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Alfred University

Alfred University
The Steinheim Building (“the castle”) houses the Career Development Center.
Motto Fiat Lux (Latin)
Motto in English
"Let there be Light"
Established 1836
Type Private, and
statutory college[1]
Endowment $107.8 million[2]
President Charles M. Edmondson[3]
Academic staff
Students 2,300[4]
Undergraduates approx. 2,000[4]
Postgraduates approx. 300[4]
Location Alfred, NY, United States
Campus Rural, 232 acres (0.9 km²), plus another 400 acres (1.6 km2) of nearby recreational land
Colors Purple and Gold
Athletics 22 teams
Mascot Saxon

Alfred University is a small, comprehensive university in the Village of Alfred, Allegany County in Western New York, USA, south of Rochester and southeast of Buffalo. Alfred has an undergraduate population of around 2,000, and approximately 300 graduate students. The institution has five schools and colleges.


  • Background 1
  • History 2
  • Mascot, events and culture 3
  • Campus 4
    • Alumni Hall 4.1
  • Colleges and schools 5
  • Museums and Galleries 6
    • The Schein-Joseph Museum of International Ceramic Art at NYSCC 6.1
    • The Robert C. Turner Gallery 6.2
    • IEA John Wood Studios 6.3
  • Student life 7
    • Greek social organizations 7.1
    • Other organizations 7.2
    • Athletics 7.3
  • Notable alumni and faculty 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Alfred was founded in 1836 as the Select School by Seventh Day Baptists as a non-sectarian institution.[5] Unusual for the time, the school was co-educational. It was also racially integrated, and enrolled its first African-American student and two Native American students in the 1850s, becoming the second college in the nation after Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, to do so.

The origin of the name "Alfred" is uncertain. Residents of the town and students at the two schools believe that the town received its name in honor of Alfred the Great, king of the Saxons, although the first documented occurrence of this connection was in 1881, 73 years after the first record of the name being used to describe the geophysical area during assignments by the state legislature. State records which might have verified the connection between the Saxon king and the university were lost in a fire in 1911.[6] Regardless of whether the connection is historically accurate, Alfred University has embraced King Alfred as a symbol of the school's values, and a statue of the king stands in the center of the campus quad.

Since its founding, Alfred University has hosted guest lecturers, artists and musicians from Ralph Waldo Emerson[7] to Ghostface Killah.[8] In April 2000, Alfred University received national attention when freshman, Eric Zuckerman, orchestrated a campus visit from then First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, during her campaign for the United States Senate.[9]

Alfred University, together with Corning Incorporated and the State of New York created the Ceramic Corridor, a high-tech incubator project designed to take advantage of the emerging ceramics industry and to create new jobs. This unique industrial development program is the only one in the United States concentrating on one single aspect of technology – high-tech ceramics – and it is the only major industrial development project centered in a rural area in the U.S.

Aerial view of Alfred University taken in April 2006

Extending to the 20th and 21st centuries, Alfred has continued its progressive history of defending equal rights for members of the community. In 1971, Alfred became only the 4th municipality in the U.S. to ban employment discrimination based on sexuality. In the mid-1990s, the university became one of the first to strip credit for ROTC programs, which exhibit prejudice on basis of sexual orientation. However, students attending Alfred University are still free to receive an Army ROTC contract with full tuition paid and attend military science classes through St. Bonaventure University. Amidst the dissolution of the AU Greek System, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity chapter at Alfred University led an overwhelmingly successful effort to ban discrimination based on religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation in the constitution of the 210 chapter international fraternity in 2002.[10] That action triggered several other national fraternities and sororities to follow suit.


Originally built in 1884, Kanakadea Hall served as Alfred's schoolhouse until a large fire destroyed the tower and devastated the second floor in 1907. It was sold to Alfred University and repaired in 1908. The exterior has since been restored to its original appearance, although the interior has been fully modernized. The building now houses the Division of Human Studies.[11]
The statue of King Alfred stands at the center of AU's quad, and is often decorated by students. In this picture, he is wearing one of the purple shirts worn by student Orientation Guides (OGs) during the 2006 freshman orientation.
Main Street and part of AU during Hot Dog Day

Alfred University is not to be confused with the Alfred State College. Although autonomous, both institutions have their origins in the Alfred Select School, and were heavily shaped by Boothe C. Davis. In 1908 Davis petitioned the New York State Legislature to fund the New York State College of Agriculture at Alfred University.

In 1941 Alfred State College became an autonomous junior college due to increased enrollment and increasing needs, which Alfred University could not accommodate, and in 1948 became a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Students of both schools still share a few Alfred peculiarities including: a physical education requirement for most programs, a short break in October dubbed "minibreak", sharing of clubs and organizations (excluding Greek lettered organizations), and cross-registration of classes not offered at the other institution.

Mascot, events and culture

Alfred University's mascot is the Saxon, a knight in shining armor. Since the year 871 is when King Alfred the Great succeeded his brother, Ethelred I as King of Wessex and Mercia (see Alfred the Great's childhood), the phone exchange of Alfred University is 871 (i.e., all AU phone numbers take the form 1-607-871-xxxx).

Alfred State College coordinated by students and staff from both schools. Typical events include a carnival, small amusement park rides, mud olympics, concerts, a parade, and the consumption of hot dogs. In recent years approximately $7,000 to $8,000 has been raised for charities including the local fire departments, public library, and day care centers.

Alfred's Davis Memorial Carillon, erected in 1937 as a tribute to longtime president Boothe C. Davis, can often be heard while on campus. The bells of the carillon, purchased from Antwerp, were thought to be the oldest bells in the western hemisphere. Research later (2004) showed that the bells were of a more recent vintage, and that Alfred had been the victim of a fraud. On the brighter side, the non-historic nature of the bells allows the university to replace those that have poor tonal quality. Concerts continue four times a week when school is in session (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:30 pm and Saturday at 4 pm), and during the summer months at least once a week. Besides the resident carilloneur, guest carilloneurs have in the past frequently visited and played during the summer.

The Black Knight[12] has been a part of Alfred University folklore for a long time. The relic was originally part of a parlor stove in a classroom in Kanakadea Hall. When the stove was discarded, the figure was claimed by the Class of 1908 as their mascot. They passed it on to the Class of 1910, thus causing a "war of possession" between the even and odd numbered classes. Many times over the years it disappeared and re-appeared on campus. After a particularly long time away it was returned in 1977 and placed in the University Archives. In 2005 it was transferred to a glass case in the Powell Campus Center along with a plaque describing its history. Many students had heard of the Black Knight during their freshmen orientation and were delighted to have him on display. However, after only a few months, the glass enclosure was destroyed in the middle of the night and the Black Knight stolen.

Alfred University was mentioned on Saturday Night Live once in 1975 by host and Alfred University alumnus Robert Klein.[13] When Klein hosted SNL again in 1977, he talked at length about Alfred University in his monologue.[14]


The Miller Performing Arts Center
The Powell Campus Center

Alfred is especially well known for its programs in ceramic art, ceramic engineering, glass engineering, and has a strong astronomy program due in part to the presence on campus of the 7-telescope Stull Observatory, which has one of the largest optical telescope in New York state.[15] Asteroid 31113 Stull was named for John Stull, founder and caretaker of the observatory.

There are two libraries on Alfred's campus, the Herrick Memorial Library, which primarily serves the private colleges, and the Scholes Library, which primarily serves the New York State College of Ceramics. The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art has a collection of 8,000 ceramic objects, including both ancient and modern ceramic art and craft.

The Bromley-Daggett Equestrian Center, located at the Maris Cuneo Equine Park, was constructed in 2005. It hosts equine classes, an intramural equestrian team, varsity and JV for both English and Western disciplines, clinics, and horse shows. Stalls are available for boarding by university students. The facility has an indoor arena of 16000 ft² and lighted outdoor arenas of 28,800 and 10,800 sq ft (2,680 and 1,000 m2); the entire property consists of 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land.

The Miller Performing Arts Center was dedicated in 1995.[16]

Alumni Hall

Alumni Hall

Now used primarily to house the Admissions Department, Alumni Hall has a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The former University academy building, with cathedral ceilings, and offices far up into the cupola is a beautiful example of 19th-century American architecture in Alfred. In the 1990s, Alumni Hall was saved through a restoration effort. Alfred University was once associated with the Seventh Day Baptist Church, and included a school of theology. While the religious connection no longer exists, the architecture of Alumni Hall and other buildings on campus reflect this heritage.

Colleges and schools

Alfred University offers over 60 majors and areas of concentration at its four colleges and schools. Alfred's four private colleges are The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The College of Professional Studies, The Inamori School of Engineering, and The Graduate School. The School of Business is part of The College of Professional Studies.


The School of Art and Design, technically a sub-unit of the College of Ceramics but autonomously run with its own dean, is further subdivided into divisions. A visit to the school in 2009 led media historian Siegfried Zielinski to state that Alfred is "the center of alchemy for the 21st century."[17] Alfred's School of Engineering (also autonomously run with its own dean) currently has four state-supported programs and two privately endowed programs.

On April 14, 2005, the University announced it had received a gift of $35 million from alumnus Marlin Miller '54, and his wife, Ginger, to further support arts education. The gift is the largest ever in the university's history and is one of the largest endowment gifts made to a U.S. institution to support arts education. Ten million dollars is earmarked for a new theatre at the Miller Performing Arts Center, previously funded by the Millers, and $25 million will go towards the endowment.

Museums and Galleries

Alfred University and The New York State College of Ceramics (NYSCC) are associated with five galleries: The Schien-Joseph Museum of International Ceramic Art, The Cohen Center for the Arts Gallery, The Fosdick Nelson Gallery, Robert C. Turner Gallery, and Institute for Electronic Art's (IEA) John Woods Studios. Other mentionable exhibition spaces for undergraduate and graduate students to show work include the Sculpture Dimensional Studies Exhibition Spaces (the Cube, the Box and the Cell Space), the Printmaking Critique Room, Flex Space, the New Deal, and Rhodes Room. Work from permanent collections are also on exhibition in the Saxon Inn and around campus in the offices of faculty.

The Schein-Joseph Museum of International Ceramic Art at NYSCC

The Schein-Joseph Museum of International Ceramic Art at NYSCC in Alfred University was established as an official institution in 1991. Yet, almost a century prior, in 1900, Charles Fergus Binns, the founder of the College of Ceramics, had initiated a collection of his student and faculty’s work under his directorship. The International Museum of Ceramic Art was later renamed after the generous couple Pamela Joseph and Jay Schein whom were members of the Alfred University Board of Trustees as well as alumni class of 1962. Currently, the majority of the funds for exhibitions come from the members of the museum. Not until 2001 did the museum inhabit their current space; located temporarily on the second floor of Binns-Merrill Hall in a 1,500 square-foot historical space. The architecture is refurbished yet still holds the historical charm of the original building: the long arched windows, the original chandeliers, and a fireplace. The entirety of the collection (approx. 8,000 pieces) is housed in multiple facilities. The collection is special in its inventory, having original pieces from master ceramicists that have studied at Alfred University and early works from MFA students from the past few years in addition to art historical objects such as Henry Varnum Poor’s pottery.[18]

The Robert C. Turner Gallery

Alfred University’s student-run gallery, the Robert C. Turner Gallery was founded in 2011. The gallery has two floors; the main space and the catwalk in which also has the “black box” interactive space for expanded (electronic) media. Part of their mission as a student run facility is to maintain a[19] This statement attests to whom the space is in honor of. Internationally acclaimed artist and Alfred University alumnus, Robert C. Turner is named after this gallery space. He was a professor of ceramic art at Alfred University with a sixty-year-long career in ceramics. Turner once said,[20] This quote abides by the student’s efforts in upholding such a special space for exhibiting their own works.

IEA John Wood Studios

NYSCC is host to the John Wood Studios of the Institute of Electronic Arts (IEA) within the School of Art and Design (SoAD), NYSCC which offers a residency program for up to two weeks for international artists.

Student life

Greek social organizations

Fraternities and sororities were established at Alfred University for nearly 100 years prior to 2002, when they were discontinued, partially in response to the death of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity member Benjamin Klein under suspicious circumstances and charges of gross negligence on behalf of the fraternity.[21][22]

Prior to Klein's death, in 1978, student hazing and promote anti-hazing laws, as documented in Hank Nuwer's book "Broken Pledges" and a later TV movie of the same name (in which Alfred was not named for legal reasons). Stevens later served as an advisor to Alfred on hazing-related issues, and received an honorary doctorate from the school in 1999.

During the summer of 2002, all

  • Alfred University official website
  • Alfred University official athletics website

External links

  1. ^ Alfred administers the New York State College of Ceramics.
  2. ^ "NCSE Public Tables Endowment Market Values" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-10-21. 
  3. ^ "Alfred University Board of Trustees extends Edmondson's contract" (Press release). Alfred University. May 11, 2004. Retrieved August 12, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c "Alfred University". College Board Profiles. College Board. Retrieved August 12, 2007. 
  5. ^ "History of AU". October 25, 1990. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ Strong, Susan (1997). "Alfred's Town Name". Herrick Library Special Collections and Archives. Archived from the original on July 19, 2007. Retrieved August 12, 2007. 
  7. ^ Lewis, E. H. (2007). Allen of Alfred: Some of His Words. Kessinger Press. p. 19.  
  8. ^ "Community: Events: Hot Dog Day 2011". Alfred University Website. AU ITS. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Windmeyer, Shane L. (1998). Brotherhood: Gay Life in College Fraternities. Alyson Publications.  
  11. ^ Alfred University. "The Edward G. Coll and Carole Hulse Coll Center at Kanakadea". Alfred University Campus Map. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  12. ^ [2] Archived November 26, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "SNL Transcripts: Robert Klein: 11/15/75: Robert Klein". Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  14. ^ "SNL Transcripts: Robert Klein: 01/21/78: Robert Klein's Monologue". Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Alfred University - College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Physics & Astronomy". Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Miller Performing Arts Center wins international recognition" (Press release). Alfred University. February 5, 2003. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  17. ^ Edizel, Gerar (2009). "Process is Concept", p.3. St Vincent Press, Rochester, NY.
  18. ^ The permanent collection is broad in its ownership of internationally recognizes ceramists Kitaōji Rosanjin, Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada, and Lucie Rie to name a few. Also. unique from other University Art Museums and Galleries (UAMGs), the collection houses advanced ceramic technology such as a bullet-proof (ceramic-plated) vest, a femoral hip joint replacement and a ceramic (zirconia) watch.
  19. ^ “professional gallery space driven by creative and conceptual freedom.”
  20. ^ “What part, if any, can and should the art world play in revitalizing people of a perhaps degenerative culture, a culture in which people seem to be morally soft, often, and unaware of their actions, insensitive to the moral religious values in situations. Have not art and those people who know its value more to say than they have said, not only to make art a more vital and integral part of community life, but to minister to the spiritual needs in the broadest sense of the term?”
  21. ^ "Alfred University implements new requirements for Greek organizations" (Press release). Alfred University. February 18, 2002. Retrieved August 12, 2007. 
  22. ^ a b "Alfred University trustees vote to eliminate fraternities and sororities" (Press release). Alfred University. May 20, 2002. Retrieved August 12, 2007. 
  23. ^ a b "Student Life: Clubs and Organizations". Alfred University. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Phi Beta Kappa at Alfred University". Alfred University. March 2006. 
  25. ^ "Mathematics: Student Organizations". Alfred University. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  26. ^ "Honor Societies". Alfred University. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Alfred University Saxons". Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Robert Archambeau: The potter's potter". Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  29. ^ Evans, Paul (1974). Art Pottery of America. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 203.  
  30. ^ Smith, Roberta. "Ken Price, Sculptor Whose Artworks Helped Elevate Ceramics, Dies at 77". The New York Times Online. New York Times Company. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  31. ^ Zimmerman, Arnold. "Artist Bio: Page 5". Arnie Zimmerman – Artist. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  32. ^ United States Congress. "Brown, William Wallace". Biographical Directory of US Congress 1774- Present. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  33. ^ "David Z. Chesnoff Lawyer Profile on". Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  34. ^ "DARROW, George Potter". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Retrieved May 11, 2009. 
  35. ^ "About Nancy Nadel". City of Oakland, CA. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  36. ^ United States Congress. "Reed, Thomas W. II". Biographical Directory of Us Congress 1774- Present. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Henry M. Teller". Archives at Herrick Memorial Library. Alfred University. Retrieved March 2, 2012. 
  38. ^ Melvil Dewey: A Singular and Contentious Life (Anna Elliott; Wilson Library Bulletin, May 1981. Available at:
  39. ^ "Alfred University, Honorary Degrees, 1990–1999". 
  40. ^ "Richard Dolan Bio". Coast to Coast AM. Premiere Radio Networks. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  41. ^ Jenkins, Peter. "About Peter Jenkins". Archived from the original on April 8, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009. 
  42. ^ Karim, Ali. "Robert Littell: A Legend in His Own Time". January Magazine Online. Retrieved April 3, 2011. 
  43. ^ Evans, Paul (1974). Art Pottery of the United States. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 40.  
  44. ^ "Samuel Hulbert". Resume. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Retrieved January 20, 2012. 
  45. ^ "Lindenberg Group Webpage". 
  46. ^ Alfred University, Special Collections & Archives, Herrick Memorial Library. Clarence W. Spicer. Retrieved on December 7, 2007
  47. ^ Harvey, Eric. "New Threads". Resume. Retrieved January 20, 2012. 
  48. ^ "Robert Klein Biography". The Conversation Company, Ltd. Retrieved September 18, 2009. 
  49. ^ "Alfred University, Honorary Degrees, 1960–1969". 
  50. ^ Forbes. "Robert H. Benmosche". Retrieved September 18, 2009. 
  51. ^ Gardyasz, Joe (March 14, 2014). "ING rebranding as Voya Financial". Business Record (Des Moines, Iowa: Business Communications). Retrieved April 21, 2015. Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y. (caption on picture) 
  52. ^ "Alfred University: Board of Trustees". Alfred University. Archived from the original on February 19, 2009. Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  53. ^ "Faculty Profile: Ben Howard". Faculty Profile: Ben Howard. Alfred University. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2011. 
  54. ^ Alfred University, Special Collections & Archives, Herrick Memorial Library. Alex Yunevich. Retrieved on December 7, 2007


See also

  • Artist Robert C. Turner, an influential ceramics artist and teacher who founded the ceramics program at Black Mountain College. Along with Val Cushing, Wayne Higby, and Daniel Rhodes, Turner was a key member of the Alfred ceramics faculty in the 50's-70's, which is considered by some to be the "golden age" of the Alfred ceramics program.
  • Artist Wayne Higby, considered to be one of the defining ceramic artists of the 80's. Known for his work in Raku ceramics, Higby attained considerable attention with his large bowl forms that toyed with the notion of vessel and landscape imagery.
  • Poet Ben Howard, author of seven collections of poems, a verse novella, and three collections of essays.[53]
  • Coach Alexander (Alex) Joseph Yunevich, head football coach from 1937 to 1941 and 1946 to 1976, posting a 177-85-12 record with six undefeated seasons.[54]

Faculty and staff:

In sports:

In business:

In entertainment:

In science and technology:

In literature and literary arts:

In politics and law:

In art:

Notable alumni and faculty

Alfred teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III, with the exception of alpine skiing which is governed by the USCSA and the equestrian team which is governed by the IHSA. The Saxons are a member of the Empire 8 Athletic Conference (Empire 8). They compete in the following sports: alpine skiing, basketball, cross country, equestrian, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field, women's volleyball, and women's softball.[27]


AU has been granted chapters of a number of honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa (the Alpha Gamma chapter of New York, granted in 2004[24]), Phi Kappa Phi, and Alpha Lambda Delta; Alfred also has chapters of the service societies Alpha Phi Omega and Omicron Delta Kappa. Other honor societies include Alpha Iota Delta, Beta Gamma Sigma, Delta Mu Delta, Omicron Delta Epsilon, Pi Gamma Mu, Pi Mu Epsilon (the Alpha Iota chapter of New York, chartered in 2002[25]), Pi Sigma Alpha, Sigma Tau Delta, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Sigma Iota, Psi Chi, Keramos, and the Financial Management Association.[26]

[23] Student media include: AU TV, the Kanakadea Yearbook, and WALF 89.7FM.[23]

Other organizations

At the time of closing in 2002, the Greek system at Alfred University included national and international fraternities Lambda Chi Alpha, since 1909, Sigma Alpha Mu, Kappa Sigma, Alpha Chi Rho, Delta Sigma Phi, and Zeta Beta Tau; as well as local fraternities Kappa Psi Upsilon, and Klan Alpine. The sororities included Delta Zeta, Theta Theta Chi, Alpha Kappa Omicron, and Sigma Chi Nu. The overall Greek community made significant contributions to Alfred University, Alfred, NY, and the surrounding communities, such as annual food drives that raised more than 2,000 lb (910 kg) of food each fall for the Hornell food bank. Hot Dog Day Weekend, one of the largest and most successful community gatherings in Alfred, was created by the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha, as a way to raise money for charity efforts. The event was organized and run by the fraternities and sororities at Alfred University for nearly 30 years. Many of the societies have highly active alumni associations, some of which gather at Alfred University reunions, or at independent functions.


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