SUNY Fredonia: Stem-winding Power Results in Cultural, Economic Energy

The State University of New York is the largest public university in the United States and one of the largest in the world. It has grown to include sixty-four academic institutions. It is indeed, culturally and economically, a powerful source of academic and economic power. The SUNY Fredonia is a vital component of the State University and because of its institutional quality and uniqueness; it is a prime-mover of cultural and economic energy. "Fredonia State," to which it is sometimes referred, is the focus of today's column.

SUNY Fredonia has been in existence for 180 years and still going strong. It is recognized as an educational institution of stature and the facts justify that statement. For example, the SAT scores of this year's freshmen class is at the highest level ever. Further, the university is recognized for its innovative "Fredonia in 4" promise, for its premier academic programs, its nationally recognized General College Program, and its uniquely creative Honors Program. And recently, it has been headlined for its emerging High Tech Incubator revitalization project. Along with other noted cultural and academic innovations and "recognitions" the university, because of its community centrality, adds immensely to the economic vibrancy of the entire region.

The State University of New York at Fredonia had its beginning as the Fredonia Academy in 1826 with an enrollment of fifteen students. Today, it has an enrollment of 5500 students and nearly 1000 employees. Through the years of its ongoing history, approximately 41,000 students graduated from Fredonia State. Interestingly, it can be said that today the sun is always shinning on a Fredonia Graduate somewhere in the world.

SUNY Fredonia is a treasure of an investment, academically and economically. Its impact culturally and financially is felt many times over. The SU Fredonia was ranked 7th in the entire nation for "4-year graduation rates " among public universities. It is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of America's best comprehensive colleges. Further, it is recognized by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine in top 100 list of the "best values" in public universities in the United States today. And the facts speak for them self. Point in fact, Fredonia State has one of the highest student retention and graduation rates in the nation. Indeed, that speaks directly of the quality of its student body and the quality of instruction and the delivery of academic and institutional services

The SU Fredonia is a multipurpose institution with its seventy-nine undergraduate programs offering a variety of majors in the arts, humanities, and the natural and social sciences, as well as highly recognized professional programs in a host of areas. Further, at the graduate level, there are 13 degree programs, as well as certificate and certification programs are offered. Our research in preparation for this column reveals that many of the undergraduate and graduate programs at SUNY Fredonia have achieved the highest level of national and professional appropriate accreditation. And to obtain that level of accreditation is highly significant and no simple achievement to obtain.

Along with providing a driving force of cultural activity and stimulation, the College serves as a driving force economically. SUNY Fredonia generates $208 million in economic activity across Chautauqua County and neighboring areas. Clearly, the University affects the economic well being of its neighbors, from drawing new consumers to the region in the form of students and visitors, to being the largest employer in the area and serving as a major consumer of goods and services. The University generates hundreds of jobs by directly employing workers and indirectly through construction, purchasing, and through the economic multiplier effect. Also, faculty apply for and receive grant funding and, as a result, obtain millions of dollars of capital to develop and maintain University research based programs. In short, economic growth impact is generated in part from such factors as salaries, increase in population, through employment, and through the creation of new businesses to serve the campus population. In fact, as an example, $208 million in economic activity is generated in the area with 5500 students spending $26 million in the local communities. Point in fact, as one example, the Rockefeller Arts Center activities draw more than 100,000 off-campus visitors every year. In other words, the University has a magnetic pull of attraction for folks individually and collectively which enhances the local economy and contributes to maintaining a quality of life.

Through the years, academic success and institutional excellence has been the hallmark at Fredonia. The campus motto" "Where Success is a Tradition" is well founded and clearly demonstrated by hard working, imaginative and dedicated students, faculty, staff, and alumni and a supportive public. It is the people who make up the University's greatest resource.

The State University of New York at Fredonia, culturally and economically, truly is an engine of power. Beginning with the initial class of 15 in 1826 to a total of 41 thousand graduates including the class of 2006... the University has and continues to make a vital impact regionally and, in the long run, for ALL of society. Indeed, The University and success have become synonymous; truly, "Success has become a Tradition." And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.