Alfred University

Alfred University

Infobox University
name = Alfred University

caption = The Steinheim Building (“the castle”) houses the Career Development Center.
motto = "Fiat Lux"
established = 1836
type = Private, and
statutory college
president = Dr. Charles M. Edmonson [cite press release | title = Alfred University Board of Trustees extends Edmondson's contract | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-12 | publisher = Alfred University | date = 2004-05-11]
city = Alfred
state = NY
country = United States
coor = coord|42|15|20|N|77|47|15.1|W|display=inline,title
faculty = 164
students = 2,300cite web | title = Alfred University | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-12 | work = College Board Profiles | publisher = College Board]
undergrad = approx. 2,000
postgrad = approx. 300
campus = Rural, 232 acres (0.9 km²), plus another convert|400|acre|km2 of nearby recreational land
colors = Purple and Gold
alma mater = "Nestled Away 'Neath the Empire State Hills"
fightsong = "On, Saxon Warriors"
athletics = 22 teams
mascot = Saxon
website = []

Alfred University is a small, comprehensive university in the Village of Alfred in Western New York, United States, an hour south of Rochester and two hours southeast of Buffalo. Alfred has an undergraduate population of around 2,000, and approximately 300 graduate students.

Though the institution boasts five separate schools and colleges, the institution's reputation is grounded in the arts and engineering. On April 14, 2005, the University announced it had received a gift of $35 million from alumnus Marlin Miller '54, and his wife, Ginger, to further support arts education. The gift is the largest ever in the university's history and is one of the largest endowment gifts made to a U.S. institution to support arts education. Ten million dollars is earmarked for a new theatre at the Miller Performing Arts Center, previously funded by the Millers, and $25 million will go towards the endowment.


Alfred was founded in 1836 as the Select School by Seventh Day Baptists as a non-sectarian institution. Unusual for the time, the school was co-educational. It was also racially integrated, and enrolled its first African-American student and two Native American students in the 1850s, becoming the second college in the nation to do so.

The origin of the name "Alfred" is uncertain. Residents of the town and students at the two schools believe that the town received its name in honor of Alfred the Great, king of the Saxons, although the first documented occurrence of this connection was in 1881, 73 years after the first record of the name being used. State records which could verify the connection between the Saxon king and the university were lost in a fire in 1911. [cite web | title = Alfred's Town Name | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-12 | first = Susan | last = Strong | year = 1997 | work = Herrick Library Special Collections and Archives] Regardless of whether the connection is historically accurate, Alfred University has embraced King Alfred as a symbol of the school's values, and a statue of the king stands in the center of the campus quad.

Alfred is a member of the Rochester Area Colleges consortium along with Alfred State College, the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Saint John Fisher College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Nazareth College, Monroe Community College, SUNY Brockport, and SUNY Geneseo.

Alfred University, together with Corning Incorporated and the State of New York created the Ceramic Corridor, a high-tech incubator project designed to take advantage of the emerging ceramics industry and to create new jobs. This unique industrial development program is the only one in the United States concentrating on one single aspect of technology - high-tech ceramics - and it is the only major industrial development project centered in a rural area in the U.S.

Extending to the 20th and 21st centuries, Alfred has continued its progressive history of defending equal rights for members of the community. In 1971, Alfred became only the 4th municipality in the U.S. to ban employment discrimination based on sexuality. In the mid 1990s, the university became one of the first to strip credit for ROTC programs, which exhibit prejudice on basis of sexual orientation. However, students attending Alfred University are still free to receive an Army ROTC contract with full tuition paid and attend military science classes through St. Bonaventure University. Amidst the dissolution of the AU Greek System, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity chapter at Alfred University led an overwhelmingly successful effort to ban discrimination based on religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation in the constitution of the 210 chapter international fraternity in 2002. [cite book | title = Brotherhood: Gay Life in College Fraternities | first = Shane L. | last = Windmeyer | publisher = Alyson Publications | year = 1998 | ISBN = 1-55583-409-4] . That action triggered several other national fraternities and sororities to follow suit.

Colleges and schools

Alfred University offers over 60 majors and areas of concentration at its four colleges and schools.

; Private colleges and schools: [ The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences] : [ The College of Business] : [ The Inamori School of Engineering] : [ The Graduate School] ; Statutory colleges: New York State College of Ceramics

AU has been granted chapters of a number of honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa (the Alpha Gamma chapter of New York, granted in 2004 [citation | title = Phi Beta Kappa at Alfred University | date = 2006-03 | publisher = Alfred University] ), Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, Pi Mu Epsilon (the Alpha Iota chapter of New York), Alpha Lambda Delta, and Sigma Tau Delta.


Alfred is especially well-known for its programs in ceramic art, ceramic engineering, glass engineering, and has a strong astronomy program due in part to the presence on campus of the 7-telescope Stull Observatory, which has the largest optical telescope in New York state [] . Asteroid 31113 Stull was named for John Stull, founder and caretaker of the observatory.

There are two libraries on Alfred's campus, the [ Herrick Memorial Library] , which primarily serves the private colleges, and the [ Scholes Library] , which primarily serves the New York State College of Ceramics. The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art has a collection of 8,000 ceramic objects, including both ancient and modern ceramic art and craft.

The Bromley-Daggett Equestrian Center, located at the Maris Cuneo Equine Park, was constructed in 2005. It hosts equine classes, an intramural equestrian club, varsity and JV teams for both English and Western disciplines, clinics, and horse shows. Stalls are available for boarding by university students. The facility has an indoor arena of 16000 ft² and lighted outdoor arenas of convert|28800|sqft|m2|abbr=on and convert|10800|sqft|m2|abbr=on; the entire property consists of convert|400|acre|km2 of land.

The Miller Performing Arts Center was dedicated in 1995. [cite press release | title = Miller Performing Arts Center wins international recognition | url = | accessdate = 2007-09-17 | publisher = Alfred University | date = 2003-02-05]

Alumni Hall

Now used primarily to house the Admissions Department, Alumni Hall has a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The former University chapel, with cathedral ceilings, and offices far up into the cupola is a beautiful example of 19th-century American architecture in Alfred. In the 1990s, Alumni Hall was saved through a restoration effort. Alfred University was once associated with the Seventh Day Baptist Church, and included a school of theology. While the religious connection no longer exists, the architecture of Alumni Hall and other buildings on campus reflect this heritage.

Notable alumni and faculty

Notable alumni include:
* Award-winning ceramic artist Robert Archambeau
* George P. Darrow, United States Congressman from Pennsylvania
* Librarian Melvil Dewey, creator of the Dewey Decimal System, who attended in 1870 but did not graduate
* Phil Elmore, martialist, martial artist, and philosopher
* Biomedical engineer Samuel Hulbert, pioneer in ceramic devices and president of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
* [ Nathan Lyons '57] , founder, Director Emeritus of [ Visual Studies Workshop] , Rochester, NY
* Actor and comedian Robert Klein
* Author Peter Jenkins, whose book "A Walk Across America" begins in Alfred
* Robert Littell, who has written several spy novels
* Inventor and businessman Clarence W. Spicer, student 1891-1894, invented a type of Universal joint and founded Spicer Manufacturing Company, now the Dana Corporation. [Alfred University, Special Collections & Archives, Herrick Memorial Library. [ Clarence W. Spicer] . Retrieved on 2007-12-07]
* Illustrator Taylor Lee of Winchell Cuts The Cheese and the Clueless Groom's Guide
* Arnold Zimmerman, modern sculptor
* Nancy Nadel, City Councilmember, Oakland, California

In business:
* Robert H. Benmosche '66, Chairman, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
* Peter Cuneo '67, Chairman of Cuneo and Co., and Marvel Enterprises, Inc
* Jeffery S. Maurer '69, CEO, Lehman Brothers Trust Company
* Robert R. McComsey '66, Founding Shareholder, Neuberger Berman, LLC
* Joel P. Moskowitz '61, President & Chairman of the Board, Ceradyne, Inc.
* Arthur L. Powell '43, President of Kravco, Inc.

Notable faculty include:
* Artist Robert C. Turner, an influential ceramics artist and teacher who founded the ceramics program at Black Mountain College. Along with Val Cushing, Wayne Higby, and Daniel Rhodes, Turner was a key member of the Alfred ceramics faculty in the 50's-70's, which is considered by some to be the "golden age" of the Alfred ceramics program.
* Artist Wayne Higby, considered to be one of the defining ceramic artists of the 80's. Known for his work in Raku ceramics, Higby attained considerable attention with his large bowl forms that toyed with the notion of vessel and landscape imagery.
* Poet Ben Howard, author of six books of poetry.
* Artist and printmaker Joe Scheer.
* Photographer/ Printmaker John Wood.
* Coach Alexander (Alex) Joseph Yunevich, head football coach from 1937-1941 and 1946-1976, posting a 177-85-12 record with six undefeated seasons. [Alfred University, Special Collections & Archives, Herrick Memorial Library. [ Alex Yunevich] . Retrieved on 2007-12-07]
* Peer Bode, video and new media artist

History & Trivia

Alfred University is not to be confused with the SUNY College of Technology at Alfred. Although completely autonomous, both institutions have their origins in the Alfred Select School, and were heavily shaped by Booth C. Davis. In 1908 Davis petitioned the NY State legislature to fund the NY State College of Agriculture at Alfred University.

In 1941 Alfred State College became an autonomous Junior College due to increased enrollment and increasing needs, which Alfred University could not accommodate, and in 1948 became a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Students of both schools still share a few Alfred peculiarities including: a physical education requirement for most programs, a short break in October dubbed "minibreak", sharing of clubs and organizations (excluding Greek lettered organizations), and cross-registration of classes not offered at the other institution.

The school's mascot is the Saxon, a knight in shining armor. Since the year 871 is when King Alfred the Great succeeded his brother, Ethelred I as King of Wessex and Mercia (see Alfred the Great's childhood), the phone exchange of Alfred University is 871 (i.e., all Alfred U. numbers take the form 1-607-871-xxxx).

Hot Dog Day is held in early April of each year since 1972 at Alfred to raise money for local charities and community-based civic organizations. It is a joint project with Alfred State College coordinated by students and staff from both schools. Typical events include a carnival, small amusement park rides, mud olympics, concerts, a parade, and the consumption of hot dogs. In recent years approximately $7,000 to $8,000 has been raised for charities including the local fire departments, public library, and day care centers. This weekend is typically regarded as the weekend responsible for the highest amount of alcohol consumption for both Alfred University and Alfred State College.Fact|date=February 2008

Alfred's [ Davis Memorial Carillon] , erected in 1937 as a tribute to longtime president [ Boothe C. Davis] , can often be heard while on campus. The bells of the carillon, purchased from Antwerp, were thought to be the oldest bells in the western hemisphere. Research later (2004) showed that the bells were of a more recent vintage, and that Alfred had been the victim of a fraud. On the brighter side, the non-historic nature of the bells allows the university to replace those that have poor tonal quality. Concerts continue four times a week when school is in session (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:30 pm and Saturday at 4 pm), and during the summer months at least once a week. Besides the resident carilloneur, guest carilloneurs have in the past frequently visited and played during the summer (Tuesday evenings in July at 7 pm).

The Black Knight [] has been a part of Alfred University folklore for a long time. The relic was originally part of a parlor stove in a classroom in Kanakadea Hall. When the stove was discarded, the figure was claimed by the Class of 1908 as their mascot. They passed it on to the Class of 1910, thus causing a "war of possession" between the even and odd numbered classes. Many times over the years it disappeared and re-appeared on campus. After a particularly long time away it was returned in 1977 and placed in the University Archives. In 2005 it was transferred to a glass case in the Powell Campus Center along with a plaque describing its history. Many students had heard of the Black Knight during their freshmen orientation and were delighted to have him on display. However, after only a few months, the glass enclosure was destroyed in the middle of the night and the Black Knight stolen. The campus has not treated this as a light-hearted joke and very much hope that it will be returned to campus soon.

Alfred University was mentioned on Saturday Night Live once in 1975 by host, and Alfred University Alumnus, Robert Klein [] When Klein hosted SNL again in 1977, he talked at length about Alfred University in his monologue. []

Greek social organizations

Fraternities and sororities were established at Alfred University for nearly 100 years prior to 2002, when they were discontinued, partially in response to the death of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity member Benjamin Klein under suspicious circumstances and charges of gross negligence on behalf of the fraternity. [cite press release | title = Alfred University implements new requirements for Greek organizations | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-12 | publisher = Alfred University | date = 2002-02-18] cite press release | title = Alfred University trustees vote to eliminate fraternities and sororities | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-12 | publisher = Alfred University | date = 2002-05-20]

Prior to Klein's death, in 1978, student Chuck Stenzel died in a hazing-related incident at Alfred's Klan Alpine fraternity. After Stenzel's death, his mother, Eileen Stevens, created a lobbying organization to increase awareness of hazing and promote anti-hazing laws, as documented in Hank Nuwer's book "Broken Pledges" and a later TV movie of the same name (in which Alfred was not named for legal reasons). Stevens later served as an advisor to Alfred on hazing-related issues, and received an honorary doctorate from the school in 1999.

During the summer of 2002, Greek social organizations lost recognition after an in-depth analysis of the Alfred University Greek system by an eight-member task force appointed by the Board of Trustees. More than 50% of the task force were themselves members of a fraternity or sorority while in college, and 82% of the Board of Trustees are Alfred University alumni.

At the time of closing in 2002, the Greek system at Alfred University included national and international fraternities Lambda Chi Alpha, since 1909, Sigma Alpha Mu, Kappa Sigma, Alpha Chi Rho, Delta Sigma Phi, and Zeta Beta Tau; as well as local fraternities Kappa Psi Upsilon, and Klan Alpine. The sororities included Delta Zeta, Theta Theta Chi, Alpha Kappa Omicron, and Sigma Chi Nu. The overall Greek community made significant contributions to Alfred University, Alfred, NY, and the surrounding communities, such as annual food drives that raised more than convert|2000|lb|abbr=on of food each fall for the Hornell food bank. Many of the societies have highly active alumni associations, some of which gather at Alfred University reunions, or at independent functions.

Alpha Phi Omega is still recognized, as are academic fraternities, because they do not fall under the same category of restrictions as social fraternities.


External links

* [ Alfred University] – official website
* [ Image slideshow, Alfred, NY]

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