Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin

SUNY Geneseo @ A Glance

Historical Background


Roemer Arboretum


Buildings and Facilities

SUNY System

Historical Background

SUNY Geneseo, one of thirteen university colleges within the State University of New York system, was established by an act of the New York State Legislature in 1867 as the Geneseo Normal and Training School and opened September 13, 1871. Curricular offerings included elementary English, advanced English, and classical studies.

In the early 1900s, the curriculum was reorganized to require two years of professional study, and admission was restricted to high school graduates. In 1922, the programs were extended to three years, and in 1938, to four years. In 1942, the College was granted authority to confer baccalaureate degrees in all its curricula. Basic teacher training programs were expanded to include preparations for teacher-librarians, teachers of children with special needs, and speech pathologists. Teacher education continues to be a strong component of the College’s programs.

Geneseo became an original campus of the new State University of New York system at SUNY’s inception in 1948. During the next three decades the College developed strong liberal arts and sciences programs and added several professional curricula to its offerings. The first master’s degrees were awarded in 1951. In 1962, the teachers colleges of the State University became Colleges of Arts and Sciences. Geneseo’s four-year degree programs in arts and sciences were implemented in 1964. Since then, the School of Business was established and majors have been added in such areas as biochemistry and international relations. The College now offers more than 50 degree programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Cooperative programs have been developed in several fields with other institutions, including 3-2 engineering, 3-4 dental, and 3-2 and 4-1 MBA programs. The College’s commitment to providing a broad-based liberal arts education was confirmed in 1980 with the establishment of a required core curriculum in natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, and fine arts. Further revision in 1999 added critical writing, a quantitative requirement and foreign language. The College continues to improve and upgrade its curriculum through regular review and assessment. The strength of the liberal arts program was recognized in 2003 with approval for the installation of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter on campus. The chapter inducted its first class in Spring, 2004.

Since 1994, SUNY Geneseo has been a member of The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), an alliance of high quality, public liberal arts institutions. Founded in 1987, COPLAC serves to promote excellent undergraduate education in the liberal arts tradition; the development of effective teaching and learning communities; and the expansion of access to public undergraduate liberal arts education of the highest caliber. COPLAC’s membership currently consists of twenty-five public liberal arts colleges and universities who are committed to providing and advocating for the superlative, life-enhancing undergraduate education normally associated with small independent colleges. COPLAC also provides leadership in defining and modeling “best practice” in undergraduate education and promoting the qualities cultivated by outstanding student-centered liberal arts colleges.

The State University of New York at Geneseo has evolved dramatically over its 150 year history into a highly selective public liberal arts college, which is nationally recognized for the quality of education it offers.


Geneseo is located in the heart of the Genesee Valley, noted for its scenic beauty. Rich in Native American history and legend, and the former site of many Native American villages, the Genesee Valley was the western limit of the territory of the Senecas.

Geneseo is an ideal college town, with long-established traditions of friendship and culture. Both the village - one of 24 communities nationwide to be recognized as a National Historic Landmark - and the campus’s ivy-covered brick buildings reflect a traditional college atmosphere.

The College is readily accessible. Rochester, which is 30 miles to the north, is served by Amtrak and several airlines. Bus service connects Geneseo with Rochester and with many towns and cities in surrounding counties. LATS (Livingston Area Transportation Service) provides regular daily shuttle service around College and to local commercial areas, as well as weekend service to Rochester designed for Geneseo students.

Geneseo’s 220-acre campus is located just a few minutes off Interstate Route 390, which connects with the New York State Thruway (Exit 46) in Rochester. US Route 20A, and NYS Routes 63 and 39, all pass through the village of Geneseo near the campus.

Roemer Arboretum

The Roemer Arboretum was founded in 1990 through an endowed gift to the Geneseo Foundation by Spencer J. Roemer, College benefactor and former director of admissions. It consists of 20 acres, located on the south campus of the College, south of the residence halls and between Routes 20A/39 and Route 63. Visitors enter from Routes 20A/39 through the South Campus parking lot J.

Mr. Roemer expressed the wish that the area be used as a living outdoor classroom by College faculty and students to preserve and enhance the beauty of the Genesee Valley. The arboretum is open, free of charge, from dawn to dusk. Visitors are encouraged to walk along the paths, admire the beauty of the Genesee Valley, inspect the variety of trees and plants, relax and enjoy the view from the gazebo and benches. Future plans include additional plantings indigenous to the northeastern area of the United States.


The Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery in William A. Brodie Hall presents both contemporary and historic rotating exhibitions including works by local, regional and national artists. The Bridge Gallery, a unique space bridging two wings of Brodie Hall exhibits art work by Geneseo students and the Kinetic Gallery in the Robert W. MacVittie College Union exhibits work by students and local artists.

Buildings and Facilities

The Geneseo campus is characterized by its picturesque setting overlooking the meandering Genesee River and by its attractive buildings combining brick and limestone in collegiate Gothic and functional styles. State-of-the-art computer network connects all academic and administrative buildings, and residence halls. Wireless network is available in all academic buildings and surrounding outdoor areas.

James B. Welles Hall, which houses several academic departments and college classrooms was originally a “demonstration school” and, later, the elementary school for the Geneseo Central School District. Lockers and some fixtures remain as charming reminders of that history.

Bertha P. Fraser Hall connects Wads Aud., South Hall and Sturges Hall and houses faculty offices and classrooms. Austin W. Erwin Hall is one of four buildings fronting the College Green on the upper quadrangle. The new Integrated Science Center also fronts the College Green and was opened Fall, 2006. This 176,000-square-foot building is designed for interdisciplinary collaboration and to support Geneseo’s strong undergraduate research program. The departmental offices for Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Physics are housed in the Integrated Science Center as well as cutting-edge facilities and equipment for science education, research, and connections with community biotechnical and chemical analysis companies. Connected to the Integrated Science Center is Newton Hall, containing classrooms.

Guy A. Bailey Hall honors a nationally known biologist who served as chair of the sciences at Geneseo. Bailey Hall now houses the departments of Anthropology, Geography, Psychology and Sociology.

The William J. and John M. Milne Library, just off the College Green and overlooking the valley, is widely recognized for its innovative use of space and service orientation to students and faculty. In addition to traditional stacks, reference desk, and an award-winning interlibrary loan department, it includes space for group work, high tech classrooms, computing facilities, the Teaching and Learning Center, the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Center, the Center for Academic Excellence, and Books & Bytes Café.

William A. Brodie Hall, designed by distinguished architect and former apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright, Edgar Tafel, houses three departments of fine and performing arts, and includes the Austin and Sinclair theaters, music rooms, dance studios, and the Lederer and Bridge art galleries.

South Hall, which opened in 1995, houses the Schools of Business and Education, and the department of Mathematics, as well as the College’s main computing facilities (including a two-level general access computer laboratory). The three-story structure contains state-of-the-art teaching facilities, including specialized classrooms developed to meet the programmatic needs of the four academic departments.

Doty Hall, which served as Geneseo High School (1932-1974) and then housed the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), was fully renovated and re-opened in 2013. OPWDD continues to occupy the ground level and several College offices occupy the top floors, including the President’s Office, and the vice presidents for Enrollment Management, Student & Campus Life, Administration & Finance, and College Advancement. The Admissions office, the Center for Inquiry, Discovery and Development and the Office for National Fellowships and Scholarships are also in Doty, as well as an acoustically-exceptional recital hall that hosts dozens of concerts throughout the year.

Residence halls are grouped into the South Village, the Central Village, and the North Village to encourage a sense of community and interconnections among residents. The South Village consists of Nassau, Niagara, Onondaga, Suffolk, and Wayne halls, along with Red Jacket Dining Hall. Many of these halls are corridor-style, popular with first-year students. Saratoga Terrace, townhouse style campus housing for two hundred upper-level students, links the South Village with central campus. The complex includes a Commons building with laundry facilities and group meeting space. The Central Village is comprised of Jones, Livingston, Monroe, and Steuben halls and is close to Mary Jemison Dining Hall. Monroe hall’s 2013 renovation is certified to gold LEED standards and it boasts geo-thermal heating and rain-water harvesting. The North Village, where Letchworth Dining Hall reopened in Fall 2014, includes Allegany, Erie, Genesee, Ontario, Putnam, Seneca, and Wyoming halls. The suite-style halls in the North Village provide flexible group-living spaces, popular with upper-level students. Putnam Hall, connecting Allegany and Wyoming halls, won a regional award for excellence of design when it opened in Fall 2004. Seneca hall, new in 2009, is an architectural complement to Putnam; this 84-bed residence connects Genesee and Ontario halls.

Residence halls provide service and reception areas as well as student lounges and study spaces. Each room has one cable TV connection in addition to two hard-wired internet ports and wireless internet access. Student rooms do not include private phones, but shared telephones are provided in each hallway. Every residence hall room is equipped with fire sprinklers and smoke alarms. Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are installed in bedrooms and common spaces on any level in residence halls where there is gas-fired equipment. Every residence hall building includes laundry facilities and kitchenettes. All residence hall exterior doors are locked 24 hours a day with a card-access security system; residential students enter their halls with their Geneseo ID cards.

The campus meal plan offers many dining options. Centrally located Mary Jemison Dining Hall is a state-of-the-art dining food court offering a wide variety of choices. In addition, the Red Jacket and Letchworth dining halls offer all-you-can-eat value meals seven days a week for lunch and dinner. The MacVittie College Union features a Starbucks Cafe. Milne Library hosts Books & Bytes cafe. 

Student Health and Counseling Services are located in the Lauderdale Health Center. This building houses medical equipment and supplies necessary for the health and counseling needs of students and is staffed by full-time College medical personnel.

The Carl L. Schrader Health and Physical Education Building is one of the facilities designed to provide for the health, physical education, and recreational needs of the College community. This building has a gymnasium, racquetball courts, dance studio, individual exercise areas,and other facilities for instructional and extracurricular programs. It also houses the offices of University Police and Facilities Planning.

The Myrtle Merritt Athletic Center is connected to Schrader Building, and contains Kuhl Gymnasium, Wilson Ice Arena, a swimming and diving pool, a complete fitness center with workout equipment, a wrestling room, four squash courts, and coaches’ offices.

College Stadium is a 2,000-seat, fully-lighted facility with two synthetic turf fields that accommodate soccer, field hockey, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse, as well as intramural and casual recreation. Amenities include individual work rooms, four team rooms, a full athletic training facility, as well as two press boxes and a full-service concession area.

A large proportion of the campus adjacent to the health and physical education complex has been developed, according to a comprehensive plan, as an outdoor athletic and recreational area. Raschi Field for softball, and space for archery, golf, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, and tennis are located in this area. Moench Field serves the needs of the track and field programs.

The Robert W. MacVittie College Union is the hub of recreational and cultural student activities on the campus. It includes: student organization and staff offices; lounges, meeting rooms, recreation, study areas; Starbucks; campus bookstore; ballroom; student art gallery; computer and project area with photocopiers; the campus mail facility; ATM machine, the Geneseo Federal Credit Union; MOSAIC (Multicultural Organization Space for Activities, Inclusion, and Collaboration); GOLD leadership center. Student organization mailboxes, package claim, and meeting room key sign-outs are provided. The Ticket Office sells tickets for all performing arts events on campus. Further information is available at http://union.geneseo.edu.

State University Of New York

The State University of New York’s 64 geographically dispersed campuses bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education.

For More information about SUNY: www.suny.edu/attend/visit-us

The State University motto is: “To Learn-To Search-To Serve.”