SUNY College at Oneonta

Ravine Parkway 
Oneonta NY 13820 

(607) 436-3500

State University of New York at Oneonta

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State University of New York College at Oneonta
Motto Founded in Honor and Good Faith
Established 1889
Type Public
Endowment $30.9 million[1]
Undergraduates 5,852 undergraduate students[2]
Location Oneonta, New York, USA
Campus Rural, 250 acres
Athletics Nineteen sports
Nickname Red Dragons

The State University of New York College at Oneonta (more commonly known as SUNY Oneonta, and also called Oneonta State and O-State) is a four-year liberal arts college in Oneonta, New York, United States, with approximately 5,900 students. The college offers a wide variety of bachelor's degree programs and a number of graduate degrees. Many academic programs at SUNY Oneonta hold additional national accreditations, including those in Business Economics, Education, Music Industry, Human Ecology, Dietetics and Chemistry. SUNY Oneonta was ranked No. 41 on the 2012 U.S. News and World Report list of “Best Colleges” in the North; named to the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine list of "100 Best Values in Public Colleges” for six years running;[3] and included on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since its inception in 2006. In 2011, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching conferred upon SUNY Oneonta its Community Engagement Classification “in recognition of the college’s civic partnerships and successful efforts to integrate service activities into its curriculum."[4]


SUNY Oneonta was established in 1889 as the Oneonta Normal School. It was located in a building nicknamed “Old Main” at the top of Maple Street in the city of Oneonta. The school’s first principal was James M. Milne, for whom the college's current library is named. For nearly 40 years, Old Main was the only building on campus, until 1933 when Bugbee School was built. Named after Percy I. Bugbee, the second principal of the Oneonta Normal School, Bugbee School provided an on-campus training facility for the student teachers attending the normal school. In 1948, the college became a founding member of the State University of New York system, and the Oneonta Normal School was officially renamed the State University College of Education in 1951.[5]

Royal F. Netzer was the college’s president from 1951–1970, presiding over a period of tremendous growth. The three joined buildings known as the Morris Conference Complex were the first ones erected on the current campus. The cornerstone of the current building was laid in 1950, with one wing being completed in February 1951 and the other in September 1951. The two wings, Bacon and Denison Halls, were originally used as dormitories, which were much needed on the rapidly expanding campus.[6]

In 1952, the Faculty-Student Association Inc.(forerunner of today’s Oneonta Auxiliary Services) purchased a 63-acre farm about four miles north of the college that led to the development of today’s 276-acre College Camp, which provides educational, recreational and social opportunities for the college community.[7]

Home economics programs were added to the college’s teacher education programs, and in 1954, a Home Economics building and heating plant were constructed on the upper campus. These were followed in 1958 with the construction of a women’s dormitory, Wilber Hall, followed by Tobey Hall in 1959.[5]

The 1960s were a period of rapid growth in the college’s operating budget, student enrollment, number of staff members and the campus itself. To alleviate the shortage of classrooms, 10 mobile classrooms were brought in as a temporary solution. Additional property was acquired to the north and west of the campus, providing two entrances from West Street, one near a new service building.[8]

The first library on the upper campus was built in what is today’s Alumni Hall. Other new buildings on the upper campus included a dorm, Littell Hall; a cafeteria (Lee Hall) and the Chase Physical Fitness Center. A path connected the upper campus with Old Main, which was slowly being phased out as the main academic building.[5]

In fall 1963, the college started accepting transfer students into 13 liberal arts programs, beginning the transition to a multipurpose higher education institution.[8]

In 1964, a men’s dormitory (Golding Hall) and the first science building, known as Science I, were built. These were followed in 1966 with the construction of four administration and class buildings (Mills Dining Hall, Schumacher, Netzer and Hodgdon Instructional Resource Center), five dormitories (Ford, Grant, Hays, Huntington and Sherman halls) and the health center.[5]

The late 1960s were a period of rapid faculty turnover. Between 1966 and 1970, there were 205 faculty resignations, retirements or contract terminations. With 35 or 40 new positions each year, the number of new faculty members increased from 35 in 1963 to 80 or more from 1966–1970. With the rapid growth in the number of faculty, the college’s four major academic departments began to split into separate departments. The Department of English, Speech and Theater, which also included Foreign Languages, was the first to subdivide in 1969 into three departments: English, Speech and Theater, and Foreign Languages. In 1970, the Science Department split into separate departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics and Science Education, and the Social Science Department split into six separate departments.[8]

By the early 1970s, several more new buildings had been constructed, including academic facilities (Fitzelle Hall, Fine Arts, Science II and the current Milne Library), Wilsbach Dining Hall, five dormitories (Matteston, MacDuff, Curtis, Blodgett and Hulbert halls) and the Hunt College Union, named for Charles W. Hunt, who served as the school’s principal/president from 1933–1951.[5]

A field station on Otsego Lake in Cooperstown was also completed, stimulated by a gift of 300–400 additional acres. The new building housed an environmental laboratory facility for the Biology Department and the new graduate program in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Objects, the forerunner to today’s Cooperstown Graduate Program in museum studies.[8]

Between 1972 and 1980, teacher education enrollments declined dramatically, while liberal arts enrollments increased. The 1970s were a decade of state budget problems and declining enrollments.[8] Clifford Craven led the college as president from 1970 to 1987.[6]

The historic Old Main building was torn down in 1977, and in 1981, two pillars from the building were installed on a hill overlooking the SUNY Oneonta campus as a reminder of the college’s history.[5] Today, they are part of a campus tradition for new and graduating students called “Passing Through the Pillars.”[9]

In 1982, the College at Oneonta Foundation was formed with the mission of raising and administering gifts and grants to enhance the academic status of the college through endowment, scholarships and institutional programs.[10] Alan B. Donovan served as college president from 1988–2008. Accomplishments during his tenure included advancements in technology, including Internet access; a more competitive admissions process, expanded multicultural programs and increased financial stability. The college’s endowment grew from $1.9 million when Donovan joined SUNY Oneonta in 1988, to $30 million when he left.[11]

Challenges during Donovan's era included student violence in downtown Oneonta and racial tension on campus. The college made national news in fall 1992 during a racial-profiling incident known as the “Black List.” On the morning of Sept. 4, 1992, a 77-year-old woman visiting a family just outside the city of Oneonta told police she was attacked as she slept and struggled with her knife-wielding assailant before he fled. Based on a glimpse of the attacker's hand and his voice, she concluded he was black, and blood at the scene indicated he had been cut on the hand, police said. College officials gave New York State Police a list of 78 black male students to help in the investigation. In the following days, police stopped hundreds of people of color in the area, questioned them about their whereabouts and checked their hands for signs of wounds. Release of the list sparked public outrage and national media attention. The perpetrator was never found.[12]

SUNY Oneonta’s commitment to community partnership took root in the 1990s with the establishment of the Center for Economic and Community Development and the Center for Social Responsibility and Community. Several construction projects were completed on Donovan’s watch, including the Alumni Field House in 1998 and the Robin Ross Higgins Hall in 2003.[5] A $10 million renovation to the Human Ecology facilities was also completed in 2003.

In 2008, Nancy Kleniewski began her tenure as SUNY Oneonta’s seventh president. In 2009, she convened the Strategic Planning and Resource Council, composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members and charged with developing a strategic plan to help define the college's future. The resulting “Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan 2010” was adopted by the College Senate in spring 2010 to guide the college through 2015.


The mission of the college is “to unite excellence in teaching, scholarship, civic engagement, and stewardship to create a student-centered learning community." SUNY Oneonta Mission, Vision & Strategic Plan 2010 SUNY Oneonta is dedicated to providing an exceptional educational experience at an affordable cost. The college is known for outstanding and accessible faculty, a campus community committed to academics and service, developing students into lifelong learners, and a beautiful campus that helps nurture connections between the upper Susquehanna Valley of rural central New York and our global society.[13]

Academic programs

Undergraduate degree programs

  • Accounting
  • Africana & Latino Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art
  • Astronomy*
  • Biology
  • Business Economics
  • Chemistry
  • Child and Family Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Computer Art
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Dietetics
  • Earth Science
  • Economics
  • Education
  • English
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Food Service and Restaurant Administration
  • French
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Gerontology Studies
  • History
  • Human Ecology
  • International Studies
  • Mass Communications
  • Mathematics
  • Meteorology
  • Music
  • Music Industry
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Theatre
  • Water Resources

*The SUNY Oneonta College Observatory is home to the largest telescope in New York, a 1-meter (40") Newtonian reflector.

Graduate programs

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) Biology
  • Master of Arts (M.A.) Earth Science
  • Master of Arts (M.A.) History Museum Studies
  • Master of Arts (M.A.) Mathematics
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Master of Science in Education (M.S. in Education): Adolescence Education (Grades 7–12), Childhood Education (Grades 1–6), Family and Consumer Science Education (Grades K-12), Literacy Education, M.S. Ed. in Childhood Education with Literacy, School Counselor (K-12 certification), and Educational Technology Specialist (K-12 certification) Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Adolescence Education[14]

Other academic programs

  • Center for Social Science Research
  • Cooperstown Biological Field Station
  • International Education
  • Center for Academic Development and Enrichment
  • New York State Migrant Education
  • Pre-professional Programs.

Residential living

Over 3,000 students live in the 15 residence halls at SUNY Oneonta, which offer living arrangements ranging from doubles to apartments including several themed housing options such as the Quiet Section, Oneonta’s Wilderness Living/Learning (OWLS), First Year Experience, and “Making a Difference” sections. The Residence Life staff members offer academic and social programs as well as individual attention and a comfortable living environment. Dining services at SUNY Oneonta are offered by Sodexo, and the college’s residential dining halls were the first in the country designed specifically for Sodexo’s Campus Crossroads program. Dining plans are unlimited and offer options for additional dollars for purchases at cafes and other retail facilities on campus.

Clubs and activities

Honor Societies

Active Chapters:

Inactive Chapters:

Greek Organizations

Active Fraternities:

Active Sororities:


SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Political Science Conference

The SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Political Science Conference is a tradition hosted by the Oneonta Political Science Club and the Political Science Department. The first conference was hosted March 20–21, 2009. The keynote speaker for that year was Alan Chartock, Professor Emeritus at SUNY Albany and host of The Capitol Connection.[15] The 2010 conference keynote speaker was Peter Balakian of Colgate University.[16] SUNY Oneonta hosted its third annual conference on March 11, 2011 with Sarah Pralle, professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, as the keynote speaker.[17] The keynote speaker for the 2012 conference was Dr. Jeffrey Segal, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Stony Brook University.[18]

SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

The SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference is an annual conference in its 18th year. It will be held April 12–13, 2013. First conceived in 1996 under the supervision of the late Douglas Shrader, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Oneonta, the event has become one of the most prestigious and widely attended undergraduate philosophy conferences in the United States. It is sponsored by the college’s Philosophy Club and organized by a student Conference Committee with support from faculty adviser Dr. Michael Koch.[19]


Faith-based Organizations

Poetry Slam Association

The Big O' Poetry Slam is a widely attended event on the campus at Oneonta State. It was founded by Alicia Francis, Jamie Manning, Robert Haggerty, George Castle and Robb Thibault on October 24, 2001. Hunt College Union is the certified poetry slam venue on campus with Poetry Slam Inc. and member of the Association of College Unions International. Some highlights include hosting the first two Poetry Cross Training Camps. The Big O' Poetry Slam has featured more than a dozen national poetry slam champions. The club has sent teams to the College Union Poetry Slam Nationals seven years in a row, which have made three finals stage appearances, including taking the silver medal at the 2005 College Nationals and placing 4th at the 2008 Nationals in New Mexico.


WIRE TV (Campus Channel 73, Time Warner Channel 23) is SUNY Oneonta's student-run television station. The station produces over 4 hours of original programming each week, in addition to Live Sporting events. To check out current and past programming, visit WIRE TV's website.


WONY 90.9 FM is SUNY Oneonta's student-run radio station.

Other Clubs

  • Accounting Society
  • Africana & Latino Studies Club
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Marketing Association (OnMark)
  • Anthropology Club
  • Apollo Music Club
  • Art & Scope
  • Association of Childhood Education
  • Association of Secondary Educators
  • Audio Production & Engineering Club
  • Badminton Club
  • Biology Club
  • Caribbean Student Association
  • College Union Activities Council
  • Colleges Against Cancer (American Cancer Society)
  • Communication Arts Society
  • Computer Art Club (Eta Kau Pi)
  • Computer Programmers United
  • Creative Writing Club
  • Cricket Club
  • Criminal Justice Club
  • Dance Team
  • Democracy Matters Club
  • Different Paths
  • Drag'n Rolls (Drumline)
  • Economics Club
  • Environmental Science Club
  • Equestrian Club
  • Film Club
  • Finance Club
  • Food & Nutrition Association
  • Gender Equality & Rights Society
  • Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GLBT Alliance)
  • Geography Club
  • Geology Club
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Harry Potter Club
  • Hispanic Organization for Learning Advancement
  • History Club
  • Hooked on Tonics (Acapella Choir)
  • Human Ecology Club
  • Indian Cultural Club
  • International Students Organization
  • Intramural Association
  • Japanese Anime and Media
  • Japanese Society for All
  • Kickline
  • Korean Cultural Club
  • Knit-Wits (Knitting & Crochetting)
  • Club Lacrosse
  • Mask & Hammer (Theatre Production)
  • Men's Rugby Football Club
  • Meteorology Club
  • Mock Trial Club
  • Mountain Biking Club
  • Music Industry Club
  • Oneonta State NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)
  • Oneonta State Cheerleading
  • Oneonta State Fencing Club
  • Oneonta State Gamer's Guild
  • Oneonta State Hockey
  • Oneontan (Yearbook)
  • Outing Club (Outdoor-Living)
  • Parnassus (English Club)
  • Philosophy Club
  • Physics & Astronomy Club
  • Pitched Slapped (Women's Acapella Group)
  • Political Science Club
  • Pre-Health Professions Association
  • Pre-Law Society
  • Progressives and Friends
  • Protect Your Environment Club
  • Psychology Club
  • Racquetball Club
  • Resident Student Organization
  • Rock to Cure
  • Women's Rugby Football Club
  • St. Jude's Giants (St. Jude's Children Hospital)
  • Sanford Society (Math/Computer Science/Stats)
  • Ski & Snowboarding Club
  • Sociology Club
  • Songwriters' Club
  • Speech and Debate Team
  • State Times (School Newspaper)
  • Student Fashion Society
  • Students Alternative Voice
  • Students for Global Education
  • Students of Color Coalition
  • Students Protecting Animal Rights
  • Taekwondo
  • Terpsichorean Dance Company
  • Trait D'Union (French Club)
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Voices of Serenity Gospel Choir
  • Volleyball (Men's)
  • Young Republicans Club
  • Zombie Defense Corps


Oneonta Red Dragons
University College at Oneonta
Conference(s) SUNYAC
NCAA Division III
Athletics director Tracey Ranieri
Location Oneonta, NY
Varsity teams 21 (10 Men & 11 Women)
Football stadium All College Field
Basketball arena Dewar Arena
Mascot Red Dragon
Nickname Red Dragons
Fight song
Colors Red and White


Homepage Oneonta Red Dragons

The Oneonta Red Dragons athletics program represent the College at Oneonta, State University of New York. The school's team currently competes at the Division III level in the State University of New York Athletic Conference, and has been since the conference's inception in 1958. Oneonta's athletic teams also compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The school facilities include Dewar Arena in the Alumni Field House, All College Field, Chase Athletic Building, and Red Dragon Soccer, Baseball and Softball fields.


Sport Venue Coach 2012–13 Year
Baseball Red Dragon Baseball Field Ben Grimm 2nd Year
Basketball (Men) Dewar Arena Vincent Medici 9th Year
Basketball (Women) Dewar Arena Daphne Thompson 6th Year
Cross Country (Men & Women) Fortin Park Angelo Posillico 3rd Year
Field Hockey All College Field Kelly Kingsbury 5th Year
Lacrosse (Men) All College Field Dan Mahar 6th Year
Lacrosse (Women) All College Field Ali Pollock 2nd Year
Soccer (Men) Red Dragon Soccer Field Iain Byrne 10th Year
Soccer (Women) Red Dragon Soccer Field Liz McGrail 6th Year
Softball Red Dragon Softball Field Liz Wagner 7th Year
Swimming & Diving (Men & Women) Chase Pool Chris Schuler-Ghiorse 16th Year
Tennis (Men & Women) Dr. Joseph A. Heissan Tennis Courts Lonnie Mitchel 2nd Year
Indoor Track & Field (Men & Women) Alumni Field House Matt LoPiccolo 13th Year
Outdoor Track & Field (Men & Women) All College Field Matt LoPiccolo 13th Year
Volleyball (Women) Dewar Arena Colleen Cashman 14th Year
Wrestling Chase Gymnasium Duane Ritter 9th Year

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

Sources: Google Maps, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers

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