Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rockefeller & SUNY

Many people have played an important part in the development of public higher education in NY, including some figures from Brockport, like Malcolm MacVicar, who was active in the campaign to establish the state "Normal" or teacher training schools in the 1860s.

But when it comes to SUNY, which was established in 1948 when Thomas Dewey was governor, Nelson Rockefeller was truly a pivotal figure. Governor from 1959-1973, he invested enormous sums of money and political capitol into the building of a substantial system of public higher education for New York. For example, in 1959 Brockport, although expanded from earlier years, was still a fairly small school of perhaps a 1,000 or so students, mainly centered on Hartwell Hall, although a few new buildings, like Morgan, had been erected in the '50s.  When Rockefeller's time as governor ended in 1973 Brockport had a student body of 10,000 or more, the curriculum had expanded from that of a teacher's college to that of a comprehensive liberal arts school and the campus that we know today was largely finished.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ira Schwartz

Ira Schwartz is pictured here (R) with members of the Brockport Golden Eagle Band, practicing in Tower  Fine Arts in the 1970s. Schwartz was a popular teacher at Brockport and had a long and interesting career. As a young man he was leader of a Navy band in Europe during WWII.  He later received his doctorate and became a professor here at Brockport. He was a woodwind player, especially of clarinet and saxophone, but his great musical passion was for composing. He even co-wrote an opera about Martin Luther King, "Brother Martin and the Beloved Community."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Registration, or, Crushed in the Gymnasium

If you went to school here in years past you'll remember those mob scenes in the gymnasium as people went to register for classes. For the student of today, who knows only the convenience of online registration, it went something like this.

Twice a year, fall and spring, you went to the gymn to register. There would be many tables set up for representatives of the different departments and for the registration staff. Along with what was typically quite a crowd of other students, you milled about, searching for the departments you wanted, waiting in lines to get the right cards, so you could then search for the proper line to the registration table where, hopefully, all your paperwork would match up and you could register. Then, a deep sigh of relief you walked out, knowing however that next semester you'd need to do it all over again. Gee, kids have it easy nowadays ;-)