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The State University of New York at Oswego was founded in 1861 as a teacher training school by Edward Austin Sheldon, who embraced and popularized some of the most innovative teaching methods of his day. Oswego became one of the State University of New York's founding members in 1948 and evolved into a full-fledged arts and sciences university college in the SUNY system by 1962, when it entered a period of rapid growth: as enrollment soared, 29 new buildings opened in the 1960s alone.
With a student body of 8,000 students, Oswego is large enough to offer more than 110 programs of study yet small enough for students to form lifelong bonds with each other and their professors. The state has invested more than $750 million in campus renewal at Oswego since 2000, bringing new luster and technologies to old buildings and adding wholly new state-of-the-art facilities.
Increasing and celebrating diversity has long been a strategic direction of SUNY Oswego: as members of the college community understand and engage differences among cultures and other divisions of the human family, each becomes more fully human.
The college community has become increasingly diverse as New York's and the nation's demographics have evolved and as Oswego recruits students and faculty farther from its Upstate region. By 2014, 21 percent of undergraduate students and 16 percent of full-time faculty were from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.
Oswego is committed to enhancing its diversity. SUNY Oswego is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages applications from professionals of color, women, individuals with disabilities and veterans.
The college's 690-acre campus, featuring nearly a mile of Great Lake shorefront, is scenic every season of the year.
Lake Ontario with its connected waterways and natural beauty is the focal point for world-class sports fishing, outstanding opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, community parks, living history through maritime museums and Fort Ontario, and festivals like Oswego's Harborfest. To the north are the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence Seaway, to the south the vineyards of the Finger Lakes.
SUNY Oswego is the top employer in Oswego County, but energy, agriculture, tourism, health care and manufacturing all contribute to this rural area's diverse economy. More than a million tons of cargo move through the port of Oswego annually due to its strategic location at the crossroads of Northeastern North America.
Syracuse is the metropolitan cultural hub for Central New York, a 45-minute drive from Oswego. Its international airport is closer still.
The Central New York region is rich in history, its citizens having played a leading role in the Abolitionist Movement and the Women's Rights Convention in the 19th century and its rivers and forests providing the backdrop for the historical novels of James Fenimore Cooper. Oswego itself was often a stop on the Underground Railroad, and its forts, overlooking the harbor from the 18th century forward, were scenes of battles, most notably in the War of 1812.
Today, the region is a leader in innovation in green technologies. SUNY Oswego contributes as a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, pledging to become climate neutral by 2050. The college's new construction is all designed to meet the LEED Gold standard of the U.S. Green Building Council, and its newest building features the largest geothermal well installation in the state.
Inspired by a shared commitment to excellence and the desire to transcend traditional higher-education boundaries, SUNY Oswego strives to be a premier institution that provides a transformative experience to a diverse body of students, empowering them to live ethical and meaningful lives and build a better world.
The college community has a firm grasp of its purpose and promise and has demonstrated great resilience and optimism. The legacy of 19th century founder Edward Austin Sheldon still underpins the college's identity and invigorates the college's vision. Sheldon built a powerful public asset to meet the needs of rising populations and was one of the original adopters of experiential learning as a compelling pedagogy.
Learning-centeredness is Oswego's organizing principle for decisions about responsibilities, activities, resources, and academic and physical environments as the college addresses the widening missions of public higher education in the 21st century and continues to advance the public good.