State University of New York at Fredonia

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The State University of New York at Fredonia (also known as SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia State University and formerly SUNY College at Fredonia) is a four-year liberal arts college located in Fredonia, New York; it is a constituent college of the State University of New York. The college's motto is "Where Success is a Tradition." SUNY Fredonia was one of the state teachers' colleges traditionally specializing in music education, but now offers a large number of programs in many areas, including a growing graduate division. The most popular areas include Communication, Music, Education, and programs of the Social Sciences. There are 82 majors and 41 minors. The SUNY Fredonia campus, located in Chautauqua County (southwest of Buffalo) was designed by prominent architects I.M. Pei and Henry N. Cobb in 1968.


Fredonia Academy (1826”“1867)
Originally opened in 1826 as Fredonia Academy under its first principal Austin Smith, the Academy enrolled eight students. The first classes began on October 4, 1826. Within one year the Academy had 136 students, 81 boys and 55 girls. The Academy reached peak enrollment in 1856 with 217 students. The school was plagued by financial shortages, and was forced to close its doors in 1867.

Normal School (1867”“1948)
In 1867, the college emerged in its second phase of existence as a New York State Normal School. On December 2, 1867, the Normal (as it became commonly known) began classes with 147 students, 62 boys and 85 girls. For students preparing to be teachers, no tuition was charged, books were supplied, and travel costs were reimbursed; in return, students had to promise to teach after graduation. Those students not studying for the teaching profession paid tuition and provided their own textbooks. During its 82 years of existence, Fredonia Normal had a tumultuous existence. With a fluctuating student enrollment and threats of state funding reductions, the school seemed to be in constant jeopardy of closing. Nonetheless, gradually the school was upgraded. In 1930, 58 acres (230,000 m 2) of land west of Central Avenue in the Village of Fredonia were bought to house a future campus. In 1938 a music building was constructed on the Central Avenue site. New York State Governor Herbert Lehman signed the Feinberg Law in 1942 that changed the Normal Schools into Teacher Colleges.

State University System (1948”“present)
With the formation of the State University of New York on March 13, 1948, the college created a Division of the Humanities in 1958 and in 1960 Fredonia was selected by State University to grant the A.B. degree. Previously, Fredonia's curriculum was restricted for teacher training only. In 1968, the master plan for the central avenue campus was drafted by the highly respected architectural firm of I.M. Pei & Partners of New York at the request of then-president Oscar E. Lanford. A complex came into being that consisted of Jewett Hall (science), Dods Hall (health and physical education), and Rockefeller Arts Center(building for fine arts), administration, library, and an infirmary. In 1970, Pei and Cobb returned to the SUNY Fredonia campus to complete the Erie Dining Hall and the suite-style residence halls.

Architects I.M. Pei and Henry Cobb, who designed the master plan for the modernized campus in 1968. Many of the buildings are listed in architectural guides as examples of exceptional modern architecture. Some are described in architectural history books. The National Building Museum listed the SUNY Fredonia campus as one of I.M. Pei's ideal places to visit in its 1991 journal "Blueprints." Pei is credited with designing Maytum Hall, Williams Center, Reed Library, Rockefeller Arts Center, McEwen Hall, and Houghton Hall as well as its characteristic circular perimeter, aptly named Ring Road. The design of Daniel Reed Library earned Henry Cobb and I.M. Pei the 1969 Prestressed Concrete Institute Award.

Academic and Administrative Buildings on Campus
  • Reed Library was constructed in 1969. It is approximately the size of a regulation football field, provides seating for over 850 readers, and houses over 250,000 books. It is named for the late Daniel A. Reed (1875”“1959), U.S. Representative from the Fredonia area for over 40 years. The four story addition to Reed Library was constructed in 1992, and consists of several study areas, a scholarship center, atrium, elevators, tower study lounge which leads to a fifth story, and the Tutoring Center.
  • Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center, constructed in 1968, is named after the youngest son of former Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who disappeared in 1961 during an anthropological expedition in New Guinea. The Rockefeller Arts Center includes King Concert Hall (a 1,200-seat concert hall), Marvel Theatre (a 400 seat proscenium theatre), Alice E. Bartlett Theatre (a 200-seat maximum black box theatre), an art gallery, and 24 classrooms. This building houses the Departpment of Theatre and Dance, and the Department of Visual Arts and New Media.
  • Fenton Hall was named for the late Reuben Fenton, U.S. Senator, and Governor, who was born in Carroll, Chautauqua County. Fenton Hall houses the office of the University President, the Graduate Studies office, as well as classrooms, academic departments and the Gazebo Cafe (part of Signature Cafe). Computer Science, Modern Languages, English, and Philosophy are some of the departments located in Fenton.
  • Mason Hall is home to the School of Music and was named after American music education pioneer Lowell Mason. This hall is actually three buildings, "Old Mason," "New Mason," and the recent addition of two rehearsal rooms, which are all connected together. Mason Hall includes over 100 personal practice rooms, several small ensemble practice rooms, and large ensemble rooms. Both Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall and Diers Recital Hall are located here, as well as two state-of-the-art MIDI technology labs, and an extensive Studio Recording Department.
  • Maytum Hall is an eight-story semi-circular office building and computer center, and was named after Arthur Maytum (1866”“1953). He served as Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Fredonia Normal School and Teachers college from 1928 to 1953. He also served as supervisor of the Town of Pomfret from 1931 to 1938. There is much speculation as to how many stories Maytum hall contains. Many contend that the central offices, along with the elevator stop at floor eight, and so should the floor count. However, the original president office was to be on the constructed ninth floor, but was moved due to lack of handicap access, along with a fear of riots shutting the president in. When walking from Thompson or Fenton, you can see the very large patio window of the ninth floor. The building is currently closed for major renovations and upgrades, and is expected to reopen sometime during the Fall 2011 semester. Offices usually in Maytum are temporarily distributed between Gregory Hall and the Williams Center.
  • Steele Hall is mainly used as a sports center with a basketball court and an ice rink which are used for both campus and community events. It also contains classrooms, a newly constructed natatorium, raquetball courts, dancing practice rooms, and many other facilities.
  • The Williams Center, previously the Campus Center, houses the Office of Campus Life, the Student Association, Signature Cafe, the Campus Grind, the newly renovated Centre Pointe dining facility (Operated by FSA), Trendz (organic, vegan style food) and is the meeting location for most of the SA clubs and groups.
  • Thompson Hall is the largest academic building at SUNY Fredonia. It houses the departments of Multicultural Affairs, Psychology, Political Science, Speech Pathology, Sociology, and History, among others, plus the College of Education. The building is designed as riot proof. It has narrow stairwells, dimly lighted hallways, and no operable windows.
  • Houghton Hall and Jewett Hall are the two science buildings at SUNY Fredonia. They house the departments of Geology, Physics, Chemistry, and Biochemistry, and the 3-2 Cooperative Engineering Program.
  • LoGrasso Hall On campus medical services, along with counseling, and the office of international education.
  • McEwen Hall Four level building, Contains lecture halls, Sheldon Media Labs, and Fredonia Radio Systems.
  • Erie Hall Dining facility located in the center of the four-dormitory Kirkland Complex.

Residential Halls
SUNY Fredonia has two different type of residential buildings: Corridor and Suite-style. Corridor style dorms are long, staggered hallways with no sections. Whereas suites are short corridors with either staggered hallways extending from the main corridor, or doors leading into the individual suites.

Corridor Halls
  • University Commons which opened for the Fall Semester 2006 is an expansion and renovation on the former Cranston Dining Hall. Originally opened in 1969, Cranston served as one of the two cafeteria style dining halls at SUNY Fredonia (the other being Marketplace at Erie Dining Center). Currently, University Commons is split between a four-story upperclassmen co-ed 124 bed Residence Hall. And the second part, of two stories which contains the dining hall Cranston Marche (all you can eat, made to order dining facility), the University Bookstore and Convenience Store, offices for FSA management, and a Starbucks.
  • Gregory Hall is a multi-purpose building consisting of a 200-bed upperclassmen dormitory, substance free living, the offices for the Faculty-Student Association (Bookstore, Foodservice), Residence Life, University Police, the Campus Print Shop, and the Career Development Office. Before its current uses, Gregory Hall previously housed the campus radio station WCVF AM/FM and the Student Association offices.
  • Nixon Hall is a 200-bed dormitory named for Samuel Frederick Nixon of Westfield. He was a member of the Fredonia College Council (1932”“1952). He was one of the nation's leading independent telephone executives and was the President of the Chautauqua and Erie and the Dunkirk and Fredonia Telephone Companies. A 200-bed dorm for freshman women. Corridor style.
  • Alumni Hall is a 200-bed dorm for freshman women. Corridor style. Originally a men's dormitory.
  • McGinnies Hall 200-bed dorm for upperclassman. Corridor style.
  • Chautauqua Hall 200-bed dorm for freshman men. Corridor style.

Suite Style Halls
Suite style dorms are placed into ' Quads'. Or as students call them ' the far/near Quad'. They are groups of four dorms either in an L pattern (in the case of Andrews) or a square pattern (in the case of Kirkland). The buildings are connected by floor, but residents can not go through the doors, except for emergencies. Only Residence life staff, janitorial staff and University officials have round-the-clock access. Suites are set up in a 'Suite:room' fashion. For Example: 212-A is Suite 212, room A. "310-C" is Suite 310-C. There is an A, B, C, D room, Common room and bathroom for each suite. Kirkland Complex Kirkland has private common rooms contained within the suite. Eisenhower and Disney Hall house the highly coveted ' Kitchen Suites' meant for upperclassmen. There is a fee associated with moving into a kitchen suite, however a student does not need a meal plan. Kitchen suites take up the 'D' room of a suite, and the common room is connected to the kitchen. Therefore only six people live in a kitchen suite.
  • Disney Hall 200-bed dorm for upperclassmen, Suite-style. Contains some Kitchen Suites. ("the near quad").
  • Eisenhower Hall 200-bed dorm for upperclassmen. Suite style. Contains some Kitchen Suites("the near quad".)
  • Grissom Hall 200-bed dorm for freshman men. Suite style. ("the near quad") new windows, scheduled to have lobby renovated in the summer of 2011.
  • Kasling Hall 200-bed dorm for freshman women. Suite style. Newly renovated lobby, new windows.("the near quad").
Andrews Complex Andrews buildings have shared common areas, and private suites. The shared common areas are open to all other residents, but the bathroom, bedroom and suite-hallway are separated from the open areas. Andrews has its own dedicated parking lot next to Igoe and Hendrix. Those two halls have exclusive rights to using that parking lot.
  • Igoe Hall is a 200-bed dorm for upperclassmen. It is named after Jimmy Igoe who died on Lake Erie. It is a co-ed building. Sexes are separated by suite, and/or floor. Part of the Andrews Complex ("The far-quad")
  • Hendrix Hall is a 200-bed dormitory for upperclassmen, situated next to Igoe Hall and across from Hemmingway Hall. Hendrix is home to one of the last independently student-run television stations in America, WNYF-TV. Part of the Andrews Complex ("the far-quads").
  • Schulz Hall 200-bed dorm for upperclassmen, Suite-style. Part of the Andrews Complex ("the far-quads").
  • Hemingway Hall 200-bed dorm for upperclassman, Suite style. Part of the Andrews Complex ("the far-quads").

The Leader
The Normal Leader was created in September 1899 by the Zetesian society, an all-male literary organization. The Normal Leader was a monthly newspaper, costing ten cents a copy or fifty cents for a yearly subscription. On September 28, 1936 The Normal Leader became what we know today as The Leader on its Vol. XXXVI article No. 3 even though the school would not change its name to SUNY Fredonia until 1948. The Leader is produced by a team of Fredonia students, some of whom receive stipends from the Student Association. The Leader is printed by the Corry Journal in Corry, Pennsylvania and is distributed free on campus and in the surrounding community.

A cappella groups
Fredonia is home to four collegiate a cappella groups: Premium Blend (Co-Ed), Some Like it Hot (Female), Much More Chill (All-Male), and The Guerrillas (All-Male).

Greek life
While there are no physical fraternity or sorority houses on campus due to a local ordinance prohibiting them, Fredonia State has an active Greek culture with one local and eight national recognized organizations as well as numerous Greek letter honor societies.
  • Alpha Phi Omega (Chi Pi)
  • Chi Tau Omega (local)
  • Delta Chi (SUNY Fredonia chapter)
  • Delta Phi Epsilon (Epsilon Eta)
  • Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Rho Chi)
  • Sigma Alpha Iota (Delta Lambda)
  • Sigma Kappa
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon (New York Iota)

Notable alumni
  • Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich 1857- Founder of B.F.Goodrich tire company
  • James H. McGraw 1884 - Founder of McGraw-Hill Companies Set a higher standard for industrial journalists.
  • Louis Boyer '65 - Owner of Polyloom Corporation of America, was the first to develop artificial turf
  • Peter Michael Goetz '65 - Actor
  • Mary McDonnell '74 - Academy Award-nominated actress
  • Brian Frons '77 - President, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group
  • Andrea Romano '77 - Peabody Award winner. Seven time Emmy award winner. Casting and voice director
  • Marc Calixte '93- Screenwriter ( The Perfect Holiday)
  • Evan Harrington- Actor
  • Jennifer Cody '91- actress
  • Rich Ceisler '78 - Stand-up Comedian, Actor, Writer
  • Stan Rogers '59 - Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist. Composer of "Barrett's Privateers" and "Northwest Passage".
  • Kevin Sylvester '95 - Television Analyst for the Buffalo Sabres.
  • James Houlik '64 - American Tenor Saxophonist
  • Roberta Guaspari '69 - Internationally renowned Music Educator
  • Dr. Allan Dennis '70 - Music educator and conductor
  • Onaje Allan Gumbs '71 - Pianist, Composer, and Bandleader
  • Don Menza - Saxophonist, Arranger, Composer, Jazz Educator
  • Barbara Kilduff '81 - Soprano
  • Clint Holmes - Singer
  • Kevin Moore - Keyboardist for Dream Theater, Chroma Key, and O.S.I., attended briefly in 1985
Politics, government, and law
  • Marcus M. Drake 1852 - Mayor of Buffalo, 1882
  • Reuben Fenton - U.S. Senator and Governor of New York State from 1865 to 1868 (Attended part of a term at Fredonia Academy)
  • Ozra Amander Hadley - Governor of the State of Arkansas from 1871 to 1873
  • Paul Cambria '69 - Leading first-amendment lawyer
  • Robert Spitzer '75 - Political Scientist
  • James B. Foley '79 - Diplomat, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia
Literature and education
  • Neil Postman '53 - Educator and author
  • Lucille Clifton '55 - American Poet
  • Wendy Lindstrom '71- Famous romance writer, 2003 RITA award
  • Gaelen Foley '91 - Author
  • Wendy Corsi Staub '86- New York times best selling suspense author
  • Diane Pennica '73 - Biologist and researcher, Genetech
  • Michael Marletta '73 - Chemist and MacArthur Fellow

  • Joseph A. Allen 1867”“1869
  • J.W. Armstrong 1869”“1898
  • Francis B. Palmer 1898”“1907
  • Myron T. Dana 1908”“1922
  • Howard Griffth Burdge 1922”“1928
  • Herman Cooper 1929”“1931
  • Leslie R. Gregory 1931”“1948
  • Harry W. Porter 1953”“1961
  • Oscar Lanford 1961”“1971
  • Dallas K. Beal 1971”“1984
  • Donald A. MacPhee 1985”“1996
  • Dennis L. Hefner 1997”“Present
(Earlier Presidents were Principals and are not included list) Joseph A. Allen (April 25, 1819”“July 17, 1904) Joseph A. Allen was the first "President" of The Fredonia Normal School. Prior to coming to Fredonia he was the Principal of both Syracuse Academy and The State Reform School and at Westboro where he was principal for seven years. Dennis L. Hefner Dennis L. Hefner received his Bachelor's degree in economics from California State University and both his Masters in economics and Ph. D from Washington State University. Prior to coming to Fredonia he worked for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington, D.C. and also as Vice President of Academic Affairs at California State University in San Bernardino from 1990 to 1994. He also worked as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities from 1994 to 1996.

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

Alma mater

  • Archive and Special Collections, SUNY Fredonia, Daniel E. Reed Library
    • Building Naming Committee - Correspondence, lists of names.
    • College History Buildings - Nixon Hall.
    • History of the College at Fredonia.
    • General History of Buildings.
    • "F.N.S Squad Needs Catchy Nickname" The Leader, 27 January 1936
  • "The Historical Development of State University of New York College..." (PH.D diss. John Ford Ohles) State University of New York at Buffalo, 1964
  • President's List: College History Reference Files, Archives and Special Collections, Daniel A. Reed Library, Suny Fredonia
  • The Normal Leader. Vol. I, No. 1, September, 1899, p. 1
  • The Leader. Vol. CXIV, No. 2, September 13, 2006, p. 5
  • From Academy to State University: Fredonia's Story, by William Chazanof (1967). Accessed 6/16/2007,

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