In 1844 the University at Albany began as the New York State Normal School, the first New York State chartered institution of higher learning. Originally a school for training school teachers, in 1905 it became the New York State Normal College with a four-year curriculum. When the State University of New York system came about in 1948, the University at Albany was absorbed into the massive public university development that included over 50 campuses. A new Uptown Campus opened in 1966 to accommodate the growing university became the home of the liberal arts, whereas the Downtown Campus hosted public policy departments. In the 90s, the University built the Albany NanoTech complex on the Uptown campus, and added the East Campus in Rensselaer County for the school’s Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics.
UA has three campuses, the main Uptown Campus, Downtown Campus, and East Campus. The Uptown Campus isn’t your typical image of university grounds. Rather, it is an exhibit of modern architecture. A student comments on the contemporary design, “While it is one big cement block, it makes the school one of the easiest to navigate, once you can tell the buildings apart. All the buildings are located around the major fountain, so you never have to worry about running up and down hills to get to a class on time. There is also a great "tunnel" system once the bad weather starts, which is October until April.” The Downtown Campus houses the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, School of Criminal Justice, College of Computing and Information, and School of Social Welfare. The new East Campus is in East Greenbush and is the locale of the School of Public Health, the Center for Functional Genomics, and the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics.
The University at Albany is located in Albany, New York, the state’s capital. With multiple colleges in town and 95,000 residents, UA students can always find something to do off campus. As one student describes, “Albany as a city is like no other place, in that it has three colleges in its vicinity, more on the outskirts, and is also New York state's capital. So while you may be riding the bus to class with a couple of drunk freshmen, you may be getting off at a stop with some big wig capital representatives. It is very easy to get trapped in the 'college bubble', but since UA spills out into downtown Albany, you are constantly around the residents and business people of Albany.” The city provides a convenient bus system that allows students to easily get around town for shopping, eating, and nightlife.
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One student writes, “The only single event that completely takes over UA life is Fountain Day. It sounds horrible; splashing and knocking your friends around in a gigantic cement fountain all while drunk and bruised, but it really is a lot of fun. It does get rowdy and administration seems to lack the ability to handle it. Do not get thousands of kids pumped for one day. They will riot.”
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Randy Cohen (1971) is “The Ethicist” columnist for The New York Times and has also written for Late Night with David Letterman.
Harold Gould (1947) acted in the sitcoms Rhoda and Golden Girls.
Gregory Maguire (1976) wrote Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men.
John Ortiz (attended) acted in the films Carlito’s Way, Miami Vice, and American Gangster.
The UA Great Danes are NCAA Division I and participate in the America East Conference. UA has varsity teams for baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, indoor track, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The football team won the Northeast Conference Championship in 2002 and 2008, and UAlbany’s athletic department won the 2004-2005 Stuart P. Haskell, Jr. Commissioner’s Cup for the strongest athletic program in America East. For students who wish to compete below the varsity level, UA offers club teams funded by the Student Association.
UA’s mascot is the Great Dane.
University at Albany was the first New York State chartered institution of higher learning.
The Albany Student Press is one of the oldest independent college newspapers in the country.
UAlbany’s biggest rival is Siena College in Loudonville, NY.
On the main campus there are four quads (dorms) that house around 1,200 students. The quads range from suite style set-ups with private bathrooms to traditional rooms with community baths. Quads have mostly double rooms, though there are some singles and triples as well. For upperclassmen, there are university apartments with suites to accommodate two to five students that are bigger, newer, and ritzier than their quad counterparts.
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