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e-book State University of New York Farmingdale (Campus History)

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Farmingdale State College prepares students with the education, skills, and critical thinking needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow. At Farmingdale, students have abundant opportunities in experiential learning— internships, clinical training, and guided research—that provide practical instruction and personal growth.

Small, personalized classes, a new residence hall with suite-style living, a lush acre campus undergoing major renovation, and a highly successful NCAA Division III athletics program with modern facilities make Farmingdale State College one of the fastest-growing colleges in the region.

For more information contact Kathryn Coley at or kathryn. The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than , students in more than 7, degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with more than 2.


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To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www. Johnson, at left, the first director of the New York State School of Agriculture on Long Island, poses with his family on campus in Courtesy of Farmingdale State College.

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Figure 3 : A worker examines a road under construction on the campus. The horticultural and agronomy buildings, left to right, can be seen in the background. The first students, 60 in number, arrived in March The students ranged in age from 15 to Seventeen-year old Nellie Buff was the only girl in attendance; her mother resided in Huntington while her father remained in their native Switzerland.

She planned to return to Switzerland to practice farming, but for some unexplained reason withdrew from the school. The Bulletin specified the minimum requirements for admission: an eighth grade education, but allowed students with a high school education, including unconventional students regardless of age, to enroll. It was not to be a preparatory school for traditional collegiate education. Johnson rejected the kind of elitism that characterized traditional colleges.

Women were expected to learn actual housekeeping, gardening, and farming, among other skills. The original plan was for the school to operate for twelve months, and the course of study would vary by the changing seasons. Narrow specialization was to be avoided and the focus centered on modern agricultural life.

Military drill and discipline played an important role during the time of World War I , even before the United States entered the conflict in April Reveille, mess call, inspection of quarters, retreat, and tattoo were procedures interspersed with class, lab, and farm work.

After the war, in , military drill was no longer popular, nor necessary, and was dropped. In an age of male hegemony, women soon proved they could apply themselves as effectively as male students. They resided at Dormitory 2 and Mott House, the converted farmhouse that was part of the original farm. Women and minorities were represented on campus since and in the first graduating class from on. Kathryn Freeman was the first woman to graduate in that year and was also class salutatorian. Director Johnson presided over other significant developments.

A memorial white oak tree was planted on campus with combined soil from all the Allied nations and American states on June 4, honoring those who fought in the war. This stately tree stands today between Hale Hall and Thompson Hall. Thompson Hall is at the right in the background. The school was off to a successful beginning: hundreds of boys, girls, and adults were being trained to be farmers, and extension services reached thousands of people. Johnson and it is without equal anywhere in the United States. In the midst of these developments, Hilda Ward enrolled at the school in January , residing at the Mott House dormitory on campus.


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  • She would soon play a major role during this critical period as student, alumna, and member of the Board of Trustees also referred to as Board of Visitors or College Council in the history of the institution. Three ships were named in honor of Admiral Ward and his daughter christened the second one in November Why Hilda Ward, from a prominent family, entered Farmingdale at the age of 42 is not known.

    Earlier, she had established an enviable reputation as an artist and writer, exhibiting her paintings at the famous Armory Show in New York City and at the Art Institute in Chicago. She was described as a homegrown expressionist. Her paintings continue to trade today on the open market. Hilda Ward also wrote an illustrated book, The Girl and the Motor , featuring the delightful experiences of a young girl managing the complexities of motor engines in a boat and automobiles. As a student she made friends with classmates and faculty alike.

    She became aware of conditions on campus she believed needed immediate improvement.

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    In these years the school struggled to realize its true mission: to train high school students in New York City and surrounding counties to become farmers. In April the first graduation of fifteen students took place, with the second graduation, in May , consisting of twenty-two men and one woman. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

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    Ward was concerned about the small number of students graduating, along with other issues regarding academic standards. She sought an appointment as an interested citizen to the Board of Trustees, and she received it in August Her lineage, student status, maturity, and Roslyn residence were factors in her appointment. She was not the only one to be concerned about the controversial issues surrounding the school. A series of investigative articles published in the New York Evening Post that ran from May to December presented charges against Director Johnson that attracted the attention of public officials and the general public.

    Allegations of fraud and incompetence were carefully documented in the newspaper series, written by Harold A. The articles were devastating as each succeeding one added more allegations and repeated earlier ones that provided clarification and emphasis. Smith demanded the school be closed permanently.

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    However, because of the efforts of new Director Halsey B. Knapp , a dedicated faculty, and community support, Governor Smith lost the battle and the school was saved. The exhaustive list of charges against Johnson and the State Institute of Applied Agriculture on Long Island can be summarized as mismanagement, wastefulness, and misuse of money. Some of the most glaring allegations follow: few students had graduated through and not one member of the original faculty remained.

    Surplus money was not being sent to the New York State Treasury, out-of-state and foreign students were not paying tuition, and federal money earmarked to train disable veterans was being diverted to ineligible employees. In summary, the Institute was no longer able to deliver effective educational service. Attacks continued. At the meeting of the influential New York State Federation of Farm Bureaus in Syracuse, July , a resolution was adopted that reflected this negative sentiment.

    Miller have New York State conduct an investigation. Hilda Ward, witnessing these events as student and trustee, entered the controversy. She expressed her concern to board members, especially William A. Niles, whom she thought would help, but she failed to get support from him and his colleagues.

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    Retrieved September 28, Farmingdale State College. June 29, Retrieved August 3, Retrieved March 25, Farmingdale State College: A History. Retrieved April 7, Retrieved September 27, Retrieved May 4, Retrieved The Boston Globe. December 10, Archived from the original on January 15, Retrieved January 15, News 12 Long Island. June 15, Retrieved June 29, Retrieved September 12, Long Island Press.