History & Traditions

The University at Albany has a rich history dating back more than 170 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 College for Teachers focused exclusively on training secondary school teachers, but 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. In that same year, 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 students and faculty collaborate to conduct life-enhancing research and scholarship in a wide range of disciplines. With nationally respected programs, top-ranked professors, and a strategic location, UAlbany offers a world-class education to nearly 18,000 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels - and prepares them for a world of opportunities.