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The University at Albany has a rich history dating back more than 175 years.
In 1844, a "normal school" was founded in Albany to train teachers for a rapidly growing population. For nearly 50 years, the Normal School provided a two-year education to students from across the state.
By 1890, the evolving school system in New York required a new approach to teacher training. The Normal School gradually made changes: a four-year program, new curricula, new faculty and new standards for student enrollment.
In 1914, the institution officially became known as the New York State College for Teachers — one year after the figure of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, first appeared on the University seal. The New York State College for Teachers focused exclusively on training secondary school teachers, within the context of a liberal arts curriculum. Over the years, the College attracted a strong faculty with a majority holding doctoral degrees.
By 1962, the College had earned national distinction and the State University of New York system of higher education underwent a rapid expansion in response to rising needs. The College joined the system as one of four University Centers and became a broad-based public research institution.
Today, the University at Albany is a major public research university where over 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate with top-ranked faculty to conduct major research and scholarship in a wide range of disciplines.
To learn more about UAlbany's history, visit the University Archives.
Motto: Sapientia et sua et docendi causa ("Wisdom both for its own sake and for the sake of teaching")
Colors: Purple and Gold
Mascot: Damien the Great Dane
Fight Song: "Purple and Gold"
Alma Mater: "College of the Empire State"
College of the Empire State,
Mother of an army great,
Thou the molder of our fate,
Thee we sing today.
Thine the hand with clasp so strong,
Holding tho' the years be long,
Thou the burden of our song,
Thee we sing today.
Ways of pleasantness are thine,
Leading where in wisdom's shrine,
Joy and cheer, and hope divine,
Ever dwell for aye.
Thine the voice whose call we hear,
Thine the hand which holds us near,
Thine the heart, so true, so dear,
Cherished, loved alway.
Wisdom's duty heeds thy call,
Ever in Minerva's thrall,
Pass the torch from one to all,
Guide each destiny.
'Neath the Purple and the Gold,
Let thy history unfold,
Sons and daughters, young and old,
Hail to Albany.
Our symbol of excellence
Since the University at Albany's beginnings as the New York State Normal College, Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, has been the institution's enduring symbol.
The figure of Minerva and the Latin motto “Sapientia et sua et docendi causa” — which means “Wisdom, both for its own sake and for the sake of teaching" — have appeared on the University seal since about 1913.
Today, Minerva, wearing her distinctive helmet, continues to symbolize the University's proud past and long-standing reputation for educational excellence.
The University’s 7-foot white plaster statue of Minerva dates to 1888. There’s no official record of the purchase but remembrances have it that the statue was funded by $1 make-up exam fee.
The Minerva statue was originally located at the New York State Normal College’s Willet Street campus but, when a devastating fire broke out in the college’s administrative offices in 1906, a brave custodian named Charles Wurtham rescued the statue from the burning building.
The statue was later relocated to the rotunda at Draper Hall, where she lived for six decades. It became a popular meeting place for students, who often used the phrase "Meetcha at Minnie."
The Class of 1967 moved the statue from the downtown campus to the new main campus in 1966 and paid for Minerva’s refurbishment as a gift to the University. The class named themselves the "Guardians of Minerva."
The Minerva statue was rededicated in 1987. Today, she graces the lobby of the Science Library.
Our accreditations, classifications and memberships
The University is chartered by the Board of Regents of New York State, which has registered all its degrees and programs and fully approved its professional programs through the State Education Department.
UAlbany is also a member of the Council of Graduate Schools in the U.S. and is fully accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
UAlbany also holds specialized program accreditation from the following accreditors:
American Chemical Society
American Library Association
American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
Council on Education for Public Health
Council on Social Work Education
National Association of School Psychologists
Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
New York State Office of Professions
Planning Accreditation Board
The University at Albany is:
an Associate Member Institution of the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities
a Member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
a Member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities
The University at Albany is a Research 1 Institution.
UAlbany was also one of 119 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the 2020 Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification.