150 Years of Geneseo
As we share the history of the College, we wish to acknowledge that SUNY Geneseo resides on the historic homeland of the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Tonawanda Seneca Nation. This acknowledgement is intended as a respectful recognition of a painful history, and we believe is particularly important in light of the college’s educational mission and its Community Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
SUNY Geneseo opened its doors in 1867 as the Wadsworth Normal and Training School, which issued state-certified teaching credentials to students on completion of two- or three-year academic and training programs.
A Growing Institution
A training school was added to the back of the Normal School and enrollment doubled during the decade.
First Athletic Competitions
The football and men’s track and field teams participated in the college’s earliest known intercollegiate athletic competitions.
The college’s original curriculum was reorganized, now requiring two years of professional study.
World War I
The Normal School sent four faculty and 117 students and graduates to fight in World War I. Eight lost their lives.
Student Teaching Began
The newly established Department of Rural Education began offering real-world student teaching experiences off campus.
Admissions Standards and Selectivity Raised
Admissions tests, a high school principal statement, faculty interviews, and voice and diction tests became required for admission.
World War II
The College faced a 50 percent drop in enrollment during World War II. The Class of 1944 had only one male student.
National Accreditation Arrived, Old Main Said Goodbye
Geneseo earned its first accreditation by the Middle States Association.
The college’s first building, Old Main, was razed to make room for new construction.
New Name and Construction Boom
In 1962 the College officially changed its named to the State University College at Geneseo. In 1967 the campus erected seven new buildings.
Preserving the College's History
The college libraries formed the Genesee Valley Historical Collection and the College Archives Collection, the first systematic effort to collect and preserve SUNY Geneseo history.
Ivy League Reputation
Word of Geneseo’s Ivy League reputation spread and was featured in publications such as Money Magazine and the New York Times.
College Joined COPLAC
The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges promotes and supports high-quality, public liberal arts education in a student-centered, residential environment.
New Housing Village Opened
The Saratoga Terrace townhouse-style complex was built as an upper-level student alternative to traditional corridor or suite-style buildings.
A New President, Many Firsts
The Office of Sustainability was established, the first Lavender and Sankofa Graduations took place, and the college’s first chief diversity officer was hired.