A Brief History of the Rockefeller College

The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy originated in 1947 as the Albany Graduate Program in Public Administration, a joint program of New York University and Syracuse University.

The new graduate program provided the rapidly expanding post-WWII state government of Governor Thomas E. Dewey with academic training in public administration. The State University of New York began to subsidize the training program in 1950, and in 1962 the State University of New York formally took over the program and renamed it the Graduate School of Public Affairs. The new school offered MA and PhD programs in public administration and political science, and an MA in public affairs.  An MPA was quickly added. The school affiliated with the State University of New York at Albany (SUNYA) in September 1966. As part of SUNYA, the Graduate School took over the University’s department of political science, adding undergraduate programs, and in 1981 created a department of public administration and policy.  These departments are the academic heart of the college. The current name of the school, the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, was adopted in 2000 to honor the contributions of Governor Nelson Rockefeller who served from 1959-1973.

Today Rockefeller College offers undergraduate, masters and doctoral level degree programs. Students are able to benefit from academic and experiential learning opportunities in the Capital Region and beyond to develop a strong foundation for careers in the public, nonprofit and private sectors as well as careers in teaching and research.

The Centers and Institutes that are part of Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy conduct state-of-the-art research and policy analysis, improve the knowledge and skills of employees in public and nonprofit agencies through professional development, and work with government at all levels in the United States and abroad to strengthen democracy and promote effective governing.