State University of New York at New Paltz

State University of New York at New Paltz
Type Public
Established 1828
Endowment $7.37 million[1]
President Donald P. Christian[2]
Provost Stella Deen (Interim)[3]
Academic staff
313 (full-time)
294 (part-time)
Students 7,885
Undergraduates 6,582
Postgraduates 1,303
Address 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561, New Paltz, New York, US
41°44′37″N 74°05′02″W / 41.74361°N 74.08389°W / 41.74361; -74.08389
Campus Small town, 350 acres (140 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 New Paltz, in the U.S. state of New York. It traces its origins to the New Paltz Classical School, a secondary institution founded in 1828 and reorganized as an academy in 1833.[4] The college is one of four SUNY institutions in the New York metropolitan area.


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; the inaugural class of 112 students graduated in 1942. 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 African American studies was established in 1968. Three years later, the Experimental Studies Program (reorganized as the Innovative Studies Program in 1975) began to enroll students, instructors, and local residents in credited and cocurricular courses that encompassed myriad disciplines, including 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 George Pataki and SUNY chancellor Robert King expressed their displeasure. The controversy escalated when the Theatre Arts department staged 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 freshmen 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 freshmen 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 freshman class had a mean SAT score of 1172 and a high school GPA of 91. Also, 100% of New Paltz's accepted freshman 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 freshman 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, the 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 five years, totaling nearly $300 million,[20] including:

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 of the theater is a sound booth for digital audio equipment which 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 other technical facilities.[21]

Parker Theater

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

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 both sides of the stage are performance studio spaces. Classes are offered in acting, voice, movement, and musical theatre. On the same floor of the theater are 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 this theater.

Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall

Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall resides in College Hall, the oldest residence hall on campus. 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 of the performing arts programs at SUNY New Paltz. The hall offers a delicate setting for 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 performances.[21]

Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall is an important facility for the community. It 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 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, including 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 2:1 female to male ratio.


The courtyard

In 2007, Newsweek magazine rated SUNY New Paltz as America's "Hottest Small State School".[26] 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 US News & World Report's rankings for America's Best Colleges 2009.[28]

In the 2011 edition of US 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 the 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's 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 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 Rookie Reynoso.[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; 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, fraternities, and sororities. There is also an on-campus government, the Residence Hall Student Association (RHSA).[37][38]

The college has an auxiliary services corporation common to many state campuses in New York, called Campus 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 RHSA.[39]

The college has a foundation and an active alumni association.[40]

The college's official student newspaper is 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 is the Nifty Nifflers, a Quidditch team inspired by the fictional sport played in the Harry Potter series.

The campus TV station is 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 alumni include:

Notable faculty

Presidents of SUNY at New Paltz

See also


  1. "State University of New York at New Paltz: Foundation: Giving Clubs". Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  2. Biographies: SUNY New Paltz Administration, SUNY New Paltz
  3. "State University of New York at New Paltz: Academic Affairs Staff Directory". Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  4. "SUNY New Paltz Facts at a Glance". Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  5. The Evening News - Google News Archive Search
  6. Jeremiah Horrigan (2005-09-12). "Home of the future's time is past". Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  7. "STL:CHC - SUNY New Paltz Timeline". Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  8. "Scientists Say SUNY Dorms Pose No Health Dangers, Date: August 2010". SUNY New Paltz. 1991-12-29. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  9. "About New Paltz". Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  10. "Daily News America - Breaking national news, video, and photos - Homepage - NY Daily News". Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  11. "Daily News America - Breaking national news, video, and photos - Homepage - NY Daily News". Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  12. "Vulva's Morphia, 1995". Carolee Schneemann. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  13. Tychostup, Lorna, Chill Factor at SUNY New Paltz, Chronogram
  14. "Freshmen move into SUNY New Paltz dorms". YNN. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  15. SUNY New Paltz welcomes nearly 1,800 new students, SUNY New Paltz, August 16, 2006
  16. College attracts talented class of 1,300, SUNY New Paltz, August 11, 2008
  17. College to welcome 1,100 new students from record number of applicants, SUNY New Paltz, August 17, 2009
  18. What Do I Need to Get In, SUNY New Paltz, August 17, 2010
  19. OSI, SUNY and NYCDEP Sign an Agreement Ensuring the Future of Ashokan Field Campus, Open Space Institute, May 13, 2008
  20. Poskanzer, Steven (September 25, 2009), State of the College 2009, SUNY New Paltz
  21. 1 2 3 "Suny New Paltz Facilities". Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  22. "Residence Life: Shango/College Hall". Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  23. "Arts Listings:Music and Dance". Times Herald Record. November 26, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  24. "Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art". State University of New York at New Paltz. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  25. Official mission statement from
  26. Mathews, Jay (August 20, 2007), 25 Hottest Schools
  27. Woyton, Michael (January 5, 2010), Report: SUNY New Paltz a good deal, The Poughkeepsie Journal
  28. "US News & World Report ranks New Paltz 7th among top public colleges with master's degrees". August 17, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  29. "US News & World Report ranks New Paltz 7th among colleges with Master's degrees". August 24, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  30. "The Kiplinger 100: Best Values in Public Colleges". January 9, 2006. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  31. "The High Times Guide to Higher To Higher Education: Top 10 Counterculture Colleges". August 24, 2006. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  32. Horrigan, Jeremiah (September 1, 2006). "New Paltz gets ranked in marijuana magazine". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
  33. . January 2013 Retrieved May 15, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. "Top 50 Affordable Colleges With High Returns". May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  35. "Christian appointed president of SUNY New Paltz". Poughkeepsie Journal.
  36. "Recent Election Results". SUNY New Paltz Student Association. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  37. "RHSA official web site About webpage". Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  38. "RHSA official web site Officers list webpage". Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  39. "CAS official web site". Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  40. "Official web pages for Alumni, friends, visitors, and SUNY New Paltz Foundation". Retrieved November 26, 2010.
  41. WFNP 88.7 FM the EDGE, SUNY New Paltz
  42. Alma Mater, SUNY New Paltz
  43. Moritz, Owen. "Salvador Agron 'Cape Man'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  44. "Michael Badalucco - Biography". New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  45. McCormick, John; Zeleny, Jeff; Reid, Andy. "Rob Borsellino, 56, Former Sun-sentinel Columnist". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  46. Snel, Alan. "SUNY New Paltz gains field house loan". Times Herald Record. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  47. "Author Regina Calcaterra will speak at SUNY". Daily Freeman. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  48. Graduate Faculty, Virginia Tech
  49. "SUNY New Paltz Observer, Fall 2009" (PDF). September 1, 2009.
  50. "Music Industry Newswire". June 16, 2009.
  51. Debra Cassens Weiss (January 27, 2010). "Careers: Vinny of 'Jersey Shore' Says Law School Is Fallback Plan". American Bar Association's ABA Journal. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  52. Sokol, Rachel. "District Home Editions Queenswide Netflix star: There's no place like Queens". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  53. Seabrook, John. "Will Robert Kyncl and YouTube Revolutionize Television". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  54. 1 2 Barnes, Mike (2012-12-03). "Top Visual Effects Producer Eileen Moran Dies in New Zealand; Worked on 'Avatar,' 'The Hobbit'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  55. "Kingston's Ann Nocenti takes old superhero to new places". Kingston Times. Ulster Publishing. Retrieved 7 March 2015.


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