Centennial Convocation Marks Start of Celebration
ESF, SU honor intertwined histories
The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) kicked off its yearlong Centennial Celebration Thursday, Jan. 20, with a convocation that was held in the same building where the College's first classes were held in 1911.
For the occasion, ESF returned to its academic roots in Syracuse University's Lyman Hall, which provided temporary classroom space when 52 young men became the first student body at what was then called the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University. Three faculty members taught classes in the basement of Lyman Hall, which had been built four years earlier.
The leaders of both institutions took the occasion to honor the strong connections that have existed between ESF and SU since the College was founded. Those ties include the influence of then-SU Chancellor James R. Day and his colleague Louis Marshall, an attorney and member of the SU board of trustees. In addition, the College's first acting dean, William Bray, was a faculty member at SU.
"We are a very unique institution, both now and then, within the State University of New York," ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., told the 80 members of the ESF and SU communities who gathered for the convocation. Murphy said SU's influence and support is evident throughout ESF's history; he called the bond between the two schools "powerful and enduring."
"We'll move forward together to make this a better world," he said.
SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor said the two institutions have complimentary visions.
"Your vision to 'Improve Your World' goes hand in hand with the university's vision of Scholarship in Action," Cantor said.
She said ESF and SU are "joined at the hip," a relationship she said is perhaps best illustrated by the continuing tradition of a joint convocation at the beginning of each fall semester and a joint commencement ceremony each May.
As part of the celebration of ESF's history and its connection to SU, university Archivist Edward Galvin introduced a new online exhibit called "SUNY-ESF and SU: 100 Years of Collaboration - 1911 - 2011.
ESF Professor Emeritus Hugh Canham presented a history of ESF from the founding days to the near future.
Canham will repeat the presentation at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, in Marshall Hall on the ESF campus. The larger facility will allow for a bigger audience than the more limited space in Lyman Hall. The ESF student body has been invited to attend Friday's event and to attend a reception afterward.
The highlight of the Centennial Celebration will be July 28, when the College holds a celebration on the ESF Quad and a formal dinner in Moon Library on the ESF campus. The July date was chosen because it marks the 100-year anniversary of the week in 1911 when the College was formally established.