State University of New York at New Paltz
SUNY New Paltz seal.svg
TypePublic university
Established1828; 194 years ago (1828)
Parent institution
State University of New York
Endowment$26.8 million (2019)[1]
PresidentDarrell P. Wheeler[2]
ProvostBarbara G. Lyman [3]
Academic staff
372 (full-time)
302 (part-time)
Students7,489 (Fall 2020)[4]
Undergraduates6,597 (Fall 2020)[4]
Postgraduates892 (Fall 2020)[4]
Location, ,
United States

41°44′37″N 74°05′02″W / 41.74361°N 74.08389°W / 41.74361; -74.08389
CampusSmall town, 257 acres (104 ha)
ColorsBlue and orange
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III
MascotHugo the Hawk
SUNY New Paltz logo.svg

The State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz or New Paltz) is a public university in New Paltz, 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.[5]


Old Main, the oldest building on campus
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.

The Cambodian Campaign and concomitant Kent State shootings in May 1970 led to a protest that culminated in a five-day student occupation of the Administration Building, subsequently renamed Old Main after the opening of the Haggerty Administration Building two years later. A March 1974 sit-in at the Haggerty Building 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.[6]

Van den Berg Hall is the second oldest building on campus. Today it is the home to the business program.
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.[7]

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.[8] 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
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.[9]

The college was rebranded as the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1994.[10]

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").[11] 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[12] 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."[13]

The Excelsior Concourse, one of the busiest parts of campus
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.[14] Bowen later resigned.[15]


Atrium of the Student Union Building, opened in 2010
Atrium of the Student Union Building, opened in 2010
Inside the Atrium
Inside the Atrium

The SUNY New Paltz campus consists of about 216 acres (87 ha) in the small town of New Paltz, New York. There are 14 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, Science Hall and extensive gymnasium and sports areas.

The college also operated the Ashokan 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;[16] it is now operated as the Ashokan Center.

SUNY New Paltz has undergone extensive construction projects since 2008, totaling nearly $300 million,[17] 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.[19]

Parker Theater

College Hall, home to the Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall, and the oldest residence hall on campus
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.[19]

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

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.[20]

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.[19]

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.[21]

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art

At the center of campus is the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, which opened in 2001. With more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space in six galleries, the Dorsky is one of the largest art museums in the SUNY system.[22] 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 American Art (with emphasis on the Hudson Valley and Catskill Regions), 19th, 20th and 21st century photography, metals, and a "world collection" of art and artifacts dating back to ancient times and representing diverse cultures. 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.[23] 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, which features student works.

Student life


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.

For the first time in program history, New Paltz men’s volleyball team captured the NCAA Division III Tournament title in 2016. The win also marked the first NCAA title for any New Paltz team.[24] Three years later, they defeated UC Santa Cruz to win their second championship in the sport and second for the school overall.[25]

Greek life

Recognized fraternities and sororities at the university include:[26]

Sororities Fraternities
Alpha Epsilon Phi Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Kappa Alpha Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Kappa Phi agonian sorority Alpha Phi Delta
Chi Upsilon Sigma Kappa Alpha Psi
Delta Phi Lambda (recognized interest group) Kappa Delta Phi
Delta Sigma Theta Lambda Sigma Upsilon
Sigma Iota Alpha Lambda Upsilon Lambda
Kappa Delta Phi MALIK
Lambda Pi Upsilon Phi Iota Alpha
Mu Sigma Upsilon (Provisional Interest Group) Pi Alpha Nu
Omega Phi Beta Tau Kappa Epsilon
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi (Recognized Interest Group) Sigma Phi Rho
Sigma Delta Tau
Sigma Lambda Upsilon
Zeta Phi Beta

Clubs and traditions

The quad at SUNY New Paltz
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. Clubs that are recognized by the Student Association are organized into one of six boards: Academic, Advocacy, Athletic, Fine and Performing Arts, Media, and Social and Cultural.[27] There is also an on-campus government, the Residence Hall Student Association (RHSA).[28][29]

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.[30]

The college has a foundation and an active alumni association.[31]

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.[32] Its public service announcement program is called the "voicebox of the Valley".[citation needed]

Beginning in 2006, "geeky" SUNY New Paltz clubs have run two conventions on campus: "New Paltz Convention" in the Fall and "Conquest" in the Spring. The first year the conventions were run by the Anime, Live Action Role Play, and Gaming clubs on campus. Each year various other "geeky" clubs have taken part. In the 2017-2018 school year, the two conventions were combined into one event, the New Paltz Convention (NPC) in the Spring.

Among the social and cultural clubs is the Asian and Pacific Islander Student Alliance (APISA), which hosts several programs, trips, and events celebrating and spreading Asian culture and history. Some of APISA's yearly traditions include a week-long film festival series focusing on Asian success in the film industry as performers, film directors, and producers, culinary nights where students are invited to learn how to cook Asian foods, and a gala in May to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Notable alumni

Principal's residence, about 1909
Principal's residence, about 1909

SUNY New Paltz alumni include:

Notable faculty

See also


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  2. ^ "SUNY New Paltz | Office of the President".
  3. ^ "College appoints Barbara G. Lyman as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs". September 18, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c[bare URL]
  5. ^ "SUNY New Paltz Facts at a Glance". Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  6. ^ "New Palz Building Occupied". The Evening News. March 27, 1974 – via Google News Archive Search.
  7. ^ Jeremiah Horrigan (September 12, 2005). "Home of the future's time is past". Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  8. ^ "STL:CHC - SUNY New Paltz Timeline". Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  9. ^ "Scientists Say SUNY Dorms Pose No Health Dangers, Date: August 2010". SUNY New Paltz. December 29, 1991. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  10. ^ "About New Paltz". Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  11. ^ "Daily News America NY Daily News". Retrieved August 9, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Daily News America - Breaking national news, video, and photos - Homepage - NY Daily News". Retrieved August 9, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Vulva's Morphia, 1995". Carolee Schneemann. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  14. ^ Tychostup, Lorna, Chill Factor at SUNY New Paltz, Chronogram[permanent dead link]
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  16. ^ OSI, SUNY and NYCDEP Sign an Agreement Ensuring the Future of Ashokan Field Campus, Open Space Institute, May 13, 2008
  17. ^ Poskanzer, Steven (September 25, 2009), State of the College 2009, SUNY New Paltz
  18. ^ Liu, Pauline. "SUNY New Paltz marks opening of science building". Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  19. ^ a b c "Suny New Paltz Facilities". Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  20. ^ "Residence Life: Shango/College Hall". Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  21. ^ "Arts Listings:Music and Dance". Times Herald Record. November 26, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  22. ^ "Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art". State University of New York at New Paltz. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  23. ^ Official mission statement from
  24. ^ Kramer, Melissa (April 28, 2016). "Men's Volleyball Takes Home New Paltz's First-Ever National Title". SUNY New Paltz Oracle. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
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