The State University of New York (SUNY) was founded at Potsdam, New York in 1816. Years later, the Morrill Act of 1862 led to the creation of four Ivy League land-grant SUNY colleges, which now currently exist at Cornell University. SUNY was officially established in February 1948 when New York became the 48th state, of the then 48 states, to create a state university system. SUNY initially represented a consolidation of 29 unaffiliated institutions, including 11 teachers colleges. All of these colleges, with their unique histories and backgrounds, united for a common goal: To serve New York State. Since 1948 SUNY has grown to include 64 individual colleges and universities that were either formerly independent institutions or directly founded by the State University of New York.
Today, SUNY’s 64 geographically dispersed campuses bring educational opportunity within commuting distance of virtually all New Yorkers and comprise the nation's largest comprehensive system of public higher education. Its 64 campuses are divided into four categories, based on educational mission, types of academic opportunities available and degrees offered. SUNY offers students a wide diversity of educational options including short-term vocational/technical courses, certificate, associate, and baccalaureate degree programs, graduate degrees and post-doctoral studies. SUNY provides access to almost every field of academic or professional study within the system with over 7,000 degree and certificate programs.