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 exist at Cornell University. SUNY was officially established in February 1948 when New York became the 48th state (of the then 48 states) to create a state university system. SUNY initially represented a consolidation of 29 unaffiliated institutions, including 11 teachers colleges. 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. The 1950s were devoted to development and organization. Significant achievements included establishments of the Upstate and Downstate Medical Centers, the Research Foundation of the State University, and accreditation of SUNY as a single institution by the Middle States Association. The next decade saw academic and physical growth that was without precedent in U.S. education history. SUNY was reshaped into strong liberal arts colleges and four major university centers; the Stony Brook Health Sciences Center was founded; and the framework for today’s 30 locally sponsored community colleges was set in place.
Today, the State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the country, with more than 7,000 degree and certificate programs. The 64 campuses of SUNY serve more than 467,000 students from every county in New York State, all 50 states in the nation, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and 160 nations. The SUNY Learning Network also provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students through online courses and degree and certificate programs. There are more than 2.8 million alumni of SUNY residing in New York State and throughout the world.
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