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Alfred University opens its 174th academic year
8/19/09

Alfred University began its 174th year of operation Tuesday “more highly regarded and more widely recognized in the world of higher education” than at any other time in its history, said President Charles M. Edmondson.

The “collective efforts” of the University’s more than 600 employees, some of whom have served the University for 20 or 30 years, are “largely responsible” for that achievement.


Edmondson noted that not only is the University ranked among the top 15 master’s level colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report’s Guide to Best Colleges, but each year it is also cited as number one or number two in the North for “great schools at a great price.”

Affirmation of Alfred University’s quality for the price came this summer, Edmondson noted, when the Fiske Guide to Colleges, 2010 edition, chose it as a “best buy.” Only 44 of the more than 4,200 colleges and universities in the country were singled out for that distinction. “The Fiske Guide rated the top 1 percent for quality and value, and AU made the cut,” said Edmondson.

The University has touted the excellence of its programs in art & design, and ceramic engineering, both offered through the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, but now it can brag about the excellence of all its programs, said Edmondson, who is beginning his 10th year as AU’s 13th president.

Achieving that “is the product of years of hard work on the part of everyone on campus.”

There are challenges ahead, he admitted. Some come from the economy; some may arise from the projected budget deficit in New York State; and some come from the demographics of the Northeast, which will have declining populations of college-age children for at least the next five years.

The challenges are not for private colleges and universities alone, he noted. “Thirty-five of the 50 state systems expect to cut spending by 12 percent or more this year,” he said.

First-year students began arriving on the Alfred University campus this morning. After they settle into their residence halls, they begin a four-day orientation, designed to allow them to meet each other and become familiar with the campus.

Laurie McFadden, librarian at Herrick Memorial Library and University archivist, will be the speaker for the annual Opening Convocation, scheduled for 11:20 a.m. Thursday in McLane Center. McFadden’s topic is “A Historical Exploration of the Alfred Spirit and Community.”

Her talk, she said, “will give historical background on the University and the town of Alfred through stories and photos. The focus will be the Alfred Spirit and the concept of community.”

During their Thursday afternoon discussion sessions, students will explore the concept of community more fully.

Upperclassmen return to Alfred over the weekend, and classes begin on Monday, Aug. 24.