The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, also known as SUNY Plattsburgh or Plattsburgh State College is a four-year, public liberal arts college in Plattsburgh, New York, United States. The college was founded in 1889 and opened in 1890. The college is part of the State University of New York system and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[4] The school is also a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.[5] SUNY Plattsburgh has 6,350 students, of whom 5,822 are undergraduates.


Founding of the normal school

Former state politician and influential Plattsburgh businessman Smith M. Weed championed endlessly the cause to build a state normal school (a teachers' college) in the city of Plattsburgh. After multiple proposals to the New York state senate going as far back as 1869,[116] The final bill was formally proposed on January 12, 1888 by George S. Weed, Smith Weed's son and then state assemblyman.[7] With the strong backing of Assemblyman General Stephen Moffitt, the Plattsburgh Normal and Training School bill was passed by both houses of the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Governor David B. Hill in June 1889.[8] The board of directors adopted official by-laws for Plattsburgh State Normal and Training School on September 2, 1889.[9]

At a meeting held on June 28, 1889, it was decided the new normal school would be on land known as "the former athletic grounds", bounded on the north by Court Street, on the east by Wells Street, on the south by Brinkerhoff Street, and on the west by Beekman Street.[3] However, these plans were dropped in favor of a larger plot created by combining land on each side of Court Street west of Beekman Street, so that "Court Street, one of the finest residence streets in the village, leads directly to the main entrance".[11] This is the same location where Hawkins Hall now stands on the current campus of SUNY Plattsburgh.

The impressive structure, known as "Normal Hall", was constructed by Brown Brothers of Mohawk, New York, who also built the Court House in downtown Plattsburgh.[3]

Plattsburgh State Normal and Training School officially opened with its first day of classes on the morning of September 3, 1890.[3] The school's first principal was Fox Holden, former Superintendent of the Plattsburgh Union Graded Schools.[11] Holden served for only two years, from 1890 until the first graduating class in 1892.

Fire of 1929

Plattsburgh Normal and Training School, early-1910s

On January 26, 1929, a fire that began in the boiler room destroyed the Plattsburgh Normal School. Aided by high winds and the building's well-oiled floors, the structure was engulfed in flames within a half-hour and demolished within an hour.[3] Six children who were being given music lessons were safely lowered out the second story window by their teacher Lyndon Street.[3]

With an extensive shuffling of city services, classes resumed the following Wednesday at City Hall in downtown.[3] The longer term solution was to share facilities with a number of the city's K-12 public schools. This half-day schooling arrangement was necessary for the survival of Plattsburgh Normal School but proved to be too disruptive to public school students, and the practice was discontinued in September 1930.[3]

Plans were soon approved for a new structure to replace Normal Hall.[3] Plans were formally approved on October 10. The new building would be in the same location and be twice as large as the old Normal Hall.[3] The new structure was completed in 1932, and in 1955 it was named Hawkins Hall in honor of George K. Hawkins, the principal of Plattsburgh Normal School from 1898 to 1933.[20] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[2]

Modern era

Plattsburgh State Normal and Training School was renamed State University of New York College at Plattsburgh when it joined the State University of New York system with its establishment in 1948. When the school became part of the SUNY system, it changed from a two-year teacher's institution to a four-year, public liberal arts college.

During the 1960s and 1970s SUNY Plattsburgh, as well as the whole State University of New York system, underwent rapid growth. Many of the more modern buildings on campus were constructed during this time period, including the Angell College Center, Feinberg Library, and several high-rise dormitories.

Since 1978, the student population has remained relatively small, ranging between 5,900 and 6,600 matriculated students. The lowest enrollment during this time was the fall 2004 semester, with 5,909, and the highest enrollment in the fall 1988 semester, with 6,594.[22]

Presidents of SUNY Plattsburgh

  • Dr. Fox Holden (1890–1892)
  • Dr. Edward N. Jones (1892–1898)
  • Dr. George Knight Hawkins (1898–1933)
  • Dr. Charles C. Ward (1933–1952)
  • Dr. Edward E. Redcay (1952–1954)
  • Dr. George W. Angell (1954–1974)
  • Dr. Joseph C. Burke (1974–1986)
  • Dr. Charles O. Warren (1986–1994)
  • Dr. Horace A. Judson (1994–2003)
  • Dr. A. John Ettling (2004–Present)



The post-fire ruins of Normal Hall

The primary campus of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh is in the city of Plattsburgh, in the North Country region of upstate New York. The campus is near Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains, in a region known as the Champlain Valley. The closest major city outside of Plattsburgh is Burlington, Vermont, which is less than 20 miles (32 km) "as the crow flies," but takes about an hour to travel by ferry. The closest major city within New York is Albany (headquarters of the SUNY system), 140 miles (230 km) to the south. SUNY Plattsburgh also has a strong connection with Canada due to the Canada–US border being just 20 miles (32 km) north and the city of Montreal just over 60 miles (97 km) away.


The SUNY Plattsburgh main campus consists of 36 buildings on 256 acres (1.04 km2),[3] in an area just west of the intersection of Broad Street and Rugar Street. The center of campus is Amité Plaza, a large outdoor courtyard surrounded by many of the most essential buildings on campus, including the Angell College Center, the Myers Fine Arts Building, and Feinberg Library.[23] The iconic focal point of Amité Plaza is a massive metal sculpture of two people shaking hands. This sculpture, for which the courtyard was named, was created by renowned sculptor William King.[24] It represents amity between the United States and Canada.[25]

Amitié Plaza in front of the Angell College Center, 2006

The most distinctive academic building on campus is Hawkins Hall, located on Beekman Street between Broad Street and Cornelia Street. Hawkins Hall replaced the original Plattsburgh Normal School which burned to the ground at that same location in 1929. The oldest building on campus is Champlain Valley Hall, while Macdonough Hall is the oldest dormitory. Other dorms line Rugar Street, including five 9-story, and one 10-story high-rises.[23]

Low-rise dormsHigh-rise dorms
  • Adirondack Hall
  • Harrington Hall (1959)
  • Kent Hall (1961)
  • Macdonough Hall (1951)
  • Macomb Hall (1961)
  • Mason Hall (1966)
  • Banks Hall (1972)
  • DeFredenburgh Hall (1970)
  • Hood Hall (1970)
  • Moffitt Hall (1970)
  • Whiteface Hall
  • Wilson Hall (1970)

Several key athletic facilities are located 14 mile (0.40 km) west of the main campus at the Field House Complex. Among them is the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena, the 3,500 seat home to Cardinal Hockey. SUNY Plattsburgh also has remote sites, ranging from Valcour Educational Conference Center in nearby Peru, New York to a Branch Campus in Queensbury, New York (near Glens Falls). SUNY Plattsburgh owns a campground outdoor education center, Twin Valleys, in Lewis, New York, approximately a 45-minute drive away. Consisting of several cabins with beds, a lake, a low-ropes course, and a dining building, Twin Valleys is used for a variety of events, including RA training, dorm floor trips, and the annual Odyssey experience.

Art exhibitions

Artwork is an essential aspect of the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. The Plattsburgh State Art Museum is considered a "Museum Without Walls", comprising over 4,600 historic and contemporary works of art. Two prominent permanent exhibitions are the Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection and the Nina Winkel Sculpture Court.[26] The Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection is in the Feinberg Library. It is the largest collection of Rockwell Kent's work in the United States. The Nina Winkel Sculpture Court is in the Myers Fine Arts Building. It is the largest display in the country devoted to the art of one woman.[29] Temporary Exhibitions are held at the Burke Gallery, Plattsburgh State Art Museum, including "Views of Lake Champlain" by Canadian artist Samir Sammoun, in cooperation of the State of New York and New York State First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson May–July 2009.


John Ettling has been President of SUNY Plattsburgh since June 15, 2004.[30] Ettling is a member of the SUNY Plattsburgh College Council, which serves as an oversight and advisory body to the senior administration within the State University of New York system. In accordance with New York State Education Law, nine of the ten Council members are appointed to seven-year terms by the Governor of New York, with the one student elected to the remaining post for a one-year term.[31]

Academics and demographics

SUNY Plattsburgh is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) since 1952.[4] The college offers more than 60 baccalaureate degrees and a wide variety of minors[20] within three principal academic divisions; Arts and Sciences, an internationally accredited School of Business, and Education, Health and Human Services. Graduate degrees are offered in Education, School Psychology, speech-language pathology, and liberal arts. All courses offered at Plattsburgh are taught by faculty,[32] the majority of which hold doctoral degrees.[20]

A few of SUNY Plattsburgh's more notable academic programs include:

  • Education – Plattsburgh was founded as a teacher's college and Education is still the school's largest major.[30]
  • Center for Communication and Journalism – Encompassing four distinct majors,[33] it is the only center of its kind in the SUNY system.[34]
  • Canadian Studies – The most comprehensive undergraduate Canadian studies program in the United States.[20]
  • Expeditionary Studies – The only collegiate academic program in the nation to focus on rock climbing, ice climbing, free-heel skiing and sea kayaking.[35]

For four consecutive years (2009–2012), SUNY Plattsburgh has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" edition, as one of the top regional public universities in the North. In 2008, Kiplinger's Personal Finance recognized SUNY Plattsburgh among the Top 100 colleges in the nation for the value of its academic quality.[36]

59% of SUNY Plattsburgh students are female and 41% are male. In 2005, 4,061 students (75%) were categorized as White, 261 (5%) Black, 216 (4%) Hispanic, and 111 (2%) of Asian/Pacific Islands descent. That year, SUNY Plattsburgh stated it was their goal to raise the number of minority students from 11% to 13% or greater by 2010.[37] The number of incoming freshman who classified themselves as minority rose to 16% in 2007,[38] 17.2% in 2009, and to 22.5% in 2011.

Over 90% of students originate from within New York state, 4% of students come from other states, while foreign students comprise 5% of the student population.[20] 52% of students live in on-campus dormitories, a requirement for freshman and sophomores. 21% of the student population are commuters, while 27% are considered off-campus renters.[37]

Research and endowment

The Plattsburgh College Foundation helps raise funds for SUNY Plattsburgh through charitable donations. 90% of gifts received go towards financial aid, including $750,000 for student scholarships in 2006. The remaining 10% of funds raised by The Plattsburgh Fund goes towards activities, improvements in campus technology and improvements in the welfare of the college. Alumni donations account for 40% of all donations.[39]


Plattsburgh State competes in 19 different intercollegiate sports at the Division III level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Depending on the sport, Plattsburgh teams also compete within the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) or the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). Team sports with both men's and women's teams include ice hockey, basketball, soccer, track and field, and cross country. Plattsburgh also has men's teams in baseball and lacrosse, and women's teams in softball, tennis, and volleyball. All Plattsburgh State intercollegiate athletic teams are named either Cardinals or Lady Cardinals.[40]

Ice hockey

Cardinal Hockey is by far the most notable of Plattsburgh State sports, featuring perennial national powerhouses in both men's and women's ice hockey.

The men's hockey team has won three NCAA D-III Championships (1987, 1992 and 2001) and 18 SUNYAC Championships.[41] The women's hockey team has won six NCAA D-III Championships (2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017) and five ECAC Western Division Championships (2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, and 2015). The 2013–2014 Lady Cardinals' team blew out the Norwich Cadets in the 2014 NCAA Championship in Ronald B. Stafford Arena, 9–2 in front of a crowd of over 1600. They finished their season with an outstanding record, 28–1–1. The Lady Cards also claimed the title of 2013–2014 ECAC West Champions. The previous year (2012–2013) the Lady Cardinals were defeated in the NCAA semifinals, moving on to grasp a third-place title. They ended with a 29–1–0 record, also winning 2012–2013 ECAC West Championships. The 2006–2007 Lady Cardinals' team that won the National Championship went undefeated (27–0–2); a feat accomplished for just the fourth time in NCAA hockey history (men's or women's at any level).[42] The Lady Cardinals won NCAA D-III championships in both 2013–2014 and 2014–2015.

Cardinal hockey players have been named first team All-Americans a total of 19 times. For the men's team, Tracey Belanger (1999),[43] Jason Desloover (1998),[6] Steve Moffat (1998),[6] Lenny Pereira (1993, 1994),[45][46] Joe Ferras (1987),[47] Peter DeArmas (1985),[48] Gaetan D'Anjou (1982),[5] and Doug Kimura (1980, 1981)[5][5] have been first team All-Americans. For the women's team, Shannon Stewart (2013), Alison Era (2013), Sydney Aveson (2013), Teal Gove (2012), Kara Buehler (2011), Stephanie Moberg (2009) Bree Doyle (2006, 2007),[25][53] Danielle Blanchard (2007, 2008),[53] Jenn Clarke (2006),[25] Erin O'Brien (2005),[5] and Elizabeth Gibson (2004)[5] have been first team All-Americans. Blanchard won the Laura Hurd Award as the NCAA Division III Player of the Year in 2008.

Plattsburgh/Oswego hockey rivalry

In 1990, the Cardinal Hockey Boosters Club began a tradition of fans throwing hundreds of tennis balls onto the ice after the first SUNY Plattsburgh goal was scored against the visiting Lakers from SUNY Oswego. There are a number of reasons tennis balls may have been chosen: It is believed that tennis balls were chosen because the Head Coach for Oswego's hockey team was also the school's tennis coach; because tennis balls matched the bright yellow color of the Lakers' jerseys; or because the tennis coach from Oswego State had left to work for Plattsburgh. In 1998, Oswego goaltender Carl Antifonario shutout the Cardinals in Plattsburgh, denying fans the opportunity to throw any tennis balls. This accomplishment led to an Oswego counter-tradition of throwing hundreds of bagels (representing a zero; also said to represent "bird food" for Plattsburgh's mascot: a Cardinal) on their home ice following the first goal scored against the Cardinals in Oswego. The SUNY Plattsburgh tradition of throwing tennis balls at home games against Oswego lasted for 18 years but, following Oswego's lead two years earlier, it was finally ended by school administrators on January 25, 2008.[5][5]


In 1904, Plattsburgh Normal College basketball team was shut out by Potsdam Normal College by a score of 123–0.[5]

After an undetermined period without a team, Plattsburgh State officially rejoined intercollegiate men's basketball in 1921. Since that time, Cardinals basketball has gone to seven NCAA tournaments (1975, 1995, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013), including a Final Four appearance in 1976.[116]


The men's lacrosse team has only made the SUNYAC playoffs once in school history, which was the 2013 season. Though to some this might not seem like an accomplishment, to others the program has made tremendous strides. Not only was the team's first playoff appearance in the 2013, but also the team's first ever hosted playoff game, first ever victory in a playoff game and first ever appearance in the SUNYAC championship. That game resulted in a 9–2 loss to SUNY Cortland though SUNY Plattsburgh was the first team to hold SUNY Cortland under double digits that entire season.

Cross Country/Track & Field

The men's cross-country team has qualified for the NCAA Championships on ten separate occasions, most recently in 2008. Their top finish was in 1975, after placing 9th. The women have qualified for six NCAA Championships. The 2007 women's were the National Runner-up to Amherst College.[116]

The men's track and field team has boasted nineteen NCAA All-American athletes, including two Nationals Champions; Andy Hastings (1986) and Chris Verkey (1998).[116] In 2011, Mike Heymann set a school record by winning All-American honors for a seventh time.[116] The women's track and field team has seen ten NCAA All-Americans, including National Champion Kathy Kane (1989).[116]


The Cardinals sponsored a men's wrestling team for eleven seasons, from 1963-64 to 1973-74. They had two winning seasons, 1967 (7-6) coached by Bob Kopinsky, and 1968 (8-6) coached by Don Learman.[116]

Student life

Student Association

The Student Association, also known as the S.A., is the student run government body at Plattsburgh State. Their mission is to voice the concerns and interests of the students, as well as provide services, programs, and activities for the college community. The SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association was founded in 1963.[116]

Campus media

Cardinal Points is the name of the student-run weekly newspaper. In 2007, the Associated Collegiate Press named Cardinal Points as a finalist for a Newspaper Pacemaker Award, the highest award given to college media.[116] The Cardinal Yearbook was recently brought back to the campus by the Journalism department. The book is published in full color, featuring student life, faculty and staff, seniors, and athletics. Plattsburgh State also has a full color local magazine published annually, once called All Points North, now renamed Do North since 2013. Plattsburgh State Television (PSTV) is the student run television station, and 93.9 WQKE is the student run radio station. The communications department also runs WARP,[116] a radio station streaming over the cable bulletin board in the Plattsburgh area.

Residence Hall Councils

Organized by the Office of Housing and Residence Life, each residence hall has a residence hall council, each headed by a respective elected president, vice president, secretary, and representatives for each floor. Using a budget provided from the Hall Council Fees portion of tuition, hall council members acting as a small municipal body organize events, parties, barbecues, tournaments, and sometimes competitions or collaborations with other residence halls on campus. The hall council is often responsible for creating and maintaining dorm newsletters as well.[116]

Greek life


Notable alumni and former students


Darnelle Webbe (2012) - School Counselor in the Isaac School District.

Jack Russell Weinstein (1991) - Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at The University of North Dakota, Author, Radio personality.

Performing arts




  • John Daly – Skeleton racer since 2001. Qualified for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and named to the 2014 Olympic team. Graduated with a communications degree in 2008.



Notable faculty and staff

  • Cheryl Hogle – First female president of Omicron Delta Kappa, serving from 1998 to 2002. Hogle worked on student housing and residence life for the Student Affairs office at SUNY Plattsburgh. Cheryl M. Hogle Court Yard outside of Algonquin Dining Hall is named in her honor. She is also an alumnus of SUNY Plattsburgh, class of 1968.[9][9][9][9]
  • Eliza Kellas – Renowned educator and suffragist. Former principal of Emma Willard School and co-founder of Russell Sage College. Kellas served at Plattsburgh Normal School from 1891 to 1901, reaching the position of Preceptress (equivalent to Dean of Students).[9]
  • Jacques Lemaire – Former NHL ice hockey player, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. Lemaire was an Assistant Coach for Cardinal Hockey during the 1981–1982 season.[9][9]

Notable events