The state of New York is known for many things — Times Square, Niagara Falls, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, The Strong National Museum of Play, the Catskill Mountains, Adirondack Park, the Central Park Zoo, Howe Caverns, the Culinary Institute of America, and much more. Throughout this great state, another noteworthy claim to fame includes universities with a rich background of academic excellence, especially when it comes to the history of the State University of New York.

The foundation of SUNY can be traced back to 1948 when it was established by Governor Thomas E. Dewey through legislation proposed by the Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University. The commission was chaired by Owen D. Young — chairman of General Electric — and served as a means to study the state’s higher education systems, which found there was a significant need for a public state university system.

With the evolvement of multiple campuses located across the state, one flagship location does not exist. Instead, four university centers are recognized, each with their own story of how they became part of the SUNY institution — Albany (1844), Binghamton (1946), Buffalo (1846), and Stony Brook (1957).

Since it was established, the university has been on a fast-track of growth with a current system that includes 64 schools consisting of 29 state-operated campuses, 30 community colleges, and five statutory colleges — research universities, liberal arts colleges, specialized and technical colleges, health science centers, and land-grant colleges.

Impressive numbers reflect how SUNY has grown to become an outstanding educational beacon for students around the world:

  • More than 420,000 students are enrolled at 64 campuses located throughout the state.
  • There is a SUNY campus within 30 miles of every New Yorker.
  • More than 32,000 faculty are employed at the university.
  • Students have the option to choose from nearly 7,000 degree and certificate programs.
  • SUNY is the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education, consisting of community colleges, bachelor degree granting colleges, graduate and doctoral research centers, medical schools, hospitals, a law school, and a national lab.
  • Alumni encompass more than 3 million people worldwide.
  • More than 1,000 study abroad programs are available in more than 60 countries.
  • 180 countries are represented by the international student enrollment of more than 20,000 at SUNY.

And here’s a fun fact about SUNY: Every year, people look forward to Hot Dog Day — an event started in 1972 by two students that now serves as a student-run fundraiser for local charities and community-based organizations. From any topping you can imagine to games and entertainment, it’s a great opportunity to feast on hot dogs for a good cause.

SUNY also has a stand-out list of notable names who have called its campuses home, including, athletes, singers, celebrities, etc. — Wolf Blitzer, Al Roker, Susie Essman, Michael Kors, Stanley Tucci, Joy Behar, and Jerry Seinfeld, just to name a few.