The nation’s largest and most comprehensive state university system, The State University of New York (SUNY), was founded at Potsdam, New York in 1816. Years later, the Morrill Act of 1862 led to the creation of four Ivy League land-grant SUNY colleges, which now currently exist at Cornell University. SUNY was officially established in February 1948 when New York became the 48th state to create a state university system. SUNY initially represented a consolidation of 29 unaffiliated institutions, including 11 teachers’ colleges. All of these colleges, with their unique histories and backgrounds, united for a common goal: To serve New York State. Since 1948 SUNY has grown to include 64 individual colleges and universities that were either formerly independent institutions or directly founded by the State University of New York.

Today, the State University of New York's 64 geographically dispersed campuses bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation's largest comprehensive system of public higher education. The State University of New York’s 64 campuses are divided into four categories, based on educational mission, the kinds of academic opportunities available, and degrees offered. SUNY offers students a wide diversity of educational options: short-term vocational/technical courses, certificate programs, associate degree programs, baccalaureate degree programs, graduate degrees, and post-doctoral studies. The University offers access to almost every field of academic or professional study somewhere within the system via 7,669 degree and certificate programs overall.

SUNY students represent the society that surrounds them. In January 2008, 19.9% of all enrolled students were minorities. While SUNY students are predominantly New York State residents, representing every one of the state's 62 counties, they also hail from every other state in the United States, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and 168 foreign countries. SUNY enrolls 40% of all New York State high school graduates, and the total enrollment of 418,000 full-time and part-time students represents 37% of New York State’s higher education student population. SUNY alumni number over 2.4 million graduates residing in New York State and throughout the world.

SUNY attracts the best and brightest scholars, scientists, artists, and professionals and boasts nationally and internationally recognized faculty in all major disciplines. Faculty are regular recipients of prestigious awards and honors. SUNY colleges and universities range from world-renowned community colleges, such as the Fashion Institute of Technology, to first-rate graduate schools and the nation’s top veterinary school. The highly-regarded doctoral degree-granting universities are home to top research programs and attract experts in a variety of fields. Students study in campus classrooms and laboratories or work from a distance through the SUNY Learning Network, which provides educational opportunities to more than 70,000 students through 4,000 courses and 60 degree and certificate programs.

The State University of New York is committed to providing quality education at an affordable price to New Yorkers and students from across the country and the world.


SUNY is committed to bringing its students the very best and brightest scholars, scientists, artists, and professionals. SUNY campuses boast nationally and internationally recognized faculty in all the major disciplines. Their efforts are regularly recognized in numerous prestigious awards and honors. Among our faculty are Nobel Laureates, Dirac and Fields Medal winners, National Medal of Science Laureates, and members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Also among SUNY faculty are winners of the Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grants” and Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Awards. SUNY highly values the work our faculty do in the classroom as well. We are proud to note that 62 percent of our faculty at state-operated campuses who are full-time teach 75 percent of total credit hours.


SUNY encourages research and innovation. In FY 2005, funding for SUNY research and sponsored programs totaled $894.1 million, supporting more than 18,000 employees and 10,500 SUNY research projects. This is a 10 percent increase from the previous year and more than a 95.3 percent increase since FY 1995. In FY 2004, a diverse range of SUNY ideas and discoveries generated 44 U.S. patents and $13.5 million in royalties. Based on the most recent Association of University Technology Managers “Licensing Survey: FY 2003,” SUNY is ranked the 14th largest producer of patents of all universities public and private, just behind Harvard and Cornell Universities. Our research also ranked 10th among New York State organizations in a number of patents from 1999 to 2003, ahead of Carrier Corp., Siemens, Lockheed Martin, Bausch & Lomb, and Bristol-Meyers Squibb.

Biomedical advances by SUNY professors include the invention of MRI technology, the first implantable heart pacemaker, discovery of the causes of Lyme disease, and the invention of Nicorette® gum for smoking withdrawal.

The State University of New York is governed by a Board of Trustees, appointed by the Governor, which directly determines the policies to be followed by the 34 state-supported campuses. Community colleges have their own local boards of trustees whose relationship to the State University Board is defined by law.

The University’s motto is: “To Learn—To Search—To Serve.”