A bold new strategic plan, a rocketing $40 million fundraising campaign, continuing campus and curricular renewal, and record applications for admission and living on campus showed Oswego in 2014 to be a robust institution primed to thrive.
Two huge endeavors fundamental to our college’s mission and future marked milestones in 2013-14. First, the campus community drafted the strategic plan that will chart the institution’s course over the coming years in the evolving enterprise that is higher education. Titled “Tomorrow,” the plan ensures that SUNY Oswego will remain relevant and worth students’ investment well into the future. It outlines a data-informed structure for decision-making and provides the framework for all that we do. The plan is organized around five impacts that are mirrored in the sections of this report.
Second, our ongoing comprehensive fundraising campaign “With Passion and Purpose” saw record generosity. Midway through the five-year campaign, Oswego received the largest private donation in our 153-year history: a $7.5 million estate gift to establish the Lorraine and Nunzio Marano Endowment Fund. The gift will primarily furnish scholarships for students with financial need, especially students who are first in their families to attend college. SUNY and college leaders formally recognized the late donors by naming the Campus Center in their honor.
This magnanimous gift was another indication of the confidence that supporters of our college have in the stewardship of Oswego’s diverse resources and their respect for the primacy we give to the Oswego student experience. Donors know their gifts to Oswego will go far: The rate of return for Oswego’s invested endowment funds significantly outpaces the higher education industry’s average.
Source: National Association of College and University Business Officers survey preliminary results, fiscal year ending June 30, 2014
Funding over and above students’ tuition and state support is critical to the quality of the education that Oswego provides. In addition to philanthropic support, the college counts on faculty and staff to compete for external funds to underwrite innovative projects — from the research professors undertake with students to public service endeavors to pilot initiatives to improve education. In 2013-14, our college community received 74 grants for such sponsored programs, totaling $6.4 million.
The progressive renewal of our campus infrastructure and learning facilities is now into its second decade, thanks to New York’s succession of five-year capital construction plans. Park Hall reopened as a new home for the School of Education early in 2014. Park, the college’s second-oldest building, first opened in 1932, two years after Franklin Delano Roosevelt laid its cornerstone. Its recent two-year $17.5 million modernization included a soaring new entrance to the School of Education and a connection via Wilber Hall to the $118 million Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation, which opened the previous summer.
The two projects constituted vast upgrades in academic facilities for education and science students and new opportunities for them to collaborate. “The changes are absolutely amazing when I think about all the possibilities,” said Pam Michel, interim dean of education.
Adjacent to Park, Sheldon Hall celebrated its centennial in 2013 with completion of an external refurbishment that won an award in 2014. The American Institute of Architects New York State recognized the project with its top design award for historic preservation. Work had involved everything from replacing the cupola’s four long-missing clocks and granite steps to installing a new copper roof and special-order replicas of the historic windows.
As new and renovated buildings are unveiled, worn ones go offline for their turn at renewal. When Park opened, its School of Education partner Wilber Hall emptied for a top-to-bottom makeover that will include new high-tech classrooms.
Tyler Hall, home of our fine and performing arts programs, closed for renovations at the end of the spring 2014 semester. It is scheduled to reopen in 2016 after the first phase of its planned rejuvenation. Phase 1, pegged at $22.7 million, will provide a modernized Waterman Theatre, a two-story music rehearsal and recital hall, new entrances, a larger art gallery, a recording studio, and a wide, welcoming lobby.
“Receiving a gift of this magnitude signifies to the entire campus that we are making a difference, that our work is worthy of such an investment.” — Faculty Assembly Chair Joan Carroll
Park Hall reopened with a new entrance for the School of Education in 2014 while Wilber Hall, attached to Park, closed for renovations to complete the school’s new home.
Campus residence halls were home to a record number of students: 4,420 in all.
The external renovation of the college’s oldest edifice, Sheldon Hall, won an architectural award in 2014.
Faculty are continually updating courses and developing new programs of study to align with students’ and society’s needs and priorities. A notable addition in 2014 was a new minor in live event design. Created by theater faculty, it is applicable to careers outside the theater, such as mounting concerts, political rallies, broadcasts, museum exhibitions, trade shows and special events of many kinds.
As part of our commitment to preparing students to compete in a global society, faculty have continued to grow the number of courses that link online to counterparts abroad through our participation in SUNY’s Collaborative Online International Learning program. Oswego classes in 2013-14 linked online to universities in Russia, Sweden, India, Taiwan, Costa Rica and other countries. The COIL program expands the possibilities for international experience to students who may not be able to travel overseas.
Dynamic and diverse educational offerings such as these, conceived by highly qualified faculty and taught with rigor, are the hallmark of an Oswego education and the foundation of SUNY Oswego’s capacity to thrive. They help explain why students more than ever have demonstrated their faith in our college’s integrity: Oswego enjoyed the highest number of first-year applicants in over 40 years in 2014. And they are among the reasons for our strong reputation in our nation’s higher education landscape.
No. 14 top public regional colleges in the North — U.S. News & World Report
Top 10 master’s-level colleges in the nation for study-abroad enrollments — Institute of International Education
One of 75 ‘Best Value’ public colleges in the nation — Princeton Review/USA Today
No. 95 among 700 master’s-level colleges in the nation for contributing to the public good — Washington Monthly