State University of New York at Geneseo

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Coordinates: 42°47′44″N 77°49′10″W / 42.795668°N 77.819547°W / 42.795668; -77.819547

State University of New York College at Geneseo
SUNY Geneseo seal.png
"To Learn, To Search,
 To Serve"  (SUNY motto)
Established 1871
Type Public coeducational
President Dr. Denise A. Battles  
Provost David Gordon  (interim)
Academic staff
288  (92% full-time)
Undergraduates 4,950
Postgraduates 88
Location Geneseo, New York, USA
Small Town
Sports teams Knights
Colors      Blue       White
Geneseo logo

The State University of New York-College at Geneseo, also known as SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo State or, colloquially, "Geneseo", is a College in the State University of New York (SUNY) system located in Geneseo, Livingston County, New York, United States. Originally, the college was founded in 1871 as the Wadsworth Normal and Training School before becoming a state liberal arts college in 1948. It is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Geneseo is considered to be one of the top public colleges in the United States, consistently earning awards on academic and social grounds from national publications.

Wadsworth School, c. 1904.


Milne Library.

Geneseo is classified as a four-year public liberal arts college. It has 48 undergraduate majors, six graduate programs (Master's only) and 25 interdisciplinary minors. The most popular majors in descending order are education, business, the social sciences, biology, and psychology.[1]

The student population is approximately 5,000, with a student/faculty ratio of 19:1 and an average class size of 25. Nearly 90% of Geneseo's full-time faculty holds a Ph.D. or other terminal degree. Geneseo ranks number one in the nation for four-year graduation rates among comprehensive colleges and is currently tied for highest freshman retention rate out of any public college or university in New York.

Humanities and core curriculum[edit]

One of the differentiating hallmarks of SUNY Geneseo's curriculum is the requirement that each student take two 4 credit survey courses in western humanities, in addition to a wide distribution of core courses in the arts and sciences. "Western Humanities 1" and "Western Humanities 2", as they are called, are taught by faculty members from various departments. Individual course syllabi share many historical, philosophical, and literary texts with other courses creating a common knowledge base within the undergraduate student body. A distribution of core courses in the humanities, languages, and sciences further ensures that Geneseo students are well versed in the liberal arts tradition of education. The entire general education curriculum is outlined below and must be completed by students of all majors.

  • 2 courses in Natural Sciences
  • 2 courses in Social Sciences
  • 2 courses in Fine Arts
  • 2 courses in Western Humanities
  • 1 course in Numeric/Symbolic Reasoning
  • 1 course in U.S. History
  • 1 course in Non-Western Traditions
  • 1 course in Critical Reading/Writing
  • Competency within a Foreign Language

Study abroad[edit]

Nearly 40% of Geneseo's students participate in study abroad programs, either through the College or the SUNY system.[2] One of Geneseo's most popular study abroad programs is its offering of the Humanities I course in either Rome, Athens or New York City, and the Humanities II course in either Paris, Prague, El Sauce, or at Oxford University. The most well-known program is the Mediterranean Roots Humanities I program where students travel to Greece, Italy and Spain for (up to) six weeks.


Following the recent retirement of long-time President Christopher Dahl, the current Interim President of the College is Carol S. Long. After narrowing down candidates, it was announced Dr. Denise Battles would be the new president of the college, taking office in July 2015.

Admissions and statistics[edit]

Geneseo has developed into a highly selective institution, being one of the most selective public colleges in the nation. According to the college's admissions department there were over 10,000 students who applied for 935 seats in the class of 2014.[citation needed]

For the class of 2014, The average SAT score (CR+M) was a 1340 and the average high school GPA was a 94. The middle 50% of scores on the ACT exam of all admitted students ranged from 28–30.[citation needed]

Nearly 60 percent of this year’s freshmen ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school classes—an all-time high for the College.[citation needed]

National distinction and rankings[edit]

Sturges Hall is Geneseo's landmark building, featuring a clocktower and carillon.

In 2008, Kiplinger's Personal Finance listed the college as the number one "Best Value Public College" in the nation for out-of-state students, and number six in the nation for in-state residents. Geneseo has been distinguished in Kiplinger's Top Ten "Best Value Public Colleges," both in and out-of-state since 2005. US News & World Report’s 2005 edition of Guide to America’s Best Colleges: Geneseo is ranked No. 12 in the category “Best Universities-Master’s” for all colleges, public or private, in the northern region. Geneseo is also ranked No. 2 among the top public universities in the north. Geneseo was listed in the 2005 “Fiske Guide to Colleges,” a guide published annually by former New York Times Education Editor Edward B. Fiske. In the Fiske guide, Geneseo is highlighted as a “Best Buy” school, and is lauded for its academic programs, accessible professors and hometown atmosphere. The Princeton Review profiled Geneseo in the 2005 edition of “The Princeton Review’s Guide to the Best 357 Colleges,” and the college was ranked No. 3 on that publication’s list of “Best Bargains – Public” among all public colleges and universities nationwide.

Geneseo has been regularly profiled in the Princeton Review, Kiplinger's, Fiske, and US News and World Report in annual publications since 1985. In 2008, Kiplinger's reported that SUNY Geneseo "could just be the best public college you've never heard of", as the publication ranks it the #1 public school in the nation for the best valued "first-rate education" for out-of-state students.[3] U.S. News & World Report magazine has named the State University of New York at Geneseo among 80 colleges and universities in the country with a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. The special list is contained in the magazine’s 2010 rankings of the country’s top colleges and universities.[4]

Other national distinctions include recognitions from Money Magazine and Yahoo! Internet Life's 100 "most wired" campuses list (#90 in 1998, #49 in 1999, and in 2000 the list was divided by type of school and Geneseo placed #82 in the "larger universities" category).[5]

Recent recognition for Geneseo has also come in the New York Times. In July 2006, the Times profiled 20 colleges and universities of "established or rising scholarship" which are fast becoming viable alternatives to private institutions. In addition to its characterization of Geneseo as one of this country's "hidden gems," the Times noted that the college is "increasingly seen as a first choice for high achievers" and further observed that as the "most selective of SUNY's comprehensive colleges", Geneseo is fast becoming New York's alternative for students who "chose not to go to the Ivies".[6][7]

SUNY rankings[edit]

All SUNY schools are part of the same university system, the State University of New York. Different schools are different in character, program, quality, and prestige. Of all of the schools in the system, SUNY Geneseo, Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, and the University at Buffalo consistently rank the highest in national publications. In the 2011 Princeton Review report, for example, Geneseo, Binghamton, and Buffalo were ranked within the top 75 for best public college value.[8] Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook are doctoral-granting universities and Geneseo is a master's-granting college.

Phi Beta Kappa[edit]

Geneseo has joined 270 colleges and universities in the nation with chapters of the oldest academic honor society in the United States, Phi Beta Kappa.[9] SUNY's four university centers already had chapters; Geneseo's establishment of a chapter is significant because it was the first (and is currently the only) of New York's thirteen state university colleges to have received the honor.[10]

The inaugural ΦΒΚ class was inducted to Geneseo's Alpha-Gamma of New York chapter in April 2004.[9]


The Integrated Science Center opened in Fall 2006. In the foreground is the college green.
President Christopher Dahl cuts the ribbon on Geneseo's 1.7 MeV tandem Pelletron particle accelerator.

SUNY Geneseo is located on the east side of the Genesee Valley. Of the approximately 5,000 full-time residents in Geneseo, some 70% work at, or are in some way affiliated with the College, making Geneseo a "college town."

The Campus is divided between the Academic Quad, "North Side" and "South Side," with all academic buildings contained within the Academic Quad. South Side has five residence halls and a dining hall. The South Side complex was designed by architect Edgar Tafel, one-time apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. Tafel also designed Brodie Hall, home of Geneseo's four Arts departments on the Academic Quad. Additionally, 44 on campus townhouses, known as Saratoga Terrace, provide a connective corridor between South Side and the Academic Quad. The North Side contains eleven residence halls, two dining halls and the Lauderdale Health Center. The Academic Quad comprising the Upper and Lower Campuses contains all academic buildings, the College Union, Merritt Athletic Center, Wadsworth Auditorium and the Milne Library that provides amazing views of the Genesee valley. The campus is laid out in generally the same shape as the state of New York; the residence halls are each named after counties within the state, though not all are placed in line with their same geography within the state. (Example: Nassau and Suffolk Halls on South Side, which is the "Long Island" aspect to the state, but Wayne, Niagara, and Onondaga Halls are also located there.)

In 2003, the college began the largest single capital improvement project in the history of the SUNY system. The Integrated Science Facility (pictured right) is a 105,000-square-foot (9,800 m2), $32 million building equipped with a nuclear accelerator. Leslie E. Robertson Associates are the structural engineers in this project. The Center opened in the Spring of 2007. On the new building's opening, Greene Hall (a science building constructed in 1970) was shut down and completely renovated at a cost of $20 million.

One of the main attractions of SUNY Geneseo's campus beside the views of the valley is the architecture of many of the older buildings. The James B. Welles building was constructed in 1932 and is the oldest building on campus with arches, gables, and broad-leaf collegiate ivy draping its stone and brick facade. Formerly known as the Winfield Holcomb School, it served as the laboratory school for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. It now houses the departments of Philosophy, Political Science, Foreign Language, and English. The James V. Sturges building (pictured here File:Sturges Hall at SUNY Geneseo.jpg), the central clock tower of the main Sturges Quad is Geneseo's signature building and contains the Alumni Carillon which chimes on the hour and plays songs at various times during the day. Constructed in 1938 it formerly served as the administration building and now contains the offices of the History, Psychology, Anthropology, Speech Pathology, and Sociology departments. Sturges also holds classrooms and laboratories as well as the Geneseo Speech and Hearing Clinic. Wadsworth Auditorium, ([pictured here [1]) is also one of the oldest buildings on campus.

At the far end of the South Village Residences, the college maintains the 20-acre (81,000 m2) Spencer J. Roemer Arboretum wherein are preserved "more than 70 species of trees, shrubs and wildflowers, including a magnificent group of oak trees which are more than 200 years old, and several black walnut trees estimated to be over 100 years old."[11] The arboretum is used for both teaching and recreation. It also contains a gazebo and the college's memorial to four alumni who died in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, a gift left behind by the Class of 2002 through the Senior Challenge program.

East of the Academic Quad up a slight hill is Geneseo's Main street that complements the quaint campus with a variety of shops, restaurants and bars that students frequent throughout the week. Beyond Main Street is the historic village of Geneseo marked by Victorian architecture, well-kept mansions, fraternity and sorority houses as well as several nineteenth-century churches.

Planned expansion[edit]

Doty Hall. The Doty Building was Geneseo, New York’s high school from 1933 to 1973.[12]

The Lamron reported that SUNY Geneseo plans to acquire and refurbish Doty Hall, one of its former buildings, and to demolish a currently underutilized structure, the Holcomb Campus School, in order to build an open air, artificial turf athletic stadium.

The Lamron reports that SUNY Geneseo will acquire Doty Hall and update its electrical and plumbing systems, as well as modernizing the new workspace. SUNY Geneseo will be collaborating with the building's current tenants, the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, who will maintain their center on the building's first floor. SUNY Geneseo will move its Office of Admissions into the building as part of a new, more visible college welcome center. Then the Center for International Students, the Hearing and Speech Clinic, and the Department of Communicative Disorders and Science were all scheduled to move into Doty, but with the program curtailments and the closing of the Communicative Disorder Department new plans are being developed for the utilization of the space. These moves will free up space in Sturges Hall and Erwin Hall, and reconnects a highly visible plot of land with the campus.

In addition to providing a turf playing field for Geneseo's soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse programs, Commencement will be held at the new stadium, eliminating the cost and hassle of annually erecting a temporary stadium in the B lot parking area.[13]

Traditions and campus culture[edit]

Geneseo's students celebrate many longstanding traditions and campus legends.

The Bronze Bear[edit]

The Bronze Bear Fountain is on Main Street.

Just off campus, in the center of Main Street in Geneseo sits the famous Bronze Bear statue. "The Bear" also plays host to any number of spontaneous decorations and pranks throughout the academic year. A story also circulates that one of the wealthy Wadsworth daughters saw the bear fountain in a small town in Germany, fell in love with it, bought it, and sent it back to Geneseo in the early 19th century. This story is unverified, but an excerpt from a history of the family that settled the valley implies that this is not true, and that the fountain was designed and built for its current location: "[Main Street] is still dominated by a drinking fountain for horses dedicated to Mrs. Emmeline Austin Wadsworth. For some obscure reason its designer placed a short pole in its center on top of which sits a cunning little iron bear, who is generally known as 'Aunt Emmeline'".[14]

The Greek Tree[edit]

In the Sturges quad, students from different Greek organizations sneak about late at night to paint a "Greek tree." [2]. There are so many layers of paint on the tree that the original contours of the bark and trunk are obscured. Despite the years of paint, the tree continues to grow and produce leaves. The exact date when this practice began is unknown, but alumni report that it began sporadically during the 1950s and became regular practice in the mid to late 1960s.

The Seuss Spruce[edit]

The Seuss Spruce.

Also in the Sturges quad is the famous "Seuss Spruce," so called because it looks like a Dr. Seuss illustration. It is said that the tree's shape was due to being weighed down by ice and snow during the particularly tough winter of 1991. Now the tree simply grows in a crooked and slightly spiral shape. It's more likely that the tree is the cultivated variety Picea Glauca 'Pendula' or a similar spruce. Adding to the Seussian quality of the tree is the fact that the bottom branches "fan out" along the ground.


Sunsets on campus are also legendary, so much so that students and alumni say the sunset at Geneseo was once ranked by National Geographic Magazine as one of the top ten in the world. This claim has been verified as false—National Geographic publishes no such ranking—but lives on in campus lore. Just off the Sturges Quad there is a Gazebo providing panoramic views of the Genesee Valley and its sunsets. As is tradition on many college campuses, it is said that a couple who kisses in the Gazebo at sunset is destined to be engaged and later wed.

Ice hockey games[edit]

A Geneseo Ice Knights hockey game at the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena.

In recent years, Men's Ice Hockey games in the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena have become major campus events drawing sell-out crowds of students and community members. A pep band has been formed and student groups often offer promotions, such as handing out noise makers to the capacity crowds.

Alma mater[edit]

The lyrics to the school song, sung at convocation, commencement, and other formal events are as follows:[15]

Shine the sun down on her halls of wisdom, where memories linger and our thoughts remain
Sing her praises out across the valley, that echoes our refrain:
Geneseo! Geneseo! send us on our way
Geneseo! Geneseo! with our life's work we'll repay.

An older and longer version of the Alma Mater from a 1929 student handbook has three verses and a chorus:

  1. Proudly it stands on the hillside so firm, with its banners floating on high.
    The finest Normal in the land, for you we'll do or die.

Then cheer for Alma Mater, our foster mother dear.
May her sons and daughters ever, love her from year to year.
May they her memory cherish--in duty never fail,
Nor let her honor perish. To Geneseo all hail!

  1. Let us strive to all our standards raise in sport and studies too.
    Show all the world we're fighting clean, in all that we may do.
  2. Others may cheer for their orange and black, or to other colors be true.
    But we shall ever hold out love, for you our white and blue.[16]

College seal and logotype[edit]

The Geneseo college seal, featured in the infobox above, was unveiled in July 1968. According the college's office of publications, the seal is a visual representation of the college's location and mission: "The circular design features a flame from the torch of knowledge surrounded by leaves symbolic of the bucolic setting of SUNY Geneseo and its growth. Both are atop waves symbolizing the historic Genesee River."[17]

In 1986, the college designed a logo to "provide the College with an identity mark that was more readily identifiable than the College Seal and was not meant to replace the College Seal." Again drawing on the college's unique surroundings, "the graphic underneath the word 'Geneseo' symbolizes the rolling and rural character of the surrounding Genesee Valley." The typeface used in this logo, and in many other college publications, is Galliard.[17]

In October 2012, Geneseo unveiled a new logotype intended to replace the one that was adopted in the 80s. Bill Caren, Geneseo's Associate Vice President of Enrollment, stated that the new word mark reflected "[Geneseo's] competitors' logos," which are less stylized. "If [Geneseo] wants to be perceived in the same category as its competitors," Caren added, "it would be good to have a logo that corresponds on the same level." The introduction of the new logotype was met with mixed responses by the student body, although its implementation throughout campus continued unhindered.[18]

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]


Arts and culture[edit]

  • Glenn Gordon Caron (class of 1975), executive producer of TV series "Medium" and "Moonlighting"
  • Greg Fox (author) (class of 1983), artist/writer of nationally syndicated comic strip Kyle's Bed & Breakfast.
  • Molly Smith Metzler (class of 2000), award-winning playwright.[19]
  • Curt Smith (class of 1973), author, broadcaster and Republican speech writer for President George H. W. Bush.

Popular culture[edit]


Government, business, law[edit]


Athletics and sports[edit]

Geneseo Knights
University State University of New York at Geneseo
Conference State University of New York Athletic Conference
NCAA Division III
Athletic director Mike Mooney
Location Geneseo, NY
Varsity teams 20
Basketball arena Schrader Gymnasium
Other arenas Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena
Nickname Knights
     Blue       White

Teams and programs[edit]

Geneseo's athletic program is part of the NCAA Division III. They are a member of the State University of New York Athletic Conference. Geneseo has 20 varsity sports programs including basketball ((M)en's and (W)omen's), cross country (M, W), equestrian (W), field hockey (W), ice hockey (M), lacrosse (M, W), soccer (M, W), softball (W), swimming (M, W), tennis (W), indoor/outdoor track & field (M, W), and volleyball (W).

Although they are not NCAA programs, Geneseo also has several very competitive club sports teams that compete in intercollegiate play. These include rowing (M, W), rugby (M, W), baseball (M), ice hockey (W) water polo (M, W), volleyball (M),downhill skiing (M, W), tennis (M), fencing, ultimate frisbee, and cheerleading.

There are also many intramural sport offerings, including the perennial college classic, broomball.

Student organizations[edit]

Geneseo students participate in a wide range of diverse organizations and activities, including The Lamron, an independent student newspaper published since 1922, Geneseo Student Television (GSTV), an award winning Model United Nations team, a nationally competitive Federal Reserve Challenge club, WGSU, a federally-licensed radio station, four acclaimed a cappella groups (Southside Boys, Exit 8, Hips & Harmony, and Between the Lines), Musical Theatre Club, and several local and national Greek organizations.[citation needed]


  • Omega Beta Psi ("Omega")
  • Delta Kappa Tau ("DK")
  • Sigma Nu Chi ("Sig Nu")
  • Phi Sigma Xi ("Phigs")
  • Phi Kappa Chi ("Phi Kap")
  • Sigma Tau Psi ("Sig Tau")
  • Zeta Beta Xi ("ZBXi")
  • Men of Action and Change ("MAC")





  1. ^ "State University of New York College at Geneseo". College Board. 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  2. ^ "Fast Facts". SUNY Geneseo. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  3. ^ "Top 100 Best Values in Public Colleges". Bennett-Clark, Jane. February 2008. Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  4. ^ "U.S. News & World Report Names SUNY Geneseo". Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  5. ^ "Listings in National Publications" (PDF) (Press release). SUNY Geneseo. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  6. ^ Archibold, Randal C. (2006-07-30). "Off the beaten path". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  7. ^ "New York Times names SUNY Geneseo among nation's "hidden gems"" (Press release). SUNY Geneseo. 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  8. ^ "Rankings for 75 Best Values in Public Colleges". Princeton Review. 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  9. ^ a b "Chapter Chronology". The Phi Beta Kappa Society. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  10. ^ "Geneseo Faculty Granted Charter for Phi Beta Kappa Chapter at the College" (Press release). SUNY Geneseo. 2003-08-26. 
  11. ^ New Page 5
  12. ^ The Jen-o-see [Gen-ə-see], 1933 & 1975. Yearbook of Geneseo, NY’s high school.
  13. ^ Peek, Michael (2006-09-28). "College plans to raze Holcomb for new stadium, reacquire Doty.". Lamron. Retrieved 2007-01-18. [dead link]
  14. ^ The Wadsworths of the Genesee. New York: Coward-McCann. 1959. p. 205.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  15. ^ "Geneseo Alma Mater". Geneseo Student Handbook. SUNY Geneseo. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  16. ^ Student Cooperative Government, Geneseo State Normal School, 1929
  17. ^ a b "Graphic Standards". SUNY Geneseo Office of Communications and Publications. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  18. ^ Rose-Gross, Joanna (2012-10-18). "New wordmark incites divisive debate". Lamron. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  19. ^ "Playwright Molly Smith Metzler Receives Outstanding Young Alumni Award". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  20. ^ "Brian L. DeMarco". Faculty profiles. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Physics. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  21. ^ Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL): Two Los Alamos scientists receive E.O. Lawrence Award
  22. ^ "Myhang V. Huynh". scientist profiles. MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  23. ^ "Jeff Clarke '83 Named Kodak CEO". 
  24. ^ "Kodak names Clarke new CEO". 
  25. ^ "East Wing Shakeup as First Lady Gets New Chief of Staff". The Washington Post. 
  26. ^

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