Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Seal image © Alfred University
Alfred University (Alfred) is a small university in the Town of Alfred in western New York State, USA, an hour south of Rochester and two hours southeast of Buffalo. Alfred has an undergraduate population of around 2,000, and approximately 400 graduate students.
On April 14, 2005, the University announced it had received a gift of $35 million from alumnus Marlin Miller '54, and his wife Ginger, in support of arts education. The gift is the largest ever in AUís history, and may be one of the largest endowment gifts made to a U.S. institution to support arts education. $10 million is earmarked for a new theatre at the Miller Performing Arts Center, previously funded by the Millers, and $25 million will go towards endowment.
History of Alfred
Alfred was founded in 1836 as the Select School by Seventh-Day Baptists as a non-sectarian institution. Unusually for the time, the school was co-educational. It was also racially integrated, and enrolled its first African-American student and two Native American students in the 1850s, becoming the second college in the nation to do so.
The origin of the name "Alfred" is uncertain. Residents of the town and students at the two schools believe that the town received its name in honor of Alfred the Great, king of the Saxons, although the first documented occurrence of this connection was in 1881, 73 years after the first record of the name being used. State records which could verify the connection between the Saxon king and the university were lost in a fire in 1911. Regardless of whether the connection is historically accurate, Alfred University has embraced King Alfred as a symbol of the school's values, and a statue of the king stands in the center of one of the campus quads.
Colleges and Schools
Alfred is both a private and public university, with one of the university's constituent colleges affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY). This SUNY-affiliated college, the New York State College of Ceramics (NYSCC), thereby receives state funding. (It is referred to as a statutory college of the SUNY system.) Both the private colleges and the SUNY-affiliated NYSCC share faculty and resources, but tuition varies between the private colleges and the NYSCC, particularly for residents of New York State.
In 2003, Alfred University and Alfred State College entered into merger talks that were eventually abandoned in the face of stiff opposition from students, faculty, and alumni, many of whom viewed the missions of the two insitutions as largely incongruous.
Private Colleges and Schools
- The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- The College of Business
- The School of Engineering
- The Graduate School
Alfred is well-known for its ceramic art and ceramic engineering programs, and has a strong astronomy program due in part to the presence on campus of the 7-telescope Stull Observatory.
There are two libraries on Alfred's campus, the Herrick Memorial Library, which primarily serves the private colleges, and the Scholes Library, which primarily serves the New York State College of Ceramics. The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art has a collection of 8,000 ceramic objects, including both ancient and modern ceramic art and craft.
Alumni and Faculty
Notable alumni include librarian Melvil Dewey, who attended in 1870, actor Robert Klein, and authors Peter Jenkins, whose book "A Walk Across America" begins in Alfred, and Robert Littell , who has written several spy novels.
In business: Robert H. Benmosche '66, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company; Peter Cuneo '67, Chairman of Cuneo and Co., and Marvel Enterprises, Inc; Jeffery S. Maurer '69, CEO, Lehman Brothers Trust Company; Robert R. McComsey '66, Founding Shareholder, Neuberger Berman, LLC; Joel P. Moskowitz '61, President & Chairman of the Board, Ceradyne, Inc.; Arthur L. Powell '43, President of Kravco , Inc.
Notable faculty include Ben Howard , Ph.D., noted poet, and Joe Scheer , artist and printmaker.
The school's mascot is the Saxon, a knight in shining armor. Since the year 871 is when King Alfred the Great succeeded his brother, Ethelred I as King of Wessex and Mercia (see Alfred the Great's childhood), the phone exchange of Alfred University is 871 (i.e., all Alfred U numbers take the form 1-607-871-xxxx).
Hot Dog Day is held in early April of each year since 1972 at Alfred to raise money for local charities and community-based civic organizations.
Alfred's carillon can often be heard while on campus. The bells of the carillon, purchased in 1937 from Antwerp, were thought to be the oldest bells in the western hemisphere. Research later (2004) showed that the bells were of a more recent vintage, and that Alfred had been the victim of a fraud. On the brighter side, the non-historic nature of the bells allows the university to replace those which have a poor quality tone. Concerts continue four times a week when school is in session, and during the summer months at least once a week.
Greek Social Organizations at Alfred
Fraternities and sororities were established at Alfred for nearly 100 years prior to 2002, when they were banned from campus, partially in response to the death of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity member Benjamin Klein .
Prior to Klein's death, in 1978, student Chuck Stenzel died in a hazing-related incident at Alfred's Klan Alpine fraternity. After his death Stenzel's mother, Eileen Stevens , created a lobbying organization to increase awareness of hazing and promote anti-hazing laws, as documented in Hank Nuwer 's book "Broken Pledges" and a later TV movie of the same name (in which Alfred was not named for legal reasons). Stevens later served as an advisor to Alfred on hazing-related issues, and received an honorary doctorate from the school in 1999.
During the summer of 2002, Greek social organizations were banned from the campus after an in-depth analysis of the Greek system by and eight-member task force appointed by the Trustees. More than 50% of the task force were themselves members of a fraternity or sorority while in college, and 82% of the Board of Trustees are Alfred University alumni.
- Alfred University homepage
- Gay Alfred Online
- Alfred Daily Jolt Student Life online
- The Stull Observatory
- Histories and Chronologies of Alfred
- Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art
- In Memory of Chuck Stenzel
- Press Release - Alfred University trustees vote to eliminate fraternities and sororities
- An Alumni Website of sorts...
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