The State University of New York at Fredonia is in the south western corner of the state’s public higher education system.
Founded as Fredonia Academy in 1826, and later Fredonia Normal School and Fredonia Teachers’ College, it conferred its first four-year degrees in 1940. A tragic fire in 1900 killed seven people and meant much of the university had to be rebuilt. It introduced master’s degrees soon after the end of the Second World War, and in 1948, it became part of the State University of New York, then one of 11 constituent colleges. It is now one of 13. The 1960s witnessed unprecedented growth, with student numbers trebling, investment rapidly increasing and those at SUNY Albany given more subjects to choose from. Another rapid growth spurt between 1996 and 2012 saw a boom in postgraduates, ethnic minority students and international students. Its music programmes gained fame in the 1880s, and the institution built its own music centre in 1941.
The university’s village of Fredonia is on Lake Erie, 45 miles along the coast from Buffalo, and 60 from Niagara Falls, the world-famous waterfalls on the American-Canadian border, a spectacular sight which millions of people flock to see every year. Erie is the fourth largest of the Great Lakes and a popular fishing destination.
Oscar-nominated actor Mary McDonnell, who is most famous for her roles in Independence Day, Battlestar Galactica and Donnie Darko, and Andrea Romano, a voice actor and director whose vast range of credits include Batman, Scooby-Doo, Justice League, Wonder Woman and Ben 10, both attended SUNY Fredonia.