Alfred University is a
private university Private universities (and private colleges) are usually not operated by governments, although many receive tax breaks, public student loans, and grant (money), grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to governmen ...
in Alfred, New York. It has an undergraduate population of around 2,000 and approximately 300 graduate students. The institution has five schools and colleges.


Alfred University was founded in 1836 as the Select School by Seventh Day Baptists as a non-sectarian institution. Unusual for the time, the school was co-educational. It later became racially integrated, and enrolled its first African-American student and two Native American students in the 1850s. 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
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 to describe the geophysical area during assignments by the state legislature. State records which might have verified 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 A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy), object, or wikt:relationship, relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages ...
of the school's educational values, and a statue of the king stands in the center of the campus quad. Alfred University has hosted guest lecturers, artists and musicians including Frederick Douglas,
Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champi ...
and Ghostface Killah. In April 2000, Alfred University received national attention when freshman, Eric Zuckerman, orchestrated a campus visit from then–First Lady,
Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947) is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated ...
, during her campaign for the United States Senate from New York. Alfred University, together with Corning Incorporated and the State of New York created the Ceramic Corridor, an incubator project designed to take advantage of the emerging ceramics industry and to create new jobs. This unique industrial development program is the only one in the United States concentrating on one single aspect of technology – high-tech ceramics – and it is the only major industrial development project centered in a
rural area File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and city, cities. The Health Resources and ...

rural area
in the U.S. File:Statue of King Alfred at Alfred University.jpg, 250px, The statue of King
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
stands at the center of AU's quad, and is often decorated by students. In this picture, he is wearing one of the purple shirts worn by student Orientation Guides (OGs) during the 2006 freshman orientation. Alfred University is not to be confused with the Alfred State College. Although autonomous, both institutions have their origins in the Alfred Select School, and were heavily shaped by Boothe C. Davis. In 1908 Davis petitioned the New York State Legislature to fund the New York State College of Agriculture at Alfred University. In 1941 Alfred State College became an autonomous junior college due to increased enrollment and increasing needs, which Alfred University could not accommodate, and in 1948 became a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Students of both schools still share a few Alfred peculiarities including: a physical education requirement for most programs, a short break in October dubbed "minibreak", sharing of clubs and organizations (excluding Greek lettered organizations), and cross-registration of classes not offered at the other institution. Extending to the 20th and 21st centuries, Alfred has continued its progressive history of defending equal rights for members of the community. In 1971, the village of Alfred where the university is located became only the fourth municipality in the U.S. to ban employment discrimination based on sexuality. In the mid-1990s, the university became one of the first to strip credit for ROTC programs, as part of a wider movement around protection for sexual orientation. However, students attending Alfred University are still free to receive an Army ROTC contract with full tuition paid and attend military science classes through St. Bonaventure University. Amidst the dissolution of the AU Greek System, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity chapter at Alfred University led an overwhelmingly successful effort to ban discrimination based on religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation in the constitution of the 210 chapter international fraternity in 2002. That action triggered several other national fraternities and sororities to follow suit. Alfred University's ranking by '' US News & World Report'' in its 2020 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities North, #38, while the university had an acceptance rate of 63% with the middle 50% of students admitted having an SAT score between 940 and 1180 or an ACT score between 20 and 27.

Mascot, events and culture

Alfred University's mascot is the Saxon Lil' Alf, a
knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some ...
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#Childhood, Alfred the Great's childhood), the telephone exchange of Alfred University is 871 (i.e., all AU phone numbers take the form 1-607-871-xxxx). Hot dog day, Hot Dog Day, one of the largest yearly gatherings in Alfred, was organized by Mark O'Meara and others and run by the fraternities and sororities at Alfred University from 1971 until the dissolution of Greek letter organizations. Since then the event has been organized and run by Alfred University and Alfred State College, alternating between each location every year. The event usually features live music, a soapbox derby, vendors, excessive drinking, and carnival games for local children. Alfred's Davis Memorial Carillon, erected in 1937 as a tribute to longtime president Boothe C. Davis, can occasionally be heard while on campus. The bells of the carillon, purchased 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 that have poor tonal quality. Besides the resident carilloneur, guest carilloneurs have in the past frequently visited and played during the summer. The Black Knight has been a part of Alfred University folklore for a long time. The relic was originally part of a parlor stove in a classroom in Kanakadea Hall. When the stove was discarded, the figure was claimed by the Class of 1908 as their mascot. They passed it on to the Class of 1910, thus causing a "war of possession" between the even and odd numbered classes. Many times over the years it disappeared and re-appeared on campus. After a particularly long time away it was returned in 1977 and placed in the University Archives. In 2005 it was transferred to a glass case in the Powell Campus Center along with a plaque describing its history. Many students had heard of the Black Knight during their freshmen orientation and were delighted to have him on display. However, after only a few months, the glass enclosure was destroyed in the middle of the night and the Black Knight stolen. Alfred University was mentioned on Saturday Night Live once in 1975 by host and Alfred University alumnus Robert Klein. When Klein hosted SNL again in 1977, he talked at length about Alfred University in his monologue.


Alfred is especially well known for its programs in ceramic art, ceramic engineering, glass engineering, and has a strong astronomy program due in part to the presence on campus of the 7-telescope Stull Observatory, which has one of the largest optical telescopes in New York (state), New York state. Asteroid 31113 Stull was named for physics professor John Stull, who helped establish the observatory in 1966. 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 Alfred Ceramic Art Museum has a collection of 8,000 ceramic objects, including both ancient and modern ceramic art and craft. The Bromley-Daggett Equestrian Center, located at the Maris Cuneo Equine Park, was constructed in 2005. It hosts equine classes, an intramural equestrian team, varsity and JV for both English riding, English and Western riding, Western disciplines, clinics, and horse shows. Stalls are available for boarding by university students. The facility has an indoor arena of 16000 ft² and lighted outdoor arenas of ; the entire property consists of of land. The Miller Performing Arts Center was dedicated in 1995.

Alumni Hall

Alfred University was once associated with the Seventh Day Baptist Church, and included a school of theology. Formerly the campus chapel, Alumni Hall (Alfred, New York), Alumni Hall is now used primarily to house the Admissions and Financial Aid Departments, and has a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The cathedral ceilings and tall windows are a well-preserved example of 19th-century American architecture in Alfred. In the 1990s, Alumni Hall was preserved through a restoration effort. Alfred University was once associated with the Seventh Day Baptist Church, and included a school of theology. While the religious connection no longer exists, the architecture of Alumni Hall reflects this heritage.

Colleges and schools

Alfred University offers over 60 majors and areas of concentration at its four colleges and schools. Alfred's four private colleges are The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The College of Professional Studies, The Inamori School of Engineering, and The Graduate School. The School of Business is part of The College of Professional Studies. The New York State College of Ceramics (NYSCC) consists of the School of Art and Design, with its own dean, and four state-supported materials programs cross-organized within Alfred University's School of Engineering. The College of Ceramics is functioning technically as a "holding entity" for the fiscal support of the state programs and the NYSCC mission. The unit head assists with budget preparation for the two aforementioned AU schools and the NYSCC-affiliated Scholes Library of Ceramics (part of the campuswide, unified AU library system), and acts in a liaison role to SUNY. The School of Art and Design, technically a sub-unit of the College of Ceramics but autonomously run with its own dean, is further subdivided into divisions. A visit to the school in 2009 led media historian Siegfried Zielinski to state that Alfred is "the center of alchemy for the 21st century." Alfred's School of Engineering (also autonomously run with its own dean) currently has four state-supported programs and two privately endowed programs.

Museums and galleries

Alfred University and The New York State College of Ceramics (NYSCC) are associated with five galleries: Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, The Cohen Center for the Arts Gallery, The Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, Robert C. Turner Gallery, and Institute for Electronic Art's (IEA) John Woods Studios. Other exhibition spaces for undergraduate and graduate students to show work include the Sculpture Dimensional Studies Exhibition Spaces (the Cube, the Box and the Cell Space), the Printmaking Critique Room, Flex Space, the New Deal, and Rhodes Room. Work from permanent collections are also on exhibition in the Saxon Inn and around campus in the offices of faculty.

The Robert C. Turner Gallery

Alfred University's student-run gallery, the Robert C. Turner Gallery was refurbished in 2011 during a building improvement project. The gallery was once a unique space that included a two and a half story wall. The gallery hosted undergraduate experimental shows with a loose criteria that encouraged experimentation. The gallery now has two floors; the main space and the catwalk in which also has the "black box" interactive space for expanded (electronic) media. This gallery space is has always been after internationally acclaimed artist and Alfred University alumnus, Robert Chapman Turner, Robert C. Turner. Turner was a professor of ceramic art at Alfred University with a sixty-year-long career in ceramics. Turner once said,

IEA John Wood Studios

NYSCC is host to the John Wood Studios of the Institute of Electronic Arts (IEA) within the School of Art and Design (SoAD), NYSCC which offers a residency program for up to two weeks for international artists.

Student life

Current student organizations

As of 2020, Alfred has over 80 student organizations and clubs. There are three main media organizations on campus; ''AUTV'', the ''Fiat Lux'' newspaper, and the WALF 89.7FM radio station. The student-run yearbook, the Kanakadea, ceased publication in 2014. Notable extracurricular clubs include the Student Activities Board, Forest People, and Art Force Five. AU has been granted chapters of a number of honor society, honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa Society, Phi Beta Kappa (the Alpha Gamma chapter of New York, granted in 2004), Phi Kappa Phi, and Alpha Lambda Delta; Alfred also has chapters of the service societies Alpha Phi Omega and Omicron Delta Kappa. Other honor societies include Alpha Iota Delta, Beta Gamma Sigma, Delta Mu Delta, Omicron Delta Epsilon, Pi Gamma Mu, Pi Mu Epsilon (the Alpha Iota chapter of New York, chartered in 2002), Pi Sigma Alpha, Sigma Tau Delta, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Sigma Iota, Psi Chi, Keramos, and the Financial Management Association.

Greek social organizations

Fraternities and sororities were established at Alfred University for nearly 100 years prior to 2002, when they were discontinued, partially in response to the death of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity member Benjamin Klein under suspicious circumstances and charges of gross negligence on behalf of the fraternity. Prior to Klein's death, in 1978 student Chuck Stenzel died in a hazing-related incident at Alfred's Klan Alpine fraternity. After Stenzel's death, his 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, all Fraternities and sororities, Greek social organizations lost recognition after an in-depth analysis of the Alfred University Greek system by an eight-member task force appointed by the Board of 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. At the time of closing in 2002, the Greek system at Alfred University included national and international fraternities Lambda Chi Alpha, since 1909, Sigma Alpha Mu, Kappa Sigma, Alpha Chi Rho, Delta Sigma Phi, and Zeta Beta Tau; as well as local fraternities Kappa Psi Upsilon, and Klan Alpine. The sororities included the national organization Delta Zeta; as well as local sororities Theta Theta Chi, Alpha Kappa Omicron, and Sigma Chi Nu. The overall Greek community made significant contributions to Alfred University, the village of Alfred, and the surrounding communities, such as annual food drives that raised more than of food each fall for the Hornell food bank. Many of the societies have highly active alumni associations, some of which gather at Alfred University reunions, or at independent functions. While Alfred University has banned fraternities and sororities, Alfred State College has not, and these organizations remain active within the village of Alfred.


Alfred teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's NCAA Division III, Division III, with the exception of alpine skiing which is governed by the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association, USCSA and the equestrian team which is governed by the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, IHSA. The Saxons are a member of the Empire 8, Empire 8 Athletic Conference (Empire 8). They compete in the following sports: alpine skiing, basketball, cross country, equestrian, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field, women's volleyball, and women's softball. On July 15, 2020, the Empire 8 Conference postponed all fall sports, but will provide conference championships in those sports in Spring 2021.


See also

* List of university art museums and galleries in New York State


* This article incorporates material from Statutory college.

External links

Official website

Official athletics website
{{authority control Alfred University, 1836 establishments in New York (state) Education in Rochester, New York Educational institutions established in 1836 Materials science institutes Universities and colleges in Allegany County, New York Private universities and colleges in New York (state)