State University of New York at New Paltz

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State University of New York at New Paltz
SUNY New Paltz Square Logo.png
Parent institution
State University of New York
Endowment$18.5 million[1]
PresidentDonald P. Christian[2]
ProvostLorin Basden Arnold [3]
Academic staff
372 (full-time)
302 (part-time)
1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561
, , ,
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
MascotHugo the Hawk
SUNY New Paltz Logo.jpg

The State University of New York at New Paltz, known as SUNY New Paltz or 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.[5]


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.

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

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

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]


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.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]


Atrium of the Student Union Building, opened in 2010
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;[21] it is now operated as the Ashokan Center.

SUNY New Paltz has undergone extensive construction projects since 2008, totaling nearly $300 million,[22] including:

  • Renovation of Hasbrouck Complex Residence Halls (ongoing)
  • Student Union Building addition: "The Atrium" (completed fall 2010)
  • Old Main renovation (completed spring 2011)
  • The Concourse Landscaping/Renovation (completed fall 2011)
  • Hasbrouck Quad Landscaping/Renovation (completed fall 2011)
  • Construction of Mohonk Walk (completed summer 2012)
  • Ridgeview Hall (completed summer 2015)
  • Sojourner Truth Library renovation (completed fall 2015)
  • Wooster Science Building renovation (completed summer 2016)
  • Construction of Science Hall, a new science building (completed winter 2017)[23]
  • Engineering Innovation Hub (scheduled to open in 2019)

Campus theaters[edit]

SUNY at New Paltz contains three on-campus theaters.

McKenna Theater[edit]

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.[24]

Parker Theater[edit]

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.[24]

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[edit]

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.[25]

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.[24]

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.[26]

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art[edit]

At the center of campus is the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, one of the largest art museums in the SUNY system.[27] 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 Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, which opened in 2001, is one of the largest museums in SUNY, with more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space in six galleries. 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.[28] 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 (6%), Latinos (18%) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (6%). The majority of the undergraduate student body feeds from the Hudson Valley (44%), Long Island (20 6%), New York City (20%). Out-of-state students make up 5% of the total student body, while international students make up 2%. There is a 2:1 female to male ratio.


The courtyard

New Paltz consistently ranks among the nation’s top institutions for high quality, affordability and best value. Most recently, Kiplinger’s recognized New Paltz on its list of “Best College Values”; the U.S. News and World Report declared New Paltz No. 5 among all public regional universities in the North region; the Business Journals placed New Paltz among America’s top 75 public colleges and universities; Forbes magazine named New Paltz on its list of the best colleges and universities in the nation; and Princeton Review had New Paltz on its list of “Best Colleges: Region by Region,” as well as on its list of the Greenest colleges in the U.S. The College also ranked 2nd nationally in the Affordable Colleges Online list of the nation’s most affordable colleges with the biggest return on investment.

To view a full list of rankings, visit

Current information[edit]

The view overlooking "The Gunk" and Hasbrouck Residence Complex

SUNY 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 6,700 undergraduates and nearly 1,000 graduate students. The College President is Donald P. Christian, formerly the college's provost.[36] The Student Body President is Yaranny Reynoso.[37] The Presiding Officer of the Faculty is Anne Balant.


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. [29]Three years later, they defeated UC Santa Cruz to win their second championship in the sport and second for the school overall.[30]

Clubs and traditions[edit]

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.[31] There is also an on-campus government, the Residence Hall Student Association (RHSA).[32][33]

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.[34]

The college has a foundation and an active alumni association.[35]

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.[36] 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: 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.

Alma mater[edit]

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.[37]

Notable alumni[edit]

Principal's residence, about 1909

SUNY New Paltz alumni include:

Notable faculty[edit]


  • William Haggerty, 1944–1966
  • John Neumaier, 1968–1972
  • Stanley Coffman, 1972–1979
  • Alice Chandler, 1980–1996
  • Roger Bowen, 1996–2001
  • Steven G. Poskanzer, 2001–2010
  • Donald Christian, 2010–present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SUNY New Paltz - Best Colleges 2016 page". US News & World Report. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Biographies: SUNY New Paltz Administration, SUNY New Paltz
  3. ^ "State University of New York at New Paltz: Academic Affairs Staff Directory". Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "SUNY New Paltz Facts at a Glance". Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  6. ^ The Evening News - 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 - Breaking national news, video, and photos - Homepage - NY Daily News". Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  12. ^ "Daily News America - Breaking national news, video, and photos - Homepage - NY Daily News". Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  13. ^ "Vulva's Morphia, 1995". Carolee Schneemann. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  14. ^ Tychostup, Lorna, Chill Factor at SUNY New Paltz, Chronogram[dead link]
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Freshmen move into SUNY New Paltz dorms". YNN. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  17. ^ SUNY New Paltz welcomes nearly 1,800 new students, SUNY New Paltz, August 16, 2006, archived from the original on December 11, 2007
  18. ^ College attracts talented class of 1,300, SUNY New Paltz, August 11, 2008, archived from the original on August 12, 2008
  19. ^ College to welcome 1,100 new students from record number of applicants, SUNY New Paltz, August 17, 2009, archived from the original on September 17, 2009
  20. ^ What Do I Need to Get In, SUNY New Paltz, August 17, 2010, archived from the original on August 21, 2010
  21. ^ OSI, SUNY and NYCDEP Sign an Agreement Ensuring the Future of Ashokan Field Campus, Open Space Institute, May 13, 2008
  22. ^ Poskanzer, Steven (September 25, 2009), State of the College 2009, SUNY New Paltz
  23. ^ Liu, Pauline. "SUNY New Paltz marks opening of science building". Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c "Suny New Paltz Facilities". Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  25. ^ "Residence Life: Shango/College Hall". Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  26. ^ "Arts Listings:Music and Dance". Times Herald Record. November 26, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  27. ^ "Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art". State University of New York at New Paltz. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  28. ^ Official mission statement from
  29. ^ Kramer, Melissa. "Men's Volleyball Takes Home New Paltz's First-Ever National Title". SUNY New Paltz Oracle. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  30. ^ Northam, Mitchell. "SUNY New Paltz wins 2019 DIII men's volleyball national championship". NCAA. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  31. ^ "SUNY New Paltz - Office of Student Activities and Union Services". Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  32. ^ "RHSA official web site About webpage". Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  33. ^ "RHSA official web site Officers list webpage". Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  34. ^ "CAS official web site". Archived from the original on April 18, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  35. ^ "Official web pages for Alumni, friends, visitors, and SUNY New Paltz Foundation". Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved November 26, 2010.
  36. ^ WFNP 88.7 FM the EDGE, SUNY New Paltz
  37. ^ Alma Mater, SUNY New Paltz
  38. ^ Moritz, Owen. "Salvador Agron 'Cape Man'". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  39. ^ "Michael Badalucco - Biography". New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  40. ^ McCormick, John; Zeleny, Jeff; Reid, Andy. "Rob Borsellino, 56, Former Sun-sentinel Columnist". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  41. ^ Snel, Alan. "SUNY New Paltz gains field house loan". Times Herald Record. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  42. ^ "Author Regina Calcaterra will speak at SUNY". Daily Freeman. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  43. ^ Graduate Faculty, Virginia Tech, archived from the original on September 6, 2007
  44. ^ 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.
  45. ^ Sokol, Rachel. "District Home Editions Queenswide Netflix star: There's no place like Queens". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  46. ^ Seabrook, John. "Will Robert Kyncl and YouTube Revolutionize Television". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  47. ^ a b Barnes, Mike (December 3, 2012). "Top Visual Effects Producer Eileen Moran Dies in New Zealand; Worked on 'Avatar,' 'The Hobbit'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  48. ^ "Kingston's Ann Nocenti takes old superhero to new places". Kingston Times. Ulster Publishing. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  49. ^ Retrieved March 27, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)


External links[edit]