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Historical photo of hall of Languages.

History of the College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts is established as Syracuse University's founding college.

The first classes for 41 registered students begin in a rented space on Montgomery Street in downtown Syracuse. The curriculum consists of algebra, geometry, Latin, Greek, history, physiology, education, and rhetoric.

SU erects its first building, the $136,000 Hall of Languages.

John R. French named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

SU accepts its first doctoral dissertation from geology student Lucien Underwood.

SU erects the von Ranke Library, housing a famous collection of the German historian by the same name. The collection later moves to the Carnegie Library, and von Ranke is renamed the Administration Building and then the Tolley Administration Building, after SU's seventh chancellor.

Albert Leonard named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Frankn Smallley named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie makes a surprise $150,000 donation to the Carnegie Library, one of dozens he funds at universities around the country.  Today, the library houses SU's science, engineering, and mathematics collections, along with the mathematics department.  

Bowne Hall, named for trustee Samuel W. Bowne, is erected to house the Department of Chemistry.
Lyman Hall—supported by a bequest from trustee John Lyman in memory of his two daughters—is erected as a natural history building. In 1930, its top floor is converted into the Natural History Museum.

Henry Allen Peck is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

William Henry Metzler is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

William L. Bray serves as Acting Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

SU establishes the Maxwell School, a professional graduate school that becomes a leader in public administration and international affairs. Majors in the social sciences continue earning degrees from the College of Liberal Arts.

William Pratt Graham serves as Acting Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Karl Clayton Leebrick is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Finla G. Crawford is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Eric H. Faigle is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

William C. Fleming, founding chair of the Department of Art and Music Histories (née fine arts), publishes the landmark book, "Arts and Ideas," which sparks the interdisciplinary humanities movement and is used by more than a thousand institutions worldwide.  

The Syracuse in Italy Program opens doors in Florence, paving the way for what is now SU Abroad, a longtime partner of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The Biological Research Building, annexed to Sims Hall, is erected to house the Department of Bacteriology and Botany. It is the first structure on campus devoted solely to research, in addition to being completely air conditioned and climate controlled.

Art and Music Histories launches a Master of Arts program devoted to the study of Renaissance art in Florence. It is the only accredited M.A. art history program in the United States where most of the study—two to three semesters—is conducted in Italy.
The M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing is established and quickly becomes one of the finest in the country.   

History professor David Bennett holds SU's first "Teach In" on the Vietnam War.

Frederic J. Kramer is named Dean of College of Arts & Science

Approximately 100 African Americans demonstrate peacefully on campus, demanding that SU better meet their academic needs. The protest eventually results in the formation of the Department of African American Studies.
SU opens the Physics Building, whose construction is partially funded by the National Science Foundation. Steele Hall, which formerly housed physics, becomes an administration building.

The College of Liberal Arts is renamed the College of Arts & Sciences.
The Department of Zoology and the Department of Bacteriology and Botany combine to form the Department of Biology.
John Prucha is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

SU erects Heroy Geology Laboratory, housing laboratories, offices, storage rooms, and a large lecture hall.
SU opens the Gebbie Clinic, a diagnostic screening and referral center that serves people with learning or communication difficulties or both, and provides aid and support to their families.
N. Ginsburg serves as Acting Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences..

Kenneth P. Goodrich is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences..

Slavic languages, Italian, Spanish, French, German, linguistics, and the classics combine to form the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics.  

The 106-year-old Hall of Languages re-opens after a $4 million renovation.
After serving as Acting Dean for 11 months, Gershon Vincow is named Dean.

Ronald Cavanagh named Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences..

Political science major Elliott Portnoy '86 is accepted to Oxford University as SU's first Rhodes Scholar.
Samuel Gorovitz is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

SU erects the Science and Technology Center, housing several academic units and departments, including chemistry.

The College oversees the first major revision in decades of the liberal arts core curriculum.

Robert Jensen is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Associate Dean Cathryn Newton co-founds WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), an innovative program bringing together talented female undergraduates in the sciences and engineering.

Cathryn Newton is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The College launches Syracuse Symposium, an annual semester-long intellectual and artistic festival celebrating interdisciplinary thinking, imagining, and creating.
The SU Mock Trial Team, administered by the College, wins the American Mock Trial Association's regional tournament and places first in its division in the national championship. The team continues to compete nationally almost every year.

The College partners with the Dana Foundation in Washington, D.C., for "Speaking of Science," a distinguished series moderated by William Safire '51, H'78 until his death in 2009.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards SU a $1 million grant to form The Andrew W. Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor with Cornell University and the University of Rochester.
The renovated Paul Robeson Performing Arts and Community Folk Arts centers re-open in downtown Syracuse, as part of the new Connective Corridor.
Dancer/choreographer Paul Taylor '53, H'86, returns to campus for the first time in 50 years to premiere "Troilus and Cressida (reduced)," co-commissioned by Dean Cathryn Newton.

Following a two-year, $8 million renovation, the Tolley Building re-opens as home for the SU Humanities Center, which assumes leadership of the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor, Syracuse Symposium, and other campus-wide humanities initiatives.
The national headquarters of Imagining America, a consortium of 80 colleges and universities committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design, also relocates to Tolley.
Arts and Sciences, Newhouse, and Honors jointly launch the First Amendment Scholars Program, made possible by Joel H. Coler, a dual major from the Class of '53.

SU's largest academic construction project, the $107 million, 200,000-sqaure-foot Life Sciences Complex, officially opens. For the first time in SU history, biology, chemistry, and biochemistry are housed under one roof.
George M. Langford is named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences..

Dean George M. Langford unveils Excellence Initiatives in forensic and national security science, sustainable global systems (clean water), and the digital humanities, designed to reposition the College as a national liberal arts leader and to capitalize on its research and funding potential.