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Campus History

The State University of New York at Oswego was founded in 1861 as the Oswego Primary Teachers’ Training School by Edward Austin Sheldon, who embraced and popularized some of the most innovative teaching methods of his day. In 1913, the institution — then known as the Oswego Normal School — moved from the city of Oswego to the current lakeside location following the construction and opening of what is now known as Sheldon Hall.

In 1942, state legislation elevated the institution from a normal school to the degree-granting Oswego State Teachers College. In 1948, Oswego became one of the State University of New York’s charter members. To meet the expanded need for specialized instruction, the institution broadened its academic perspective to become a full-fledged arts and sciences institution in the SUNY system and featuring a range of liberal and professional studies by 1962.

Oswego’s student body quadrupled during the 1960s and early 1970s, which was a busy time of building on campus as well — 29 new buildings opened in the 1960s alone. The institution was divided into the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and School of Education in 1992. The College of Arts and Sciences spun off the School of Communication, Media and the Arts in 2007 and became the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2008.

The campus today consists of 58 buildings with classroom, laboratory, residential and athletic facilities. Recent years have witnessed the launch of an $850 million campus-wide renovation and renewal program, highlighted by the 2006 opening of the Marano Campus Center — the college’s first new building in 35 years — and the 2013 opening of the $118 million Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.

SUNY Oswego established an extension site in Syracuse in 2008 to help meet the growing needs of part-time adult students, predominantly at the graduate level. Enrollment demand led to subsequent expansion — to “extension center” and then further to “branch campus” designation — enabling the college to offer bachelor’s degree completion programs and expanded graduate-level degrees at what is now SUNY Oswego’s Syracuse Campus.

Oswego is one of 13 university colleges in the SUNY system. Roughly 8,000 students enroll, and more than 92,000 alumni live in New York and around the nation and world. Oswego offers more than 110 undergraduate majors and minors and graduate programs.