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Union College

Union College

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Union College is a private
Private university
Private universities are universities not operated by governments, although many receive public subsidies, especially in the form of tax breaks and public student loans and grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. Private universities are...

, non-denominational liberal arts college
Liberal arts colleges in the United States
Liberal arts colleges in the United States are certain undergraduate institutions of higher education in the United States. The Encyclopædia Britannica Concise offers a definition of the liberal arts as a "college or university curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge and developing general...

 located in Schenectady
Schenectady, New York
Schenectady is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, United States. Founded in 1795, it was the first institution of higher learning chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. In the 19th century, it became the "Mother of Fraternities
Mother of Fraternities
The Mother of Fraternities is a term commonly used to refer to two colleges: Union College and Miami University.Union College was the site in which three fraternities in the United States, Kappa Alpha Society, Sigma Phi, and Delta Phi, known collectively as the Union Triad, were founded between...

", as three of the earliest such organizations
Fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations...

 were established there. After 175 years as a traditional all-male institution, Union College began enrolling women in 1970.

The college offers a liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

 curriculum across some 21 academic departments, as well as opportunities for interdepartmental major
Academic major
In the United States and Canada, an academic major or major concentration is the academic discipline to which an undergraduate student formally commits....

s and self-designed organizing theme majors. In common with only a few other liberal arts colleges, Union also offers ABET-accredited
Abet
Abet may refer to:* Abet Guidaben , former Philippine Basketball Association basketball player* ABET, Inc., a non-profit organization that accredits higher education programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology....

 undergraduate degrees in computer engineering
Computer engineering
Computer engineering, also called computer systems engineering, is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer systems. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering, software design, and...

, electrical engineering
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

, and mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

. Approximately 25% of students major in the social sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

; 9% in history; 10% in psychology; 11% in engineering; 10% in biology; 10% in the liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

; while some 5% design their own majors. By the time they graduate, about 60% of Union students will have engaged in some form of international study or study abroad
Study abroad
Studying abroad is the act of a student pursuing educational opportunities in a country other than one's own. This can include primary, secondary and post-secondary students...

.

Founding



Places of higher learning
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 were few in the early days of the Americas. During the colonial period (1636–1769) of American history, nine surviving institutions of higher education were founded, largely in association with religious denominations and devoted to the perpetuation of traditional forms of religious culture.

Officially chartered in 1795, Union can trace its beginnings to 1779. Certain that General
General (United Kingdom)
General is currently the highest peace-time rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. It is subordinate to the Army rank of Field Marshal, has a NATO-code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank....

 John Burgoyne
John Burgoyne
General John Burgoyne was a British army officer, politician and dramatist. He first saw action during the Seven Years' War when he participated in several battles, mostly notably during the Portugal Campaign of 1762....

's defeat at the Battle of Saratoga
Battle of Saratoga
The Battles of Saratoga conclusively decided the fate of British General John Burgoyne's army in the American War of Independence and are generally regarded as a turning point in the war. The battles were fought eighteen days apart on the same ground, south of Saratoga, New York...

 two years before would mean a new nation, nearly 1,000 citizens of northern New York
Upstate New York
Upstate New York is the region of the U.S. state of New York that is located north of the core of the New York metropolitan area.-Definition:There is no clear or official boundary between Upstate New York and Downstate New York...

 (which then included what eventually became Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

) began the first popular demand for higher education in America. Local academic and religious activists persisted in these efforts for sixteen years until the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York
University of the State of New York
The University of the State of New York is the State of New York's governmental umbrella organization responsible for most institutions and people in any way connected with formal educational functions, public and private, in New York State...

 recognized the school with that institution's first charter.

By 1799, another 16 surviving colleges had been chartered or founded in the United States, to bring the total to 25 at the end of the 18th century. But, in the years between the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 and Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, the legal foundations of 182 permanent colleges were laid in the United States. Hundreds more were born but proved short-lived, largely because of financial limitations and denominational competition. Not the least of the obstacles faced by these hopeful institutions was the fact that many of them were started without adequate continuing support, in outlying communities whose populations and prosperity all laid in the future. Of the 182 colleges and universities founded in those years, well over a hundred appeared outside the original thirteen colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

. Union College, like many of these, was founded in what was nearly a wilderness, in the town of Schenectady, New York on the Mohawk River
Mohawk River
The Mohawk River is a river in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest tributary of the Hudson River. The Mohawk flows into the Hudson in the Capital District, a few miles north of the city of Albany. The river is named for the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy...

; at the time, the town had fewer than 4,000 residents. The cities of Syracuse
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, United States, the largest U.S. city with the name "Syracuse", and the fifth most populous city in the state. At the 2010 census, the city population was 145,170, and its metropolitan area had a population of 742,603...

, Rochester
Rochester, New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...

, and Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

 did not yet exist, and western New York
Western New York
Western New York is the westernmost region of the state of New York. It includes the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Niagara Falls, the surrounding suburbs, as well as the outlying rural areas of the Great Lakes lowlands, the Genesee Valley, and the Southern Tier. Some historians, scholars and others...

 was very sparsely settled; the total white population of the area beyond what is now Rome
Rome, New York
Rome is a city in Oneida County, New York, United States. It is located in north-central or "upstate" New York. The population was 44,797 at the 2010 census. It is in New York's 24th congressional district. In 1758, British forces began construction of Fort Stanwix at this strategic location, but...

 was below 2,000.

Union's charter
Charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

 was sixteen years in the making. Even before the Revolution had ended, a new "rising democratic tide" was overtaking the colonists. The old ways, and in particular the old purposes and structure of higher education, were being pushed aside. Practical education for the new man of commerce and politics was the new desire, not just classical education for the professions and the ministry. Every hamlet and rude settlement aspired to become an "Athens of the West", and Schenectady was no exception. The Mohawk and Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 regions were for the most part dominated by the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 in those years, and the Dutch had seen no particular need for a college of their own other than Queen's College (now Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

). Queens's College, while intended in part to provide a classical education, had also been founded specifically to train ministers in the Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church was a Reformed Christian denomination in the Netherlands. It existed from the 1570s to 2004, the year it merged with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to form the Protestant Church in the...

. In 1779, John C. Cuyler, Senior Elder of the Schenectady Dutch Reformed Church, presented a petition, signed by nearly 1,000 citizens of northern and eastern New York, to the New York Assembly
New York Legislature
The New York State Legislature is the term often used to refer to the two houses that act as the state legislature of the U.S. state of New York. The New York Constitution does not designate an official term for the two houses together...

 asking permission to form a corporation to found an academy or college in Schenectady, to be called Clinton College. This has been said by some to be the first expression in America of a popular demand for higher education. This petition, along with a second one in 1782, failed in its purpose, despite an attempt by Governor
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

 George Clinton
George Clinton (vice president)
George Clinton was an American soldier and politician, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was the first Governor of New York, and then the fourth Vice President of the United States , serving under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He and John C...

 in 1780 to create the new college by executive order.

In the meantime, the Dutch Church continued to show an interest in establishing an academy or college under its control in Schenectady. In 1778, the Schenectady Church invited the Rev. Dirck Romeyn, from New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, to visit Schenectady, evidently anticipating the need for an assistant minister in the near future. This need arose in 1784, and Romeyn was invited by John C. Cuyler (of the first petition), to "come over and help us" in Schenectady. Cuyler was probably influenced by the distribution of a plan, two years earlier, for establishing an academy and then a college, accountable to the Dutch Church, in Schenectady. The plan's author was the Rev. Dirck Romeyn. As a result, the Schenectady Academy was established in 1785 and thus originated the first organized school system in Schenectady.

The Academy flourished, reaching an enrollment of about 100 within a year of its founding and continued within that range until its replacement by Union College a decade later. The Academy offered a full four-year college course by at least 1792, as well as a course of elementary and practical subjects (which were taught mainly to girls). Attempts to charter the Academy as a college in 1786 and 1792 failed, but the Academy itself was finally chartered in 1793. However, in 1794, a request to the Board of Regents to charter a college was rejected, on the grounds that the school was neither academically nor financially ready for that step. But the boosters of the new college were not to be so easily defeated.

In early 1795, the Board of Regents found before them two petitions to charter colleges: Union College in Schenectady (the first time the name "Union" appears), and Albany College in Albany. One of the main arguments advanced on behalf of Union College was that the cost of living in Schenectady was less than in Albany, and in any event it was too expensive to send aspiring local scholars to Columbia
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. This time, the petition was successful; the full text of Union College's charter was ratified by the Board of Regents on February 25, 1795 (still celebrated by the College as "Founders' Day"). While it was the first college chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, Union College was still not the oldest institution of higher learning in New York; that honor goes to Columbia College, founded by royal charter as King's College in 1754.

Etymology


The word "union" as part of the name of an educational institution is not uncommon. There have been, for example, at least three other
Union College (disambiguation)
Union College is a liberal arts college in Schenectady, New York, United States.Union College may also refer to:* Pacific Union College, liberal arts college in Napa Valley, California, United States...

 Union Colleges and two other Union Universities in the United States, not to mention such institutions as Hebrew Union College
Hebrew Union College
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the oldest extant Jewish seminary in the Americas and the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism.HUC-JIR has campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.The Jerusalem...

, Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a preeminent independent graduate school of theology, located in Manhattan between Claremont Avenue and Broadway, 120th to 122nd Streets. The seminary was founded in 1836 under the Presbyterian Church, and is affiliated with nearby Columbia...

, and Union College of Law (subsequently Northwestern University School of Law
Northwestern University School of Law
The Northwestern University School of Law is a private American law school in Chicago, Illinois. The law school was founded in 1859 as the Union College of Law of the Old University of Chicago. The first law school established in Chicago, it became jointly controlled by Northwestern University in...

). It is significant that the concept frequently occurs in the context of denominational unity or cooperation. The Plan of Union of 1801
Plan of Union of 1801
The Plan of Union of 1801 was an agreement between Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches for mutual support and joint effort in the establishment of new congregations. It was important because it directly led to the Old School-New School Controversy in the Presbyterian Church in the United...

 (partly sponsored by Jonathan Edwards, Jr.
Jonathan Edwards (the younger)
This article is about the theologian , for other uses of Jonathan Edwards see Jonathan Edwards.Jonathan Edwards was an American theologian and linguist.-Life and career:...

, second president of Union College), for instance, was intended to bring Presbyterians
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 and Congregationalists
Congregational church
Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs....

 together to conquer the western missionary field. But it is also true that the term has been used since colonial times to refer to the union, or joining, of the original colonies into a larger whole (as proposed, for example, in the Albany Plan of Union in 1754): Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 frequently used the term as a proper noun in this sense.

Although several other names were proposed for the intended college (Clinton College and the College of Schenectady), perhaps even including the name of a major benefactor (should one have appeared), the name "Union" was eventually settled upon to express the idea that several religious denominations had come together to form a college without giving any one of them decisive control over the enterprise. The College's first two leaders, John Blair Smith
John Blair Smith
John Blair Smith was born in Pequea, Pennsylvania, on June 12, 1756, the son of the Rev. Robert Smith, who ran an academy there. John Blair Smith was valedictorian of the Class of 1773 at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University...

 and Jonathan Edwards, Jr., clearly recognized that this was the primary significance of the name. Union College has remained free of the control of any one religious denomination since its founding.

Seal and motto



The College's charter provided for the design of an official seal to be used on diploma
Diploma
A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as a university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study or confers an academic degree. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, the word diploma refers to...

s and other official business documents and correspondence. The Trustees were also authorized to select the "devices and inscription" to be engraved on the seal. A committee of four Trustees was appointed to look into the matter, and a seal was approved in November 1796. The original seal and its press have been lost, but it is known that it was nearly identical to the seal in use today (from an impression on a document from 1796).

The Union College seal features the head of the Roman goddess Minerva
Minerva
Minerva was the Roman goddess whom Romans from the 2nd century BC onwards equated with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic...

 (Greek goddess Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

) in the center of an oval with an outside star pattern surrounding the whole. Around the central figure are the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 words "Sous les lois de Minerve nous devenons tous frères" (We all become brothers under the laws of Minerva). On a banner just above the central figure are the words "St: of N: York" and on a similar banner below the central figure appear the words: "Union College 1795". The precise origins of the motto and the choice of Minerva as the fundamental element of the College seal are obscure, but two things are certain: unlike most college mottoes of the time, the Union College motto is in a language other than Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, and the tone of the entire seal is distinctly modern.

It is not at all surprising that the original trustees should have chosen Minerva as their herald and representative. Minerva began her mythological career as a local Italian deity (Etruscan
Etruscan mythology
The Etruscans were a diachronically continuous population, with a distinct language and culture during the period of earliest European writing, in the Mediterranean Iron Age in the second half of the first millennium BC...

, but possibly with Greek influences), patroness of the arts and crafts. By the time she was well established as a Roman goddess, the scope of her interests and patronage had broadened to include at least painting, poetry, drama, and teaching. Somewhat paradoxically, Minerva was also associated with the arts of war—hence her image is usually that of a female dressed for battle. Very early, Minerva was identified with the Greek goddess Athena, and invested with many of that deity's characteristics and iconography. Eventually—certainly by the 18th century—Minerva had come to represent all of those qualities that might be wished for in a rational, virtuous, prudent, wise, and "scientific" man: just the sort of progressive individual who might found a new nation (or college) based on sound republican principles and liberal Christian (Protestant) morals. When the Paris Academy of Sciences
French Academy of Sciences
The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research...

 met for the first time in 1666, a commemorative medal was struck portraying Minerva on its reverse, surrounded by symbols of astronomy, anatomy, and chemistry. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

, founded in 1780, took Minerva as its model, along with the motto "Sub libertate florent", intending to imply that the arts and sciences flourish best in a free society. Clearly, Minerva was very much an icon of the Scientific Revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

 and the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

.

While the rationale behind the connection between Union College and Minerva is relatively clear, there is less agreement with respect to the history of the College's motto. Its egalitarian theme is consistent with the non-denominational and generally democratic spirit of Union's founding. It also declares the brotherhood of man, or of the community of mankind, in a sense familiar to the Enlightenment (and, of course, to the French revolutionaries). But that it does so with the qualification "under the laws of Minerva" is important. Even though Minerva was a pagan goddess, and the Union College founders devout Protestants, there was still plenty of room for a belief that men could come together as brothers in a community ruled by reason, virtue, and natural law
Natural law
Natural law, or the law of nature , is any system of law which is purportedly determined by nature, and thus universal. Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature and deduce binding rules of moral behavior. Natural law is contrasted with the positive law Natural...

 (or, as the case may be, the Law of God). Not surprisingly, the founders believed that the key to achieving this ideal state is education. Nearly all of the differences among men, wherever they may be found, argued John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

, are the result of diverse education. The founders of Union College were unabashedly optimistic that education, learning, and science could build a better world.

Presidents



Union College has had eighteen presidents since its founding in 1795. Union has the distinction of having had the longest serving college or university president in the history of the United States, Eliphalet Nott
Eliphalet Nott
Eliphalet Nott , was a famed Presbyterian minister, inventor, educational pioneer, and long-term president of Union College, Schenectady, New York.-Life:...

.
  1. John Blair Smith
    John Blair Smith
    John Blair Smith was born in Pequea, Pennsylvania, on June 12, 1756, the son of the Rev. Robert Smith, who ran an academy there. John Blair Smith was valedictorian of the Class of 1773 at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University...

     (1795–1799)
  2. Jonathan Edwards, Jr.
    Jonathan Edwards (the younger)
    This article is about the theologian , for other uses of Jonathan Edwards see Jonathan Edwards.Jonathan Edwards was an American theologian and linguist.-Life and career:...

     (1799–1801)
  3. Jonathan Maxcy
    Jonathan Maxcy
    Jonathan Maxcy was the second president of Brown University ; the third president of Union College; and the first president of the University of South Carolina.Born in Attleboro, Massachusetts on September 2, 1768, Maxcy was educated at an academy in Wrentham, Massachusetts and...

     (1802–1804)
  4. Eliphalet Nott
    Eliphalet Nott
    Eliphalet Nott , was a famed Presbyterian minister, inventor, educational pioneer, and long-term president of Union College, Schenectady, New York.-Life:...

     (1804–1866)
  5. Laurens Perseus Hickok
    Laurens Perseus Hickok
    Laurens Perseus Hickok , American philosopher and divine, was born at Bethel, Connecticut.He took his degree at Union College in 1820...

     (1866–1868)
  6. Charles Augustus Aiken
    Charles Augustus Aiken
    -Biography:He was born in Manchester, Vermont in 1827 to John Aiken and Harriet Adams Aiken. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1846, and went on to Andover Theological Seminary, where he graduated in 1853. He married Sarah Noyes on October 17, 1854, and was ordained a pastor of the...

     (1869–1871)
  7. Eliphalet Nott Potter (1871–1884)
  8. Harrison Edwin Webster (1888–1894)
  9. Andrew Van Vranken Raymond
    Andrew Van Vranken Raymond
    Andrew Van Vranken Raymond was an American minister, educator and author; raised in the Dutch Reformed Faith in upstate New York. He was a graduate of Union College , and was a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church before becoming a Presbyterian minister. He later accepted the position as President...

     (1894–1907)
  10. Charles Alexander Richmond (1909–1928)
  11. Frank Parker Day
    Frank Parker Day
    Frank Parker Day was a Canadian athlete, academic and author....

     (1929–1933)
  12. Dixon Ryan Fox
    Dixon Ryan Fox
    Dixon Ryan Fox was an American educator, researcher, and president of Union College from 1934-45.Fox graduated from New York University, where he was a member of the Andiron Club...

     (1934–1945)
  13. Carter Davidson (1946–1965)
  14. Harold Clark Martin (1965–1974)
  15. Thomas Neville Bonner (1974–1978)
  16. John Selwyn Morris (1979–1990)
  17. Roger H. Hull (1990–2005)
  18. Stephen Charles Ainlay (2006–present)

Development of the curriculum


During the first half of the 19th century, students in American colleges would have encountered a very similar course of study, a curriculum with sturdy foundations in the traditional liberal arts (the trivium and quadrivium
Quadrivium
The quadrivium comprised the four subjects, or arts, taught in medieval universities, after teaching the trivium. The word is Latin, meaning "the four ways" , and its use for the 4 subjects has been attributed to Boethius or Cassiodorus in the 6th century...

 of ancient lineage). This meant that the study of language and literature was largely based on Greek
Ancient Greek literature
Ancient Greek literature refers to literature written in the Ancient Greek language until the 4th century.- Classical and Pre-Classical Antiquity :...

 and Latin
Latin literature
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

 authorities, with Hebrew
Hebrew literature
Hebrew literature consists of ancient, medieval, and modern writings in the Hebrew language. It is one of the primary forms of Jewish literature, though there have been cases of literature written in Hebrew by non-Jews...

 required less often. Arithmetic
Arithmetic
Arithmetic or arithmetics is the oldest and most elementary branch of mathematics, used by almost everyone, for tasks ranging from simple day-to-day counting to advanced science and business calculations. It involves the study of quantity, especially as the result of combining numbers...

, geometry
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

, and calculus
Calculus
Calculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. This subject constitutes a major part of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem...

 ("fluxions
Method of Fluxions
Method of Fluxions is a book by Isaac Newton. The book was completed in 1671, and published in 1736. Fluxions is Newton's term for differential calculus...

") gave some practical application in navigation
Navigation
Navigation is the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. It is also the term of art used for the specialized knowledge used by navigators to perform navigation tasks...

 and surveying
Surveying
See Also: Public Land Survey SystemSurveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them...

. Astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, and natural philosophy
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

 (physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

) rounded out the study of science. Finally, theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and moral philosophy as capstone subjects typically dominated much of the junior and senior years. Electives were essentially unheard of. But by the 1820s all of this began to change.

To begin with, Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 were in trouble: ancient languages did not seem to have much application to the busy commercial life of the new nation. Accordingly, French was gradually being introduced into the college curriculum, sometimes as a substitute for Greek or Hebrew. It is significant in this context that French was chosen for the Union College motto. By the second decade of the 19th century, calls for reform in higher education, especially in the traditional liberal arts colleges, were becoming increasingly demanding; a response was required if many of these institutions were to survive at all. The classical curriculum somehow needed to accommodate the needs of a practical, utilitarian, and egalitarian nation as it confronted its manifest destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

 to conquer not only geography but nature itself. One solution to this problem was the so-called "parallel course of study" in scientific and "literary" subjects. The basic idea was to offer a scientific curriculum in parallel to the classical curriculum, for those students wishing a more modern treatment of modern languages, mathematics, and science, equal in dignity to the traditional course of study. An early attempt to establish such a parallel scientific course was made by Hobart College in Geneva
Geneva, New York
Geneva is a city in Ontario and Seneca counties in the U.S. state of New York. The population was 13,617 at the 2000 census. Some claim it is named after the city and canton of Geneva in Switzerland. Others believe the name came from confusion over the letters in the word "Seneca" written in cursive...

, New York, when it was founded in 1825, so that at least some students could get on with the "practical business of life…without passing through a tedious course of classical studies." But this experiment at Hobart soon languished, partly for lack of support by President Jasper Adams
Jasper Adams
Jasper Adams was an American clergyman, college professor, and college president. He was born in East Medway, Massachusetts in 1793, to Major Jasper and Emma Rounds Jasper.Adams graduated from Brown University in 1815...

 and partly for lack of funds. A similar experiment launched by Union College in 1828 was to fare much better.

It was the Hudson Valley
Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley comprises the valley of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in New York State, United States, from northern Westchester County northward to the cities of Albany and Troy.-History:...

 that gave birth to – and nurtured – the first successful attempts in America to raise applied science and technology to a collegiate level. The first technical college in the United States, the military academy at West Point
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

, was created by Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in 1802. The institution that eventually became Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Stephen Van Rensselaer established the Rensselaer School on November 5, 1824 with a letter to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Blatchford, in which van Rensselaer asked Blatchford to serve as the first president. Within the letter he set down several orders of business. He appointed Amos Eaton as the school's...

 (RPI) was founded in Troy
Troy, New York
Troy is a city in the US State of New York and the seat of Rensselaer County. Troy is located on the western edge of Rensselaer County and on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Troy has close ties to the nearby cities of Albany and Schenectady, forming a region popularly called the Capital...

, New York, in 1824 and incorporated in 1826 (and of which Union College president Eliphalet Nott was also president from 1829–1845). Union College introduced a parallel scientific curriculum in 1828 and a civil engineering
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

 program in 1845. Union College, it has been said, was the "one traditional liberal arts college in the first half of the nineteenth century to make a thoroughly uncompromising and effective place for applied science in the course of study". In fact, so successful were Union's reform efforts that by 1839 the College had one of the largest faculty in American higher education and an enrollment surpassed only by Yale
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

.

Architecture and design



After Union College received its charter in 1795, it was quite natural that the College should carry on business in the same building already occupied by the Schenectady Academy. The College began conducting classes on the upper floor, while a grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

 continued to be conducted on the lower floor. It soon became clear that this space would prove inadequate for the growing college (or at least for the optimistic plans of the founders). In 1796, the State of New York appropriated $10,000 (roughly $ today) for a new building, and construction began two years later on the edge of the original Schenectady town site. The ground plan of the new buildings was to be 150 by, the superstructure rising three stories, topped by a cupola
Cupola
In architecture, a cupola is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building. Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome....

. There is reason to believe that the design of the building was influenced by that of Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

’s Nassau Hall
Nassau Hall
Nassau Hall is the oldest building at Princeton University in the borough of Princeton, New Jersey . At the time it was built in 1754, Nassau Hall was the largest building in colonial New Jersey. Designed originally by Robert Smith, the building was subsequently remodeled by notable American...

 (sometimes described as the Italianate style
Italianate architecture
The Italianate style of architecture was a distinct 19th-century phase in the history of Classical architecture. In the Italianate style, the models and architectural vocabulary of 16th-century Italian Renaissance architecture, which had served as inspiration for both Palladianism and...

). The new building was occupied in 1804, despite continuing financial difficulties, and two dormitories were constructed nearby.

However, Eliphalet Nott, arriving as president of the College in 1804 (having been a trustee since 1800) was not daunted by the obstacles to growth and expansion created by lack of funds, a reluctant legislature, and a sometimes litigious Board of Trustees. Even as the booming city of Schenectady was alive with commercial activity, Nott was envisioning a college that would to a large extent protect and shield its students from the lowlife and temptations that inevitably accompanied rapid economic growth on the frontier. He also had no doubt that the size of the College would begin to steadily increase to meet the needs of a new national population. But the only way for this to happen was through increased financial support from the State of New York, and Nott began the first of many complicated negotiations to endow the College with funds yielded by an education lottery, the first of which was authorized on March 30, 1805.

Accordingly, in July 1806, Nott and the trustees determined to acquire a large tract of land to the east of the Downtown Schenectady
Downtown Schenectady
Downtown Schenectady is the central business district for the city of Schenectady, New York. It originated in the 1820s with the moving of the commercial and industrial interests east from the original 17th and 18th century settlement, spurred on by the development of the Erie Canal...

, on a gentle slope up from the Mohawk River and facing nearly due west. This tract was not promisingly described by Nott some years later as “pasture grounds, scarred by deep ravines, rendered at once unsightly and difficult of access by an alternation of swamp and sand hill…”. Clearly, the prospect was largely in the eye of the beholder. There was apparently even a sulphur spring on the hill, although it did not pose any threat to Saratoga Springs. Using primarily his own funds and credit, Nott purchased between 250 and 300 acre (101.2 and 121.4 ha) of the hill. By 1812 a stone wall had been built at the lower end of the slope, creating a terrace
Terrace (agriculture)
Terraces are used in farming to cultivate sloped land. Graduated terrace steps are commonly used to farm on hilly or mountainous terrain. Terraced fields decrease erosion and surface runoff, and are effective for growing crops requiring much water, such as rice...

 upon which the preliminary foundations for buildings were begun. Then a meeting occurred that changed not only the Union College campus, but many other American college designs for the next several decades. The catalyst for this venture was international financier David Parish
David Parish
David Parish was a German-born land speculator and financier who played a major role in financing the United States military effort in the War of 1812 and in chartering the Second Bank of the United States....

.

The French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 landscape
Landscape architect
A landscape architect is a person involved in the planning, design and sometimes direction of a landscape, garden, or distinct space. The professional practice is known as landscape architecture....

 and building architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

, Joseph Jacques Ramée
Joseph-Jacques Ramée
Joseph-Jacques Ramée var a French architect, interior designer, and landscape architect working within the neoclassicist idiom. In his lifetime, he worked in France, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and the USA...

 had already established a reputation as a skilled designer of landscapes combined with houses and other kinds of buildings by the time he was persuaded to visit America in search of projects. One of his projects had been the design of the estate of David Parish’s father in Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, and Parish remembered this when he sought an architect to help him develop settlements on vast tracts of land in northern New York he had purchased on speculation. Ramée arrived in the northern Adirondacks in late 1812 to work on projects in and around the small towns on Parish’s land. But not even the ambitious Parish could keep the famous architect busy enough to support his family, so Parish also acted as agent in finding Ramée other work. So, it was natural that on a return trip to Philadelphia in January 1813, Parish should introduce Ramée to Eliphalet Nott, who was already in the college building business. Nott hired Ramée almost immediately to draw up plans for the new campus, for the fairly grand sum of $1,500 (roughly $ today). Ramée worked on the drawings for about a year, and construction of two of the college buildings proceeded quickly enough to permit occupation in 1814. The Union College campus thus became the first comprehensively planned college campus in the United States.

While it would be many years before nearly all of the elements of Ramée’s original design were actually constructed, the plan itself, so to speak, broke new ground in college campus planning. On the terrace already prepared, the buildings were to be arranged to form a large, open courtyard, facing the West and the Mohawk River valley. The parallel buildings were 600 feet (182.9 m) apart and were all to be linked by arcades
Arcade (architecture)
An arcade is a succession of arches, each counterthrusting the next, supported by columns or piers or a covered walk enclosed by a line of such arches on one or both sides. In warmer or wet climates, exterior arcades provide shelter for pedestrians....

, one of which formed a semicircle
Semicircle
In mathematics , a semicircle is a two-dimensional geometric shape that forms half of a circle. Being half of a circle's 360°, the arc of a semicircle always measures 180° or a half turn...

 at the upper end of the courtyard. In the center of the space a rotunda
Rotunda (architecture)
A rotunda is any building with a circular ground plan, sometimes covered by a dome. It can also refer to a round room within a building . The Pantheon in Rome is a famous rotunda. A Band Rotunda is a circular bandstand, usually with a dome...

 was planned, probably meant to be the College chapel. It has been said that “Ramée’s Union College plan is important for introducing a new type of planning, involving many buildings related in complex ways to each other and to the surrounding landscape. It is also a milestone in the history of the American college campus. The most ambitious and comprehensive plan for a campus up to that time, the Union design became a model for collegiate planning.” It seems very likely, for example, that Thomas Jefferson was aware of the Ramée design for Union, either directly or through the influence of Benjamin Latrobe. Certainly the final design at the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 is reminiscent of Ramée’s overall conception in many ways. Indeed, the plan that Nott and Ramée imagined and realized in Schenectady eventually found its way into the design of other colleges and universities throughout the country.

Landmarks


Arts Building: The Arts building is located at the east end of the Taylor Music Center (the former North Colonnade) and was an element of the original campus plan by Joseph Jacques Ramée. It was built in 1852 to house the physics and chemistry—or “natural philosophy”—departments, and was thus called Philosophical Hall. It held the first analytical chemistry laboratory in the nation. The physics department remained in the building for over 100 years, and after the first half of its tenancy there, Philosophical Hall was renamed the Physics building.

Grant Hall: The former Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi is a Greek-letter social college fraternity and the fourth-oldest continuous Greek-letter fraternity in the United States and Canada. Alpha Delta Phi was founded on October 29, 1832 by Samuel Eells at Hamilton College and includes former U.S. Presidents, Chief Justices of the U.S....

 House was built for the fraternity between 1895 and 1898. It is the oldest surviving structure on campus originally constructed as a fraternity house and still has the Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi is a Greek-letter social college fraternity and the fourth-oldest continuous Greek-letter fraternity in the United States and Canada. Alpha Delta Phi was founded on October 29, 1832 by Samuel Eells at Hamilton College and includes former U.S. Presidents, Chief Justices of the U.S....

 crest on the front face of the building. Its architect, Albert W. Fuller, also designed several other buildings on campus. After the fraternity’s lease on the land expired, the building was completely renovated by the College, and it reopened in the summer of 2001 as the Grant Admissions Center.

Hale House: Often still called South Colonnade, this building was constructed in 1815 following the general design for the campus laid out by Ramée. It originally contained recitation rooms and laboratories as well as faculty apartments. A gift from Walter C. Baker (class of 1915) and his wife allowed the building to be converted into a much-needed College dining hall with faculty and student lounges in 1935–1936. It was named in honor of Professor Edward Everett Hale, who had once lived in part of the building. It is currently used as a dining hall and meeting space for special events.

Jackson’s Garden: Begun in the 1830s by Professor Isaac Jackson of the Mathematics Department, Jackson's Garden is 8 acres (3.2 ha) of formal gardens and woodlands. Located on the side of campus where Ramee’s original plans for the College called for a garden, it has been continuously cultivated since Jackson’s day. Its initial mix of vegetables, shrubs, and flowers – some of which were grown from seeds sent by botanists and botanical enthusiasts from around the world – drew the admiration of such early visitors as John James Audubon, who toured it in 1844.

Memorial Chapel: Memorial Chapel was constructed between 1924 and 1925 to serve as the central College chapel and to honor Union graduates who lost their lives serving during wartime. The names of Union alumni who died in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 appear on the south wall of the chapel, and numerous other memorials and gifts can be seen throughout the building. Portraits of Union College presidents also hang in the chapel.

North and South College: The two original College buildings, started in 1812 and recommenced in 1813 using Ramée’s plans, were occupied in 1814. Until well into the 20th century, both buildings included faculty residences at each end.

Nott Memorial
Nott Memorial
The Nott Memorial is an elaborate 16-sided stone-masonry building which serves as both architectural and physical centerpiece of Union College in Schenectady, New York...

: Designed by Edward Tuckerman Potter (class of 1853), this building derived from the central rotunda in the original Ramée Plan. While it was probably intended to be a chapel in its original conception, the Nott Memorial's primary purpose when finally built was aesthetic. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 1972 and designated a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 in 1986. After many years of neglect, the building was restored to its original glory between 1993 and 1995 and today is the centerpiece of the campus.

Old Chapel: The building now generally known as Old Chapel is located at the east end of South Colonnade / Hale House and was an element of the original campus plan by Ramée. It was built between 1855–1856 according to plans developed by College President Eliphalet Nott and Treasurer Jonathan Pearson (class of 1835) in consultation with Albany architect William L. Woolett. Better known as Geological Hall throughout its early years, it did indeed contain the College’s primary chapel until 1925, although the chapel was not formally laid out with its balconies and wood paneling until the 1870s.

Reamer Campus Center: Built in 1910 as the General Engineering Building with funds provided in part by Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...

, this building was home to the Civil Engineering Department and a variety of other academic departments until the 1970s. It was designed by Albert W. Fuller, the architect of a number of other buildings on campus. After 1971 it served as a student activity center, but it wasn’t until a major reconstruction and expansion project in 1985 that it became a true College Center with numerous dining and lounge spaces, an outdoor plaza, an auditorium, meeting rooms, and offices for student-related services and organizations.

Schaffer Library: Schaffer Library, erected in 1961, was the first building constructed at Union for the sole purpose of housing the College library, which had previously been located in a number of different campus buildings. Trustee Henry Schaffer donated the majority of funds needed for its construction as well as for a later expansion of the building between 1973 and 1974. The original building was designed by Walker O. Cain
Walker O. Cain
Walker O. Cain was a prize-winning American architect.-Early life and education:Cain was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Case Western Reserve University for five years...

 of McKim, Mead and White, and it was built by the Hamilton Construction Company. Additional interior work supported by the Schaffer Foundation was done in the 1980s. After structural problems with the 1973–1974 addition developed, a major project to renovate and expand the library was undertaken in the late 1990s. Designed by the firm of Perry, Dean, Rogers and Partners
Perry Dean Rogers Architects
Perry Dean Rogers is an architectural firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1923, the firm became notable for its designs for educational institutions. The firm was originally founded as Perry, Shaw & Hepburn and was responsible for the restoration of Colonial Wiliamsburg.The firm asserts...

, the renovation provided space for College Media Services, the Writing Center, and a language lab as well. The library collections, services, and staff occupy the majority of the building, which is also home to its Special Collections and the College Archive.

Webster House: Webster House was built between 1901 and 1903 to be the Schenectady Public Library on land that the Schenectady Free Public Library Association had purchased from the College. Its construction was financed in part by Andrew Carnegie, making it one of over 2,500 libraries that Carnegie supported throughout the world, including Union’s own College library at the time. General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 also contributed funds towards its construction. The College repurchased the building and land in 1970 after the public library moved to larger quarters in the city. For several years the building was used as office space for student and other organizations. It was renovated into a dormitory in 1973 and named for College President Harrison Webster (class of 1868 and President 1884–1894).

Organization and administration


“The Trustees of Union College”, as a corporate body, has owned the College and been the College’s designated legal representative throughout its history. The Board consists of four life trustees, twenty-one term trustees, four alumni trustees, two faculty trustees, two student trustees, and the president of the College. The governor of the State of New York is also an ex officio member. The Board meets three times annually: in February, May, and October. The Board appoints the president of the College upon vacancy of the position; it may also appoint an interim president should the need arise.

The active administration of Union College consists of the president; vice-presidents for student affairs, college relations, academic affairs, finance and administration, and admissions and financial aid; and deans and directors of subsidiary departments, including the academic departments, interdisciplinary studies, engineering, advising, health professions, information technology services, athletics, and the library.

The general faculty includes all full-time members of the teaching faculty, professional librarians, and part-time faculty teaching at least four courses during the academic year. Leadership of the general faculty is assigned to a Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), consisting of a chair, a secretary, and four additional faculty members elected by each of the four academic divisions (humanities, social sciences, sciences and mathematics, and engineering).

The Student Forum represents the principal form of student government at Union College. The purpose of the Student Forum is to consider issues and to review, recommend, or formulate policies (as appropriate) in areas involving the student body. In many ways, the structure of student government at Union College deliberately mirrors the structure of College government. The student body is represented by a president, vice-president of administration, vice-president of finance, vice-president of academics, vice-president of campus life, and vice-president for multicultural affairs. The entire Student Forum includes these officers together with two student trustees and 12 class representatives.

Union College belongs to the Liberty League
Liberty League
The Liberty League is an intercollegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III. Originally founded in 1995 as the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association, was renamed during the summer of 2004 to the current name...

, ECAC Hockey, the Annapolis Group
Annapolis Group
The Annapolis Group is an American organization that describes itself as "a nonprofit alliance of the nation’s leading independent liberal arts colleges." It represents approximately 130 liberal arts colleges in the United States...

, the Oberlin Group
Oberlin Group
The Oberlin Group is an "informal consortium of the libraries of approximately 80 selective liberal arts colleges in the United States. The group developed as a result of conferences held in 1984-85 at Oberlin College when the presidents of 50 colleges met to discuss the role of science...

, the Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges
Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges
The Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges is a nonprofit organization of 62 American liberal arts colleges which formed in 1984. CLAC "uses of computing and related technologies in the service of the liberal arts mission...

 (CLAC), and the New York Six Consortium. Union is also a component of Union University
Union University (New York)
Union University is a federation of several graduate and undergraduate institutions which are located in the New York State, United States. Its constituent entities include Albany College of Pharmacy, Albany Law School, Albany Medical College, Dudley Observatory, Graduate College of Union...

, which includes the Union Graduate College, Albany Medical College
Albany Medical College
Albany Medical College is a medical school located in Albany, New York, United States. It was founded in 1839 by Amos Dean, Dr. Thomas Hun and others, and is one of the oldest medical schools in the nation...

, Albany Law School
Albany Law School
Albany Law School is an ABA accredited law school based in Albany, New York. It was founded in 1851 by Amos Dean , Amasa Parker, Ira Harris and others....

, the Dudley Observatory
Dudley Observatory
Dudley Observatory is an astronomical observatory located in Schenectady, New York, United States. Along with Albany College of Pharmacy, Albany Law School, Albany Medical College, the Graduate College of Union University, and Union College, it is one of the constituent entities of Union...

, and the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is a private, independent college dedicated to the advancement of health...

.

The Union College radio station, WRUC
WRUC
WRUC-FM is a college radio station owned by, and staffed by, the students of Union College in Schenectady, New York. The 100-watt station broadcasts on and streams on Internet radio at...

 89.7, dates from a student project in fall, 1910, but did not become “live” until 1912. The Union College radio station was among the very first wireless transmitters in the country to broadcast regularly scheduled programs. The weekly Concordiensis
Concordiensis
Concordiensis is the student-run newspaper of Union College in Schenectady, New York, United States. It was founded in November 1877 and is the thirteenth oldest student newspaper in the United States and is the oldest continuously published newspaper in the city of Schenectady. The newspaper's...

, the principal newspaper of Union College since 1877, is the thirteenth oldest student newspaper in the United States and the oldest continuously published newspaper in Schenectady.

Academic program



The mission statement of Union College claims, in part, that Union will offer a liberal education that includes “a wide range of disciplines and interdisciplinary programs in the liberal arts and engineering, as well as academic, athletic, cultural, and social activities, including opportunities to study abroad and to participate in undergraduate research and community service.” The general education program and the requirements of the major are an essential component of this mission. In addition to a standard distribution requirement of courses in several disciplines, the general education curriculum includes two specially designed, required courses intended to develop critical reading and writing skills across the first two years of college: the First-Year Preceptorial (FYP) and the Sophomore Research Seminar (SRS).

The mission of FYP is, “through reading, writing, and discussing important ideas from diverse perspectives, [to help] students develop an appreciation for the values embodied in the liberal arts. These include the habits and skills of critical inquiry, a tolerance for diverse points of view, an awareness of ambiguity, and a deep curiosity about the social, ethical, cultural, political, and natural world in which we live. All of this takes place in an environment that cultivates skills in analytical reading, clear and vigorous writing, and convincing argumentation.” The typical FYP relies on a significant reading load of traditional as well as modern texts, together with substantial classroom discussion and written analysis of ideas and authors.

The SRS, as a complementary course, is intended to focus on the learning of research methods, evidence-based reasoning, and the techniques of sound written argumentation. The typical SRS concentrates on a particular conceptual or historical problem and culminates in a substantial research paper. Most SRS sections involve a professional librarian in cooperation with a teaching faculty member.

Most undergraduates are required to complete a minimum of 36 term courses in all programs except engineering, which may require up to 40 courses (in two-degree programs, nine courses beyond the requirements for the professional degrees).

Undergraduate research


Undergraduate research at Union College had its origin in the first third of the 20th century, when chemistry professor Charles Hurd began involving students in his colloid chemistry investigations. Since then, undergraduate research has taken hold in all disciplines at the College, making this endeavor what has been termed "the linchpin" of the Union education. By the mid-1960s several disciplines at Union had established a senior research thesis requirement, and in 1978 the College began funding faculty-mentored student research in all disciplines. This was followed by the creation of funded summer research opportunities, again in all disciplines at the College, in 1986.
Examples of possible programs include summer undergraduate research, in which more than 50 students are supported each summer by the College on independent projects with a sponsoring faculty member; the National Conference on Undergraduate Research
National Conference on Undergraduate Research
The National Conference on Undergraduate Research was established in 1987 to promote undergraduate research in universities throughout the United States.-Host campuses:*1987 University of North Carolina at Asheville...

, to which Union sends one of the largest contingents to its national conference each year where the students present their work and interact with peers from colleges and universities across the country; general internships at such nearby sites as General Electric's Global Research Center
GE Global Research
GE Global Research is the research and development division of General Electric.GE Global Research's primary facility is located in Niskayuna, New York. The Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center is a satelite facility located in Van Buren, Michigan...

; and the Steinmetz Symposium, where more than 300 students take part in an annual celebration of student scholarly work.

Study Abroad Programs


Union College makes available a variety of opportunities for formal study outside the United States, the most popular of which are the Terms Abroad Programs. Currently, Terms Abroad are offered for residence and study on nearly every continent, some in cooperation with Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, located in Geneva, New York, are together a liberal arts college offering Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees. In athletics, however, the two schools compete with separate teams, known as the Hobart Statesmen and the...

. In the 2009–2010 school year, programs were offered in 22 countries or regions around the world.

Every year Union College also offers a variety of mini-terms (three-week programs during the winter break or at the beginning of the summer vacation). In the 2009–2010 school year, mini-terms were offered in 11 regions or countries (including the United States).

Every student in one of Union College’s engineering programs is required to have an international experience prior to graduating from the College through some form of Terms Abroad, International Internships, International Design Projects, or a Mini-Term Abroad. Engineering Terms Abroad are currently offered in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

.

Schaffer Library



Schaffer Library opened in 1961, at which time the College library was moved from the Nott Memorial
Nott Memorial
The Nott Memorial is an elaborate 16-sided stone-masonry building which serves as both architectural and physical centerpiece of Union College in Schenectady, New York...

 into expanded quarters as the keystone
Keystone (architecture)
A keystone is the wedge-shaped stone piece at the apex of a masonry vault or arch, which is the final piece placed during construction and locks all the stones into position, allowing the arch to bear weight. This makes a keystone very important structurally...

 of the arched Ramée colonnade
Colonnade
In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building....

 at the east end of the campus. The library currently makes available onsite about 750,000 books in print as well as electronic formats. The two largest historical, electronic collections are Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). EEBO contains digital facsimile pages of nearly every work printed in English from 1473–1700, while ECCO continues the project up to 1800. The Library’s print and rare book collections are especially strong in 18th
18th century in literature
See also: 18th century in poetry, 17th century in literature, other events of the 18th century, 19th century in literature, list of years in literature.Literature of the 18th century refers to world literature produced during the 18th century....

 and 19th century literature
19th century in literature
See also: 19th century in poetry, 18th century in literature, other events of the 19th century, 20th century in literature, list of years in literature....

, the Scientific Revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

, and the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

. Of particular note is the almost complete preservation of the College’s first library, acquired between 1795 and 1799.

Union College belongs to a number of regional and national consortia that improve access to materials not actually owned by the College. ConnectNY, for example, joins together a group of libraries in New York for mutual exchange of books and other materials within about 48 hours of request.

Perhaps the most spectacular possession of the Special Collections Department is a full set of John James Audubon
John James Audubon
John James Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats...

's Birds of America
Birds of America (book)
The Birds of America is a book by naturalist and painter John James Audubon, containing illustrations of a wide variety of birds of the United States. It was first published as a series of sections between 1827 and 1838, in Edinburgh and London....

, purchased by Eliphalet Nott directly from Audubon in 1844. The prints have been conserved and restored, and are on rotating display in the lobby of the library.

Student statistics and data


As of fall 2009, Union had a total of 2157 undergraduate students, with 520 freshmen (272 males and 248 females). Union received 4829 applications and admitted 1987, of which 520 enrolled, giving a 41% admittance rate and 26% enrollment rate. Some 59% of the student body is from outside New York. Union sees 80% of its undergraduates completing their degrees within four years, 85% doing so in five years, and 86% in six years. Noting the historical importance of Union with respect to fraternities, Union sees 32% of males joining fraternities and 31% of females joining sororities. The breakdown in the most popular majors shows that social sciences makes up 28%, engineering is 10%, English is 8%, psychology is 8%, biological/life sciences is 11%, liberal arts is 7%, and history is 6%.

Rankings


A variety of publications and organizations publish annual rankings of colleges and universities
College and university rankings
College and university rankings are lists of institutions in higher education, ordered by combinations of factors. In addition to entire institutions, specific programs, departments, and schools are ranked...

 based on a wide range of quantitative and non-quantitative criteria. These factors include such measures as class size, student-faculty ratio
Student-teacher ratio
Student-teacher ratio refers to the number of teachers in a school or university with respect to the number of students who attend the institution. For example, a student-teacher ratio of 10:1 indicates that there are 10 students for every one teacher...

, acceptance rate
College admissions in the United States
College admissions in the United States refers to the annual process of applying to institutions of higher education in the United States for undergraduate study. This usually takes place during the senior year of high school...

, alumni giving rate, graduation and retention rate, and peer assessment of academic quality. Not surprisingly, considerable controversy surrounds these efforts; the Annapolis Group of Liberal Arts Colleges
Annapolis Group
The Annapolis Group is an American organization that describes itself as "a nonprofit alliance of the nation’s leading independent liberal arts colleges." It represents approximately 130 liberal arts colleges in the United States...

, of which Union College is a member, has issued several recent statements
Criticism of college and university rankings (2007 United States)
Criticism of college and university rankings refers to a 2007 movement which developed among faculty and administrators in American Institutions of Higher Education. It follows previous movements in the U.S...

 about the methodology and results of these attempts at comparative ranking of institutions of higher education.

Probably the best known of these schemes is the one issued by U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

, which first began ranking colleges and universities in 1983. Variations on such a ranking system are also published annually by Forbes Magazine, The Washington Monthly
The Washington Monthly
The Washington Monthly is a bimonthly nonprofit magazine of United States politics and government that is based in Washington, D.C.The magazine's founder is Charles Peters, who started the magazine in 1969 and continues to write the "Tilting at Windmills" column in each issue. Paul Glastris, former...

, Princeton Review, and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni
American Council of Trustees and Alumni
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a non-profit organization whose stated mission is to "support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives a philosophically rich, high-quality...

. A rather different approach has been taken by the National Survey of Student Engagement
National Survey of Student Engagement
The National Survey of Student Engagement is a survey instrument used to gauge the level of student participation at universities and colleges in Canada and the United States as it relates to learning. The results of the survey help administrators and instructors to assess their students' student...

. Another means of comparison is the earning power of their graduates.

Fraternity and sorority life



The modern fraternity system at American colleges and universities is generally determined as beginning with the founding at Union College of Kappa Alpha
Kappa Alpha Society
The Kappa Alpha Society , founded in 1825, was the progenitor of the modern fraternity system in North America. It was the first of the fraternities which would eventually become known as the Union Triad...

 (1825), Sigma Phi
Sigma Phi
The Sigma Phi Society was founded on 4 March 1827, on the campus of Union College as a part of the Union Triad in Schenectady, New York.It is the second oldest Greek fraternal organization in the United States, and the oldest in continuous existence...

 (1827), and Delta Phi
Delta Phi
Delta Phi is a fraternity founded in 1827 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Founded as part of the Union Triad, along with the Kappa Alpha Society and Sigma Phi Society, Delta Phi was the third and last member of the Triad...

 (1827). Three other surviving national fraternities – Psi Upsilon
Psi Upsilon
Psi Upsilon is the fifth oldest college fraternity in the United States, founded at Union College in 1833. It has chapters at colleges and universities throughout North America. For most of its history, Psi Upsilon, like most social fraternities, limited its membership to men only...

 (1833), Chi Psi
Chi Psi
Chi Psi Fraternity is a fraternity and secret society consisting of 29 active chapters at American colleges and universities. It was founded on Thursday May 20, 1841, by 10 students at Union College with the idea of emphasizing the fraternal and social principles of a brotherhood...

 (1841), and Theta Delta Chi
Theta Delta Chi
Theta Delta Chi is a social fraternity that was founded in 1847 at Union College. While nicknames differ from institution to institution, the most common nicknames for the fraternity are Theta Delt, Thete, TDX, and TDC. Theta Delta Chi brothers refer to their local organization as Charges rather...

 (1847) – were founded at Union in the next two decades; on account of this fecundity, Union would in the twentieth century call itself the 'Mother of Fraternities
Mother of Fraternities
The Mother of Fraternities is a term commonly used to refer to two colleges: Union College and Miami University.Union College was the site in which three fraternities in the United States, Kappa Alpha Society, Sigma Phi, and Delta Phi, known collectively as the Union Triad, were founded between...

'. As with most historical generalizations, this one requires qualification. What does seem true is that Union's claim to priority is that the oldest secret Greek letter social fraternity with a continuing record was founded at the College. None of the early societies at Union or elsewhere can precisely challenge the claim of Union's Kappa Alpha, but the founders of the first fraternities at Union were obviously imitating or improving upon existing models. Miami University
Miami University
Miami University is a coeducational public research university located in Oxford, Ohio, United States. Founded in 1809, it is the 10th oldest public university in the United States and the second oldest university in Ohio, founded four years after Ohio University. In its 2012 edition, U.S...

 also refers to itself this way.

The eleven remaining fraternities at Union are members of the North-American Interfraternity Conference
North-American Interfraternity Conference
The North-American Interfraternity Conference , is an association of collegiate men's fraternities that was formally organized in 1910, although it began on November 27, 1909. The power of the organization rests in a House of Delegates where each member fraternity is represented by a single delegate...

, and as such come under the supervision of the Interfraternity Council (IFC). These eleven organizations are: Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi is a Greek-letter social college fraternity and the fourth-oldest continuous Greek-letter fraternity in the United States and Canada. Alpha Delta Phi was founded on October 29, 1832 by Samuel Eells at Hamilton College and includes former U.S. Presidents, Chief Justices of the U.S....

, Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Epsilon Pi , the Global Jewish college fraternity, has 155 active chapters in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Israel with a membership of over 9,000 undergraduates...

, Chi Psi
Chi Psi
Chi Psi Fraternity is a fraternity and secret society consisting of 29 active chapters at American colleges and universities. It was founded on Thursday May 20, 1841, by 10 students at Union College with the idea of emphasizing the fraternal and social principles of a brotherhood...

, Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon is a fraternity founded at Yale College in 1844 by 15 men of the sophomore class who had not been invited to join the two existing societies...

, Kappa Alpha
Kappa Alpha Society
The Kappa Alpha Society , founded in 1825, was the progenitor of the modern fraternity system in North America. It was the first of the fraternities which would eventually become known as the Union Triad...

, Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta , also known as Phi Delt, is an international fraternity founded at Miami University in 1848 and headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, and Sigma Chi form the Miami Triad. The fraternity has about 169 active chapters and colonies in over 43 U.S...

, Phi Gamma Delta
Phi Gamma Delta
The international fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta is a collegiate social fraternity with 120 chapters and 18 colonies across the United States and Canada. It was founded at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in 1848, and its headquarters are located in Lexington, Kentucky, USA...

, Sigma Chi
Sigma Chi
Sigma Chi is the largest and one of the oldest college Greek-letter secret and social fraternities in North America with 244 active chapters and more than . Sigma Chi was founded on June 28, 1855 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio when members split from Delta Kappa Epsilon...

, Sigma Phi
Sigma Phi
The Sigma Phi Society was founded on 4 March 1827, on the campus of Union College as a part of the Union Triad in Schenectady, New York.It is the second oldest Greek fraternal organization in the United States, and the oldest in continuous existence...

, Theta Delta Chi
Theta Delta Chi
Theta Delta Chi is a social fraternity that was founded in 1847 at Union College. While nicknames differ from institution to institution, the most common nicknames for the fraternity are Theta Delt, Thete, TDX, and TDC. Theta Delta Chi brothers refer to their local organization as Charges rather...

, and Zeta Beta Tau
Zeta Beta Tau
Zeta Beta Tau was founded in 1898 as the nation's first Jewish fraternity, although it is no longer sectarian. Today the merged Zeta Beta Tau Brotherhood is one of the largest, numbering over 140,000 initiated Brothers, and over 90 chapter locations.-Founding:The Zeta Beta Tau fraternity was...

. The College Panhellenic Council (CPC) is the governing body for member sororities, of which the National Panhellenic Council (NPC) is the parent organization. There are three CPC sororities at Union: Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta , also known as Tri Delta, is an international sorority founded on November 27, 1888, the eve of Thanksgiving Day. With over 200,000 initiates, Tri Delta is one of the world's largest NPC sororities.-History:...

, Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta is an international sorority that was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. The term "sorority," meaning sisterhood, was coined for Gamma Phi Beta by Dr. Frank Smalley, a professor at Syracuse University.The four founders are Helen M. Dodge,...

, and Sigma Delta Tau
Sigma Delta Tau
Sigma Delta Tau is a national sorority and member of the National Panhellenic Conference, was founded March 25, 1917 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The original name, Sigma Delta Phi, was changed after the women discovered a sorority with the same name already existed...

. The Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) is the governing body for organizations under the supervision of the National Pan-Hellenic Council
National Pan-Hellenic Council
The National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the "Divine Nine"...

 (NPHC), National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations
The National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations is an umbrella council for 19 Latino Greek Letter Organizations established in 1998...

 (NALFO), or for any local organizations that fall under the category. These organizations are Alpha Delta Lambda, Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha is the first Inter-Collegiate Black Greek Letter fraternity. It was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Its founders are known as the "Seven Jewels". Alpha Phi Alpha developed a model that was used by the many Black Greek Letter Organizations ...

, Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Iota Alpha , established December 26, 1931, is the oldest Latino fraternity still in existence, and works to motivate people, develop leaders, and create innovative ways to unite the Latino community. The organization has roots that stem back to the late 19th century to the first Latino...

, Iota Phi Theta, Lambda Pi Chi
Lambda Pi Chi
Lambda Pi Chi Sorority is a U.S.-based Latina based Greek letter intercollegiate sorority founded on April 16, 1988 at Cornell University...

, and Omega Phi Beta
Omega Phi Beta
Omega Phi Beta sorority was founded on March 15, 1989 at the State University of New York in Albany, New York. It was founded by seventeen women of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds...

.

Minerva system



Before 2004, in an effort to provide an alternative social environment to that offered by the Greek organizations, the Union College administration began recovering occupancy of the independent fraternity houses. This initiative was, and remains, a controversial step by the College. A non-residential "house system" was created and funded, establishing seven buildings (some part of North and South Colleges and some independent structures) as places to serve as intellectual, social, and cultural centers for resident as well as non-resident members. All incoming students are randomly assigned to one of the seven Minerva Houses. Every Minerva has its own student-run governing council, elected annually by their fellow house members, and chaired by a faculty and student representative. An Office of Minerva Programs was created to coordinate and supervise Minerva activities. The seven Minerva Houses are Breazzano, Golub, Messa, Wold, Green, Beuth, Sorum.

Theme Houses


Theme houses at Union offer students who share a particular interest to live together in one of Union's apartment-style houses. All of the theme houses are intended to contribute socially or culturally to the Union community. The theme houses are advised by a member of Residential Life and all report to the Theme House Consortium, which oversees funding for programs and house projects. Each house is led by Theme House Managers, who represent their respective house on the Theme House Consortium. Overall, the theme houses are primarily self-governing with respect to leadership and housing placements.

The Theme Houses consist of the ARTS House (Association of Ridiculously Talented Students), Bronner House (with a theme of multiculturalism), Culinary House, Dickens House (with a theme of literature), Iris House (for the LGBTQ community), Language House (with a theme of Russian and German Cultures), Music Culture House, Ozone House (with a theme of sustainable living), Religious Diversity House, Safe House (with a theme of sexual assault awareness), The Symposium, Thurston House (with a theme based on East Asian interests), and Wells House (with a community service theme).

Arts and culture



After the Nott Memorial was restored and renovated in the early 1990s, the building became the home of the Mandeville Gallery. Located on the second floor, the Mandeville Gallery is an exhibition space presenting art, science, and history exhibitions throughout the year. The gallery is dedicated to exhibiting contemporary artists, to presenting college, regional, national, and international history, and to exploring the links between the arts and sciences. The Wikoff Student Gallery, also in the Nott Memorial, is dedicated to showing onging work by students.

The College owns some 2,500 works of art and artifacts, most of which are available for use by faculty and students in support of teaching and research.

The Department of Music sponsors lectures, performances, recitals, and workshops by visiting artists at numerous campus venues, including the Taylor Music Center and Memorial Chapel. Union College jazz, choral and orchestral groups, a taiko ensemble, and three student a capella groups perform regularly. The College’s nationally recognized chamber music series, free to the Union community, offers world-renowned musicians in concert in acoustically superb Memorial Chapel.

The Department of Theater and Dance offers several major theatrical productions as well as staged readings, student performances, guest appearances, and other shows throughout the school year.

Athletics


Union offers an extensive program of intercollegiate sports
College athletics
College athletics refers primarily to sports and athletic competition organized and funded by institutions of tertiary education . In the United States, college athletics is a two-tiered system. The first tier includes the sports that are sanctioned by one of the collegiate sport governing bodies...

, intramural sports
Intramural sports
Intramural sports or intramurals are recreational sports organized within a set geographic area. The term derives from the Latin words intra muros meaning "within walls", and was used to indicate sports matches and contests that took place among teams from "within the walls" of an ancient city...

, club, and recreational sports, along with several wellness programs. The College insists that athletics be kept in harmony with the essential educational purpose of Union. Its athletes, like those engaged in all extracurricular activities, must function effectively as students.

Intercollegiate competition is offered in 25 sports; for men, in baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

, basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, crew
Rowing (sport)
Rowing is a sport in which athletes race against each other on rivers, on lakes or on the ocean, depending upon the type of race and the discipline. The boats are propelled by the reaction forces on the oar blades as they are pushed against the water...

, cross-country
Cross country running
Cross country running is a sport in which people run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road...

, football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

, ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

, lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

, soccer, swimming
Swimming (sport)
Swimming is a sport governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation .-History: Competitive swimming in Europe began around 1800 BCE, mostly in the form of the freestyle. In 1873 Steve Bowyer introduced the trudgen to Western swimming competitions, after copying the front crawl used by Native...

, tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, and indoor and outdoor track; and for women, in basketball, crew, cross-country, field hockey
Field hockey
Field Hockey, or Hockey, is a team sport in which a team of players attempts to score goals by hitting, pushing or flicking a ball into an opposing team's goal using sticks...

, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball
Softball
Softball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of 10 to 14 players. It is a direct descendant of baseball although there are some key differences: softballs are larger than baseballs, and the pitches are thrown underhand rather than overhand...

, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track, and volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

. Formerly a founding member of NESCAC, Union today participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

 (NCAA), the Liberty League
Liberty League
The Liberty League is an intercollegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA’s Division III. Originally founded in 1995 as the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association, was renamed during the summer of 2004 to the current name...

, ECAC Hockey and the Eastern College Athletic Conference
Eastern College Athletic Conference
The Eastern College Athletic Conference is a college athletic conference comprising schools that compete in 21 sports . It has 317 member institutions in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, ranging in location from Maine to North Carolina and west to Illinois...

 (ECAC). Men’s and women’s ice hockey compete at the NCAA Division I level; all other sports compete at the NCAA Division III level.

All club sports are administered through the student activities office. The most active and popular clubs are baseball, bowling
Bowling
Bowling Bowling Bowling (1375–1425; late Middle English bowle, variant of boule Bowling (1375–1425; late Middle English bowle, variant of boule...

, fencing
Fencing
Fencing, which is also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons.Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games...

, golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

, ice hockey, karate
Karate
is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed from indigenous fighting methods called and Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. Grappling, locks,...

, rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

, skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

, and volleyball. An extensive intramural program is offered in a wide range of sports along with noncredit physical education classes as part of the wellness program.

Facilities include the Frank L. Messa Rink at the Achilles Center
Achilles Rink
The Frank L. Messa Rink at Achilles Center is a 2,225-seat multi-purpose arena in Schenectady, New York. It is home to the Union College Dutchmen ice hockey and Dutchwomen ice hockey teams, members of the ECAC Hockey League. In 2004, it was renovated and renamed Frank L. Messa Rink at Achilles...

, the David Breazzano Fitness Center, the Travis J. Clark Strength Training Facility, the David A. Viniar
David Viniar
David A. Viniar has been Executive V.P. and CFO at Goldman Sachs since 1999. He is Cuban-American with both of his parents being born in Cuba.-Biography:...

 Athletic Center, and Frank Bailey Field
Frank Bailey (financier)
Frank Bailey was a Brooklyn-based financier and philanthropist. He was married to Marie Louise Eastman. They maintained a city residence in Brooklyn, and a country residences in Locust Valley , which they purchased in 1911 and jokingly named 'Munnysunk'...

.

Union has hosted the two longest games in NCAA Mens Hockey History, losing both by identical 3-2 scores:

The longest game in NCAA hockey history was played on March 12, 2010. Quinnipiac University defeated Union College, 3-2, in the ECAC Hockey League Quarter-Finals after 90:22 of overtime. Greg Holt scored the winning goal just after 1:00 AM local time.

The 2nd longest game in NCAA hockey history was played on March 5, 2006. Yale University defeated Union College, 3-2, in the ECAC Hockey League first-round playoff game after 81:35 of overtime. David Meckler
David Meckler
David Meckler is an American professional ice hockey player who is currently playing for the Manchester Monarchs in the American Hockey League...

 scored the winning goal with Yale shorthanded.[4]

Alumni





Since 1797, the year of the first graduation, Union alumni have distinguished themselves in fields such as law, medicine, ministry, botany, geology, engineering, local, state, and federal government, literature and poetry, photography, military service, education, journalism, and architecture.

Among Union’s 19th-century graduates were important figures in American secondary and post-secondary education. These included Gideon Hawley
Gideon Hawley
Gideon Hawley was a missionary to the Iroquois Indians in Massachusetts and on the Susquehanna River in New York.-Biography:He was born in the Stratfield section of Stratford, now Bridgeport, Connecticut, in New England on November 5, 1727. The son of Gideon Hawley and Hannah Bennett who was the...

 (1809), the first superintendent of public instruction in New York State; Francis Wayland
Francis Wayland
Francis Wayland , American Baptist educator and economist, was born in New York City, New York. He was president of Brown University and pastor of the First Baptist Church in America in Providence, Rhode Island. In Washington, D.C., Wayland Seminary was established in 1867, primarily to educate...

 (1813), president of Brown University
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

; Henry Philip Tappan
Henry Philip Tappan
Henry Philip Tappan was an American philosopher, educator and academic administrator. He is officially considered the first president of the University of Michigan....

 (1825), president of the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

; and Sheldon Jackson
Sheldon Jackson
Sheldon Jackson was a Presbyterian missionary who also became a political leader. During this career he travelled about 1 million miles and established over 100 missions and churches in the Western United States. He is best remembered for his extensive work during the final quarter of the 19th...

 (1855), who was the first superintendent of public instruction in Alaska and introduced the idea of domesticating reindeer as a food source for the native population.

Union has produced many graduates who had (and continue to have) distinguished careers in government and public service. John C. Spencer (1806), Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 and Secretary of the Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

; William H. Seward
William H. Seward
William Henry Seward, Sr. was the 12th Governor of New York, United States Senator and the United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson...

 (1820), Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 under Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

, Governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

, and architect of the Alaska Purchase
Alaska purchase
The Alaska Purchase was the acquisition of the Alaska territory by the United States from Russia in 1867 by a treaty ratified by the Senate. The purchase, made at the initiative of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward, gained of new United States territory...

 from Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

; Chester A. Arthur
Chester A. Arthur
Chester Alan Arthur was the 21st President of the United States . Becoming President after the assassination of President James A. Garfield, Arthur struggled to overcome suspicions of his beginnings as a politician from the New York City Republican machine, succeeding at that task by embracing...

 (1848), 21st President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

; and Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie is the 7th and current Governor of Hawaii. He was the Democratic U.S. Representative of the First Congressional District of Hawaii which comprises urban Honolulu. He served in Congress from 1986 to 1987 and from 1991 to 2010 when he resigned to successfully run for governor...

 (1959), Governor of Hawaii from Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, are some of the alumni in this sphere.

In 1845 Union established a course in civil engineering
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

. Many of the graduates in this course went on to work on significant construction projects. In fact, it has been claimed that, for a time, the “designers and builders of the country’s canals and railroads were overwhelmingly graduates of the military academy at West Point, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Stephen Van Rensselaer established the Rensselaer School on November 5, 1824 with a letter to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Blatchford, in which van Rensselaer asked Blatchford to serve as the first president. Within the letter he set down several orders of business. He appointed Amos Eaton as the school's...

, and Union College…”. Among these early engineering graduates were James Chatham Duane
James Chatham Duane
James Chatham Duane was an engineering officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War, being the Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac....

 (1844) and Jacob Hays Linville (1848). Solomon Deyo (1870) was the engineer in charge of constructing the first New York City subway system
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

.

A number of alumni have made meaningful contributions to arts and letters: Joel T. Headley
Joel T. Headley
Joel Tyler Headley was an American clergyman, historian, Author, newspaper editor and politician who served as Secretary of State of New York.-Life:...

 (1839), author of numerous books about the Adirondack Mountains
Adirondack Mountains
The Adirondack Mountains are a mountain range located in the northeastern part of New York, that runs through Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Saint Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties....

 and early American history; William James Stillman
William James Stillman
William James Stillman , United States was an American painter, journalist, and photographer.-Biography:Stillman was born in Schenectady, New York in 1828. His parents were Seventh Day Baptists, and his early religious training influenced him all through his life...

 (1848), photographer and author; Fitz Hugh Ludlow
Fitz Hugh Ludlow
Fitz Hugh Ludlow, sometimes seen as “Fitzhugh Ludlow,” was an American author, journalist, and explorer; best-known for his autobiographical book The Hasheesh Eater ....

 (1856), author of The Hashish Eater; Andrea Barrett
Andrea Barrett
Andrea Barrett is an American novelist, and short story writer. Her Ship Fever collection of novella and short stories won the National Book Award in 1996...

 (1974), winner of the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 (for Ship Fever) and the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 for works of fiction; and David Markson
David Markson
David Markson was an American novelist, born David Merrill Markson in Albany, New York. He is the author of several postmodern novels, including Springer's Progress, Wittgenstein's Mistress, and Reader's Block...

 (1950), author of titles such as The Ballad of Dingus Magee
Dirty Dingus Magee
Dirty Dingus Magee is a comic 1970 anti-western film starring Frank Sinatra as the title outlaw and George Kennedy as a sheriff out to capture him...

.

Other notable Union alumni include: Dr. Baruch Samuel Blumberg
Baruch Samuel Blumberg
Baruch Samuel "Barry" Blumberg was an American doctor and co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine , and the President of the American Philosophical Society from 2005 until his death.Blumberg received the Nobel Prize for "discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin...

 (1946), winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded once a year for outstanding discoveries in the field of life science and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, in his will...

; Henry Wager Halleck
Henry Wager Halleck
Henry Wager Halleck was a United States Army officer, scholar, and lawyer. A noted expert in military studies, he was known by a nickname that became derogatory, "Old Brains." He was an important participant in the admission of California as a state and became a successful lawyer and land developer...

 (1837), chief of staff for the Union Armies
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 during the Civil War; William F. Fox
William F. Fox
Col. William F. Fox was the Superintendent of Forests at the Adirondack Park in New York State.Fox was born in Ballston Spa, New York on January 11, 1840. He graduated from the Engineering Department of Union College in 1869. He fought in the American Civil War and wrote extensively about his war...

 (1869) Superintendent of Forests at the Adirondack Park in New York State; Howard Simons
Howard Simons
Howard Simons was the managing editor of the Washington Post at the time of the Watergate scandal, and later curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University....

 (1951), managing editor of The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

during the Watergate
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 era; Nikki Stone
Nikki Stone
Nicole 'Nikki' Stone is a former American Olympic skier....

 (1995), winner of a gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics
1998 Winter Olympics
The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Seventy-two nations and 2,176 participans contested in seven sports and 72 events at 15 venues. The games saw the introduction of Women's ice...

 for aerial skiing; and Armand V. Feigenbaum
Armand V. Feigenbaum
Armand Vallin Feigenbaum is an American quality control expert and businessman. He devised the concept of Total Quality Control, later known as Total Quality Management ....

 (1942), American businessman and developer of the concept of Total Quality Management
Total Quality Management
Total quality management or TQM is an integrative philosophy of management for continuously improving the quality of products and processes....

 (TQM).

See also


  • List of colleges and universities in New York
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Schenectady County, New York
  • Union College Men's Glee Club
    Union College Men's Glee Club
    In 1869, several undergraduate men at Union College formed the College Musical Association, which represented every known musical endeavor at Union. Enduring many obstacles to its existence during its first quarter century, in 1894 the college administration elected to actively support the Musical...



General


Student


Research


History