75 Facts for 75 Years
This fall of 2021 marks 75 years of innovation and achievement at Utica College — with plenty of milestones, big and small, in between.
- Mid-1940s: Syracuse University finds itself overwhelmed with more than 35,000 post-war applications—most of them from veterans. University officials expand to branch colleges in Binghamton and Utica. But Utica needs physical space.
- 1946: Rev. James Gilkey and board members at Plymouth Congregational Church on Oneida Square in Utica offers use of Plymouth’s church house and classrooms for only the cost of utilities.
- Sept. 16, 1946: The Hotel Utica is the scene of the first community dinner, held by Syracuse University, for 500 invited guests to announce the college’s opening.
- Sept. 30, 1946: Utica College of Syracuse University holds its first convocation in the Plymouth Congregational Church auditorium.
Tuition at Utica College in 1946: $225 per academic semester.
- September 1947: At Fall Convocation, Dean Ralph Strebel reports UC enrollment is 1,500 students. There are 42 faculty members.
- November 1947: Utica College organizes an Athletic Council. Athletic Director Henry Varhely launches golf, baseball, basketball, and tennis teams.
- December 1947: The college drama group, the Gaslighters (above), presents the first UC play, Death Takes a Holiday, in the Village Theatre, New Hartford.
- 1949: Utica College transitions to four-year college.
- UC’s College Seal looks like this:
- 1950: The Annales yearbook begins with Professor of Public Relations Raymond Simon and Accounting Professor John Williams as advisors.
- Spring 1952: UC is among the first institutions in the country to invite senior citizens age 65 and over to attend UC classes at no cost.
- Fall 1957: UC Foundation begins first official fund-raising drive to support development of a new campus on Burrstone Road.
- 1961: Utica College marks its 15th anniversary by moving from Oneida Square to Burrstone Road.
- October 1962: The Ralph F. Strebel Student Center is dedicated. The center was completed in August 1962 at a cost of $1.5 million.
- October 1963: Groundbreaking for UC's first dormitory providing residence for 100 men and 103 women is held.
- May 1965: Isaac Gordon, father of a UC student, offers a gift of $200,000 to help complete the first floor of the Science Center. The Science Center is named Gordon Science Center in his honor.
- Fall 1966: UC begins club football. Dean of Students, James C. Doremus, named first coach.
October 1968: The Utica College Pub opens in Strebel. The drinking age is 18. Beer is sold at 20 cents per 8-ounce glass.
- May 1968: Utica College holds its first campus Commencement. SU Chancellor Dr. William P. Tolley is the speaker.
- May 1969: Students form the Utica College Black Student Union; today it remains one of the most visible and most active organizations on campus.
- May 1970: Utica College joins colleges and universities throughout the country when the College Council votes to cancel classes to demonstrate opposition to the Vietnam War and the massacre at Kent State University.
- 1971: UC enrollment tops 3,000 students for day and evening classes. The college has 115 faculty members.
May 1971: Utica College Veterans Association is founded by Ron White.
- November 1971: First performances by the UC Woodwind and Brass Ensembles formed by Dr. Louis Angelini. The two groups later merge to become UC Band.
- 1972: Coach Walter Jeff announces the formation of a UC swim team.
- November 1973: Students Dana Jacobson ’75 and Ed Naidamast ’75 set a college record for continuous radio broadcasting, with 55 ½ hours on the air.
- April 1973: the Asa Gray Biological Society, named for the famous medical doctor and botanist Asa Gray, is founded. The student-run organization was created to expand and enrich the educational experience for students interested in biology.
- September 1973: Dr. Carol Guardo becomes the first female academic dean in UC's 27-year history.
- April 1974: Utica College adopts no smoking policy for classrooms.
- February 1976: Occupational Therapy is reported the largest campus major with 191 students. PR/J is the second largest with 121 majors.
1978: Utica College applies for and receives its own accreditation.
- November 1979: Utica College acquires its first computer, a $130,000 Prime 550 unit.
- September 1980: UC announces that its athletics program will go NCAA Division I.
- March 1983: NCAA News names Utica College among the most improved basketball teams in Division I in the country. UC finishes the season with an 11-15 record.
- 1984: The Utica College Honors Program is established.
- Spring 1985: The Raymond Simon Institute for Public Relations is formed to enhance and support UC's communications and PR/J programs. Ray Simon retires.
- April 1988: Utica College signs bilateral agreement to allow exchange students and faculty from the University of L'Aquila in Italy.
- 1990: Apple Computer, together with a matching grant from the College, installs 20 MacIntosh Classic computers with three Image Writer printers and a laser printer for $20,000.
- December 1990: Now an annual holiday tradition, the first Kwanzaa Celebration is held at UC, sponsored by the Students of African Descent Alliance and the Black Student Union.
- 1993: Utica College and the Utica City School District launch The Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program (YSLPP), a multi-year program designed to motivate young students to stay in school, to earn a New York State Regents diploma, and to further their education beyond high school.
- 1995: UC receives its independent charter, thus achieving financial and legal independence.
- September 1998: Dr. Todd S. Hutton (above) becomes Utica College's eighth president, the first chosen by Utica rather than Syracuse University.
- Utica College’s colors are navy blue and orange. (That’s Pantone 289 and 166, respectively.)
- 1999: Utica College introduces its first graduate program, which confers the Utica College master’s degree. The College now offers 20 graduate programs.
- September 1999: Professor Emeritus Raymond Simon is chosen as one of the top 100 most influential people in public relations for the 20th century by "PRWEEK."
- November 1999: the United States Postal Service honors Utica College with its special G.I. Bill Postage Stamps. The College was selected for this honor because it has given thousands of World War II heroes a chance to follow a dream and receive a college education. Navy veterans Frank Scalise '51 and Edward Potrzeba Sr. '67 were also recognized.
2002: Students researchers discover a new bacteria, Pseudomonas Uticensis, in biology Professor Larry Aaronson’s laboratory.
- November 2002: UC's new mascot is named Trax the Pioneer Moose following an eight-week "Name the Moose Contest." The winning entry was submitted by Ric Hollins of Whitesboro, NY.
- April 2002: The American Scholastic Press Association selected Utica College's student-run weekly newspaper, The Tangerine, as "Best Overall" in its annual newspaper competition.
- October 2002: Longtime friend and benefactor Ruby "Bunny" DiIorio bequeathes $628,000 in her estate to the institution.
- October 2002: UC officially opens its newest residential facility, Tower Hall. President Todd S. Hutton and College trustees joined student representatives in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting in front of the building's main entrance.
- Fall 2003: Trax makes his debut on the Utica College campus.
- November 2003: U.S. Congressman Sherwood L. Boehlert and Utica College President Todd S. Hutton announced details of the $1.25 million in federal funding that Rep. Boehlert has secured for the College's science and technology center for the year of 2004. The $18 million project will provide more than 100,000 square-feet of new and renovated classroom and laboratory space.
- August 2005: UC opens Bell Hall, five-story residence building named after its antique bronze bell feature. It contains 113 living spaces for students mostly in single-occupancy, cluster-style rooms.
- September 2007: UC launches ‘Achieve: A New Dream, A New Era’ $25 million capital campaign.
- 2007: Construction is complete on F. Eugene Romano Hall, named in honor of one of the College's most generous benefactors. The academic facility provides approximately 23,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, and clinical space as well as modern technology for students studying physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing.
- 2008: UC launches first undergraduate programs to confer the Utica College baccalaureate degree.
- April 2009: Ribbon-cutting ceremony is held for new Economic Crime and Justice Studies Building. The 22,000-square foot, state-of-the-art structure has specialized laboratories and research facilities for cybersecurity, fraud prevention, criminal investigation, and more.
Utica College is one of seven U.S. colleges with the Pioneer mascot. Others include Sacred Heart University (CT), Smith College (MA), Marietta College (OH) and Wesleyan College (CT).
- 2014: Utica College expands accredited ABSN program to help meet the growing demand for nurses in Florida with a satellite location in St. Petersburg.
- September 2015: When a squirrel later identified as “Sparky” chewed through electrical work and caused a campus-wide power outage, UC’s annual Squirrel Day was born.
- September 2015: UC opens Cynkus Family Welcome Center, home to Admissions, named after generous benefactor Harry J. Cynkus '71.
- September 2015: President Todd S. Hutton announces Utica College's "Bold Move for Tomorrow" tuition reset, reducing the "sticker" tuition price by 42 percent (below).
- December 12, 2015: Utica College dedicates the Todd and Jen Hutton Sports and Recreation Center, the second-largest open-air dome of its kind in North America.
- September 2016: Laura Casamento is inaugurated as the first female president in Utica College’s history.
- Notable concerts hosted by Utica College’s Programming Board: Kanye West (2004), Luke Bryan (2011), Paramore (2007) and Bryson Tiller (2016) (below).
The font used in Utica College’s logo is Utopia Semi-Bold.
- September 2016: Utica College opens The Brvenik Center for Business Education in downtown Utica (below). The state-of-the-art facility for UC’s business programs is dedicated to Robert Brvenik ’77, a UC Trustee and major benefactor to the College.
- September 2018: Dedication ceremony held for Thurston Hall. The 15,000-square foot construction management facility is named in honor of lead donor Gary M. Thurston ’68, chairman and CEO of The Hayner Hoyt Corporation and graduate of UC’s construction management program. Many construction management alumni also helped fund the effort. An additional $700,000 was provided by Empire State Development (ESD) through the Regional Economic Development Council.
- 2018: UC’s launches another ABSN program site in Miramar, Florida, to address even further the state’s nursing shortage.
- September 2019: UC’s newest residence hall, Pioneer Village, is open for occupancy.
- November 2019: The Student Veterans Association and Student Contractors Association create and unveil a bronze monument and flagpole honoring veterans outside Strebel Student Center (below).
- October 2020: UC announces plans to establish The Institute for the Study of Integrative Healthcare, made possible through an anonymous multi-year gift commitment totaling $2.8 million, marking the largest endowment gift in the College’s history.
- Spring 2021: With funding provided by Fredericka “Fritzie” Paine, the College establishes the Karl Zimpel ‘75 Endowed Professorship in Cybersecurity, the second endowed professorship in Utica College’s history. The first was the Harold T. Clark Jr. '65 Professorship, established in 2005.
Sources: Pioneering Generations: The Utica College Story, 1946-1996 by John Behrens; Reflections: The Early Years of Utica College by Virgil C. Crisafulli
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