Origins of UAlbany

Normal School

Willett Street CampusThe Normal School's creation in 1844 was New York's response to rapidly expanding common school education in the state in the 1840s and increasing dissatisfaction with the quality of teachers. The new Normal School's mission was to both train new and upgrade existing common school teachers. It was a small (200-400 students) 2 year school that provided new, and current teachers with formal training in the teaching areas, as well as teaching methods.

Around the turn of the century the School began transitioning from a 2 year to a 4 year insitution in recognition of the need for better trained teachers in secondary schools. This period of change peaked when the original campus burned down in 1909. At that point a new mission statement, curriculum, and the Western Avenue campus was planned out, and in 1914 the School became the New York State College for Teachers.

College for Teachers

The College took on all the aspects of a 4 year liberal arts college, except for the fact that it was dedicated to training secondary school teachers. During the period from 1914 until it was renamed the University at Albany, the College began building a strong faculty, and with it attracted higher caliber students. In fact in 1962 it was said that "Albany State has a distinguished history. As liberal arts colleges go, it is a good one. As teacher's colleges go, it is superb" by journalist David Boroff.

It had become apparent in the late 1950's that the private colleges and universities in the state of New York would not be able to meet the educational needs of the State. As a result, in 1962 Governor Nelson Rockefeller initiated the rapid expansion of the State University of New York system, in part by designating the New York State Teachers College as one of four new "university centers." The University at Albany was born.

University at Albany

As a full-fledged university, UAlbany began providing a high quality undergraduate education for an incresing number of students, as well as developing graduate schools, and a research program. The goal of all of this was still to meet the educational needs of the state, and give back to the people of New York.

To learn more about UAlbany's History click here.