month national search process and assumed office on July 1, 2012.


Main article: Fredonia Blue Devils

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

When SUNY Fredonia was first known as the Fredonia Normal School, the athletics teams were known as the "Normalites". On January 27, 1936, The Leader issued an article which publicized a contest to come up with a new name for the teams. There were two names the committee had chosen, Blue Jackets and Blue Devils. The name Blue Devils seemed to be used more than Blue Jackets. In the issue of The Leader on September 30, 1952; the name Blue Devils was used officially for the first time.


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