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.
When founded in 1948, the University consolidated 29 state-operated but unaffiliated institutions whose varied histories of service dated as far back as 1816. It has grown to a point where its impact is felt educationally, culturally, and economically the length and breadth of the state.
As a comprehensive public university, State University of New York provides a meaningful educational experience to the broadest spectrum of individuals. Nearly 367,000 students are pursuing traditional study in classrooms and laboratories or are working at home, at their own pace, through such innovative institutions as the SUNY Learning Network and Empire State College, for over 25 years a leader in non-traditional education, distance learning, and assessment of prior learning.
Of the total enrollment, approximately 36.6% of the students are 25 years of age or older, reflecting State University's services to specific constituencies, such as training courses for business and industry, continuing educational opportunities for the professional community, and personal enrichment for more mature persons.
The State University's students are predominantly New York State residents. Representing every one of the state's 62 counties, they make up more than 96 percent of the University's undergraduate student population. State University of New York students also come from every other state in the United States, from four U.S. territories or possessions, and from more than 160 foreign countries.
The State University enrolls 35 percent of all New York State high school graduates, and its total enrollment of just under 370,000 (full-time and part-time) is approximately 37 percent of the state's entire higher education student population. Between 1976 and 1997, the University recorded a 167 percent increase in the enrollment of African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans, compared with a 63 percent average increase among colleges and universities across the state.
Because of its structure and comprehensive programs, the State University offers students a wide diversity of educational options: short-term vocational/technical courses, certificate programs, baccalaureate degrees, graduate degrees, and post-doctoral studies. The University offers access to almost every field of academic or professional study somewhere within the system-some 5,180 programs of study overall.
Curricula range from those in the more conventional career fields, such as business, engineering, medicine, teaching, performing arts, social work, finance, and forestry, to those concerned with tomorrow's developing and societal needs in the areas of environmental science, urban studies, immunology, information systems, biotechnology, telecommunications, microbiology, and health services management.
As part of the University's commitment to bring to the students of New York the very best and brightest scholars, scientists, artists, and professionals, the State University's distinguished faculty is recruited from the finest graduate schools and universities throughout the United States and many countries around the world, and includes nationally and internationally recognized figures in all the major disciplines. Their efforts are regularly recognized in numerous prestigious awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize.
State University's research contributions are helping to solve some of today's most urgent problems. At the same time, contracts and grants received by University faculty directly benefit the economic development of the regions in which they are located.
State University researchers pioneered nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and the supermarket bar code scanner, introduced time-lapse photography of forestry subjects, isolated the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and developed the first implantable heart pacemaker. Other University researchers continue important studies in such wide-ranging areas as breast cancer, immunology, marine biology, sickle-cell anemia, and robotics, and make hundreds of other contributions, inventions, and innovations for the benefit of society.
The University's program for the educationally and economically disadvantaged, consisting of Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) and Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC), has become a model for delivering better learning opportunities to young people and adults traditionally bypassed by higher education. Over the past 30 years, almost 482,000 New York State residents have been served.
EOPs currently serve 11,225 students at 46 State University campuses, providing counseling and tutoring to improve scholastic performance, and support services in such areas as academic planning, housing, and financial aid. At EOCs in 10 locations across the state, an additional 13,000 students are improving educational competencies, preparing for college entry, or learning marketable skills and occupations.
The 30 locally-sponsored two-year community colleges operating under the program of the State University offer local citizens programs that are directly and immediately job-related as well as degree programs that serve as job-entry educational experience or a transfer opportunity to a baccalaureate degree at a senior campus. In the forefront of efforts to meet the accelerating pace of technological developments and the requirements of continuing educational opportunity, they provide local industry with trained technicians and help companies and employees in retraining and skills upgrading.
State University's involvement in the health sciences and health care is extensive and responsive to the rapid changes in society and the growing needs identified by the state's public health community. Hundreds of thousands of New York's citizens are served each year by medical and health sciences faculty and students in University hospitals and clinics or affiliated hospitals.
The University's economic development services programs provide research, training, and technical assistance to the state's business and industrial community through Business and Industry Centers, the New York State Small Business Development Center, the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence, Rural Services Institutes, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, Technical Assistance Centers, Small Business Institutes, Centers for Advanced Technology, and international development.
State Universitylibraries, the major resource which supports the teaching and research activities of its students and faculty, are an important community resource too. Nearly six million items circulated by campus libraries in fiscal year 1995-96, another three million items were used in-house, and almost a quarter million items were made available to the wider community through interlibrary loan. Increasingly, the circulation methods reflected in these traditional statistics are supplemented by electronic and Internet access. Annual attendance at the University's libraries is more than 21 million students, faculty, and public citizens. More than 20 million volumes and government documents are available, as well as nearly 14 thousand CD-ROMs and other computer files. More than two million reference questions were answered, many consisting of requests for help with CD-ROM and online database searches.
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."
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