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State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

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Title: State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry  
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Language: English
Subject: Syracuse, New York, James Pass Arboretum, Syracuse University, State University of New York, History of the New York State College of Forestry
Collection: 1911 Establishments in New York, Educational Institutions Established in 1911, Environment of New York, Environmental Research Institutes, Environmental Studies Institutions in the United States, Forestry Education, Forestry in the United States, Science and Technology in New York, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Technical Universities and Colleges, Universities and Colleges in New York, Uscaa Member Institutions
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Motto "Improve Your World"
Established 1911
Type Public
Endowment $22 million (2014)[1]
President Quentin D. Wheeler[2]
Academic staff 127 full-time[3]
47 part-time
Students 2,778 (2010)[4]
Undergraduates 2,200
Postgraduates 578
Location Syracuse, NY, USA
Campus Urban and Rural
Colors green, white & gold
Athletics USCAA
Sports basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, woodsman
Nickname Mighty Oaks
Mascot Oakie
Website .edu.esfwww

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) is an American, specialized, doctoral-granting institution based in the University Hill neighborhood of Syracuse, New York, immediately adjacent to Syracuse University, within which it was founded, and with whom it maintains a special relationship. ESF also operates facilities in the Adirondack Park (including the Ranger School in Wanakena), the Thousand Islands, elsewhere in central New York, and Costa Rica. The College's curricula focus on the understanding, management and sustainability of the environment and natural resources. It commemorated its centennial in 2011.[5]


  • Founding 1
  • Campuses 2
    • Syracuse 2.1
    • Wanakena 2.2
    • Field stations and forests 2.3
  • Academics 3
  • Research 4
  • Campus life 5
  • Gateway Center 6
  • Athletics 7
  • Affiliation with Syracuse University 8
  • Traditions 9
  • Alumni 10
  • Environmental leadership 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


The New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University was established in 1911 through a bill signed by New York Governor John Alden Dix. The previous year, Governor Hughes had vetoed a bill authorizing such a college.[6] Both bills followed the state's defunding, in 1903, of the New York State College of Forestry at Cornell.[7][8] Originally a unit of Syracuse University, in 1913, the College was made a separate, legal entity.

Hunter Mountain, Twilight (1866) by Hudson River school artist Sanford Robinson Gifford, showing the devastation wrought by years of tanbarking and logging.

Syracuse native and constitutional lawyer Louis Marshall, with a summer residence at Knollwood Club on Saranac Lake and a prime mover for the establishment of the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve (New York), became a Syracuse University Trustee in 1910. He confided in Chancellor James R. Day his desire to have an agricultural and forestry school at the University,[9] and by 1911 his efforts resulted in a New York State bill to fund the project: the aforementioned appropriation bill signed by Governor Dix.[10] Marshall was elected president of the college's Board of Trustees at its first meeting, in 1911; at the time of his death, eighteen years later, he was still president of the Board.[11]

The first dean of the College was

  • Official website
  • Adirondack Ecological Center
  • Cranberry Lake Biological Station
  • ESF Annual Report
  • ESF Athletics
  • ESF Centennial Celebration
  • Svend O. Heiberg Memorial Forest and Tully Field Station
  • Thousand Islands Biological Station

External links

  1. ^ [1] Accessed: September 13, 2014.
  2. ^ "Quentin Wheeler Chosen as New President of SUNY-ESF," SUNY-ESF, November 15, 2013. Accessed: January 12, 2014.
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  4. ^ IPEDS Data Center, "SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry". Accessed: May 18, 2012.
  5. ^ "SUNY-ESF Centennial Celebration". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  6. ^ Rodgers, A.D. Liberty Hyde Bailey: A Story of American Plant Sciences. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1949.
  7. ^ "Department of Natural Resources - History". 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Syracuse University Archives: Exhibits - "SUNY ESF and SU: 100 Years of Collaboration" - 1900-1919". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  10. ^ Herbert Alpert (2008-11-03). Louis Marshall: 1856-1929. p. 36.  
  11. ^ Louis Marshall,"Champion of Liberty", selected papers and addresses(in 2 volumes), edited by Charles Reznikoff,1957. Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia,PA.
  12. ^ "American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936 - Ecology and the American Environment (American Memory from the Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  13. ^ William L. Bray (1904). Forest resources of Texas. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Forestry. p. 1. 
  14. ^ "The Knothole: Student Life and Government". April 4, 2008. Volume 61 Issue 9. Retrieved on October 23, 2009.
  15. ^ "Chrono-Biographical Sketch: William Bray". A Biographical History of Biogeography by Charles H. Smith, Ph.D., Joshua Woleben, and Carubie Rodgers/ Retrieved on October 23, 2009.
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  17. ^ "New York Nature Conservation, Environment Issues | The Nature Conservancy". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  18. ^ "Conservation & Green News | The Nature Conservancy". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  19. ^ SUNY-ESF. 2008. Alumni Directory. 100th Anniversary Edition. Syracuse, NY, p. 455.
  20. ^ "A History of ESF". SUNY-ESF website. Retrieved on October 26, 2009.
  21. ^ Adler, Cyrus, "Louis Marshall: A Biographical Sketch", American Jewish Year Book, 1930-31, pp. 54-55
  22. ^ Peter D. Salins. "Guidelines for Consideration of New Undergraduate Degree Programs in Environmental Science/Studies". Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  23. ^ "ESF's Baker Laboratory Revamped for Engineering". ESF Office of Communications. Retrieved on October 23, 2009.
  24. ^ "SUNY-ESF Breaks Ground for Gateway Building". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  25. ^ "Gateway Building" (with webcam), SUNY-ESF. Accessed: June 24, 2012.
  26. ^ "Centennial Hall". Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Ranger School Celebrates Its 100th," SUNY-ESF, August 6, 2012. Accessed: August 6, 2012.
  29. ^ "SUNY-ESF: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry - The Ranger School". 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  30. ^ "James F. Dubuar Forest," Adirondack North Country Association, 2011. Accessed: June 24, 2012.
  31. ^ "SUNY-ESF: Cranberry Lake Biological Station". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  32. ^ "Adirondack Ecological Center". SUNY-ESF website. Retrieved on October 23, 2009.
  33. ^ "ESF in Costa Rica". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  34. ^ "ESF Mission & Vision". SUNY-ESF website. Retrieved on October 23, 2009.
  35. ^ "Academic Departments". Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  36. ^ Herrigan, Matt, "Syracuse University, SUNY ESF rank among best schools for B students,", September 18, 2012. Accessed: September 21, 2012.
  37. ^ "SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry". US News and World Report. 
  38. ^ a b SUNY-ESF No. 30 on U.S. News List of Top Public Universities," SUNY-ESF, September 10, 2013. Accessed: September 11, 2014.
  39. ^ USN&WR website. Accessed: September 11, 2014.
  40. ^ USN&WR website. Accessed: September 11, 2013.
  41. ^ .Washington Monthly"National University Service Rankings (2012)," Accessed: September 22, 2012.
  42. ^ "America's Top Colleges". LLC™. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  44. ^ "About the Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  45. ^ "The Forbes Top 100 Best Buy Colleges 2012". Accessed: September 10, 2012
  46. ^ a b "Rankings and Ratings," SUNY-ESF. Accessed: September 10, 2012.
  47. ^ "50 Colleges Committed to Saving the Planet". Online College Database. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  48. ^ Undergraduate Student Handbook for The Department Forest and Natural Resources Management. SUNY-ESF: FNRN Department. 2013. p. 32. 
  49. ^ "Wood Using Industries of New York". Bul. Syracuse Univ. (Series XIV, No. 2): 213 pp. 1913. Retrieved 9/12/14. 
  50. ^ Kocak, Paul (2011). "The World is Their Lab". InsideESF (Centennial Edition): 18–21. Retrieved 9/12/14. 
  51. ^ Interpretive sign, SUNY-ESF
  52. ^ "Alpha Xi Sigma Honor Society," SUNY-ESF website. Accessed: August 18, 2013.
  53. ^ "The Gateway Center". Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  54. ^ Liu, Shijie; Abrahamson, L.; Scott, G. (2012). "Biorefinery: Ensuring biomass as a sustainable renewable source of chemicals, materials, and energy". Biomass and Bioenergy 39 (April): 1–4.  
  55. ^ "The Willow Biomass Project". Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  56. ^ Heavey, Justin; Kelleher, Michael (2009). Climate Action Plan for SUNY ESF. Department of Renewable Energy Systems. p. 6,21. 
  57. ^ Wong, N. H.; Cheonga, D.; Yana, H.; Soha, J.; Ongb, C.; Siab, C. (May 2003). "The effects of rooftop garden on energy consumption of a commercial building in Singapore". Energy and Buildings 35 (4): 353–364.  
  58. ^ SUNY-ESF, "Mighty Oaks Men Win National Cross-Country Championship," November 11, 2011. Accessed: May 18, 2012.
  59. ^ "Mighty Oaks Men Run to Second National Championship," November 9, 2012. Accessed: November 13, 2012.
  60. ^ "Mighty Oaks Men’s Cross Country Team Are Third-time National Champs," ESF website. Accessed: December 14, 2013.
  61. ^ "Mighty Oaks Fall in Soccer Semifinal," November 2, 2012. Accessed: November 13, 2012.
  62. ^ Castello y Tickell, Sofia (October 15, 2012). "Woodsmen’s teams practice a sport that is less run-of-the-mill". USA Today. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  63. ^ SUNY-ESF, "Men’s, Women’s Teams Win Timber Sports Spring Meet". Accessed: May 18, 2012.
  64. ^ "Blue Ox News," Newsletter, Ranger School Alumni Association, Winter 2011-12. Accessed August 18, 2013.
  65. ^ . Accessed: October 1, 2014.Daily OrangeAlwis, Anjali. (2014, September 30). "SUNY-ESF fishing team founded by student attains success in first year,"
  66. ^ Figuera, David (October 28, 2014). "SUNY ESF joins the growing college bass fishing circuit with its first-ever team". The Post-Standard. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  67. ^ Schonbrun, Zach (October 18, 2014). "Collegiate Fishing's Added Lure: Cash on the Line". New York Times. pp. A1 ff. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  68. ^ "ESF Students Score with SU Quidditch Team," ESF website. Accessed: December 11, 2013.
  69. ^ "The Ranger School Hockey Club," SUNY-ESF website. Accessed: August 18, 2013.
  70. ^ Herron, Frank (June 27, 2004). "Cox began lacrosse legacy at Syracuse". The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY). Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  71. ^ Education & Agriculture, A History of the NYS College of Agriculture at Cornell University, 1963, by Gould P. Colman, page 161, Cornell University Press
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  73. ^ "The ESF-SU Relationship". State University of New York. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  74. ^ "Alumni". SUNY-ESF Alumni website. Retrieved on October 23, 2009.
  75. ^ "Joseph Buongiorno | Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, UW-Madison". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  76. ^ SUNY-ESF Success Stories: Ronald J. Eby 
  77. ^ So Who Was Sol Feinstone? 
  78. ^ "Welcome to the Frechet Group". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  79. ^ Tobin, Dave. (2013, January 30). "SUNY ESF alumnus Jean Fréchet wins Japan Prize," Accessed: January 31, 2013.
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  81. ^ Mary Thill. "Remembering Ketch: Educator and Conservationist". The Adirondack Almanack. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
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  83. ^ "Research in High Peaks Led to Protection of Alpine Vegetation". 2011-01-08. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  84. ^ "Joe Martens: Commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation," SUNY-ESF, n.d. Accessed: January 15, 2013.
  85. ^ "Don Moore," Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Accessed: March 11, 2013.
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See also

From soon after its founding, ESF affiliated individuals have been responsible for establishing and leading prominent scientific and advocacy organizations around the world focused on the environment. Others have provided leadership to governmental environmental agencies.

Environmental leadership

The accomplishments of additional outstanding ESF alumni are documented at:

  • Reginald E. Balch, MS '28, Canadian photographer and scientist
  • Bruce C. Bongarten, BS '73, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, SUNY-ESF
  • Joseph Buongiorno, MS '69, Class of 1933 Bascom Professor of Forest Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison[75]
  • Roger H.C. Donlon, first man to receive the Medal of Honor in Vietnam
  • Ronald J. Eby, BS 1969, PhD 1974 National Medal of Technology award, 2007 for his work in pediatric medicine. A polysaccharide / carbohydrate chemist whose career was devoted to vaccine development.[76]
  • Frank Edwin Egler, plant ecologist and pioneer in the study of vegetation science
  • Sol Feinstone, '15, historian, businessman, conservationist[77]
  • Dendrimers;[78] 2013 Japan Prize Laureate[79]
  • Delfin Ganapin, Jr., PhD '87, Global Manager, Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Program, United Nations Development Program[80]
  • Stephen Kay, BLA '73, golf course architect
  • Edwin Ketchledge, BS '49, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Botany and Dendrology, SUNY-ESF[81][82][83]
  • Robin W. Kimmerer, BS '75, author of Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses; Professor of Biology and Director, Center for Native Peoples, SUNY-ESF
  • Michael Kudish, PhD '71, author, historian, forester and professor
  • Moshe Levy, PhD '55, professor of chemistry, discoverer of living polymerization, and solar energy researcher
  • Bob Marshall, BS '24, forester, writer and wilderness activist
  • Joe Martens, MS '81, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation[84]
  • Donald E. Moore III, BS, PhD, animal behaviorist, zoo-based wildlife biologist, Associate Director of Animal Care Sciences, Smithsonian National Zoo, Washington, DC[85]
  • James D. Morrissey, BS '58, "first American to climb the east face of Mt. Everest"[86]
  • Clarence Petty, BS '30, forest ranger, conservationist and outdoorsman
  • Harry Frederick Recher, ornithologist
  • Bruce Shelley, BS '70, computer game designer
  • Earl Lewis Stone, Jr., BS '38; In 1948, he became the first endowed Charles Lathrop Pack Professor of forest soils at Cornell University. Retired 1979[87]
  • Lissa Widdoff, BS '79, Executive Director, Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation[88]
  • Christopher Dunn, BS '76—Director of Cornell Plantations[89]

More than 18,000 have graduated from ESF since its founding in 1911. The college's Alumni Association was founded fourteen years later, in 1925.[74] Notable alumni include:


  • Earth Week events
  • Spring Banquet
  • December Soiree
  • Friends and Family BBQ
  • Coffee Haus
  • Festival of Places
  • Paper run
  • Donut Hours
  • Waste Audit
  • Free Movies Nights
  • Insomniacs
  • Woodsmen Team (Forestry Club)
  • SUNY ESF Day of Service

Traditional events include:

Another well known legend is that of Chainer or Chainsaw who supposedly graduated in 1993.

Eustace B. Nifkin, ESF's previous mascot, is an unofficial student. He first appeared in the 1940s after a group of students summering in the Adirondacks thought him up. Ever since, he has appeared on class rosters, written articles for The Knothole, and sent mail to the College from around the world. He has a girlfriend, the lesser-known Elsa S. Freeborn. SUNY granted him a bachelor's degree in 1972. The Alumni Lounge in Marshall Hall is dedicated to Nifkin.

The best known tradition among ESF students is that walking across the quad is shunned. The tradition, which dates back to at least the early 1960s, is intended to inhibit tracks from being worn into the lawn. Hecklers have been known to yell and even tackle people walking across the quad. However, other activities such as frisbee and soccer playing are encouraged on the Quad.


ESF faculty, students, and students' families join those from Syracuse University (SU) in a joint convocation ceremony at the beginning of the academic year in August, and combined commencement exercises in May. ESF and SU students share access to library resources, recreational facilities, student clubs and activities at both institutions, except for the schools' intercollegiate athletics teams, affiliated with the USCAA and NCAA, respectively.[73]

ESF is an autonomous institution, administratively separate from Syracuse University, while some resources, facilities and infrastructure are shared.[72] The two schools share a common Schedule of Classes; students take courses at both institutions, and baccalaureate diplomas from ESF bear the Syracuse University seal along with that of the State University of New York. A number of concurrent degree programs and certificates are offered between the schools. ESF receives an annual appropriation as part of the SUNY budget and the state builds and maintains all of the college's educational facilities. The state has somewhat similar financial and working relationships with five statutory colleges that are at Alfred University and Cornell University, although unlike ESF, these statutory institutions are legally and technically part of their respective host institutions and are administered by them as well.

ESF was founded in 1911 as the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University, under the leadership of Syracuse University Trustee Louis Marshall, with the active support of Syracuse University Chancellor Day. Its founding followed several years after the cessation of state funding to the earlier New York State College of Forestry at Cornell.[71]

Affiliation with Syracuse University

In one notable part of the College's history, Laurie D. Cox, professor of Landscape Engineering, was responsible for establishing Syracuse University's renowned lacrosse program in 1916, including players from the New York State College of Forestry.[70]

In addition to the intercollegiate USCAA and woodsman teams, ESF students participate on club sports teams at both ESF and Syracuse University, including ESF's competitive bass fishing team,[65][66][67] and SU's quidditch team.[68] Students at the Ranger School participate in the Ranger School Hockey Club.[69]

ESF has a long tradition of competing in intercollegiate woodsman competitions in the northeastern US and eastern Canada.[62] The team came in first in both the men's and women's divisions of the northeastern US and Canadian 2012 spring meet.[63] Students at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School, in Wanakena, compete as the Blue Ox Woodsmen team.[64]

The school's men's cross-country team are three-time USCAA national champions 2011-2013. The women's cross-country team came in second or third in the same tournaments, respectively.[58][59][60] The men's soccer team was invited to the 2012 USCAA National Championship Tournament in Asheville, North Carolina, making it to the semifinals.[61]

SUNY-ESF is affiliated with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), fielding six teams in four sports:


The Gateway Center was one of the final stages in the school's Climate Action Plan, that encompasses the vision of carbon neutrality and reduced fossil fuel dependence by 2015. Currently, the school rests in Phase III of the program and is on track to reach its goal. Included in Phase III is the opening of The Gateway Center, retrofits to Illick Hall, and rooftop greenhouse replacement.[56] One other advancement towards carbon neutrality can be seen on top of the campus's buildings. Rooftop gardens provide reduced energy consumption and water runoff. Shrubbery, soil thickness, and moisture content all can contribute to increased energy savings.[57] Gateway and other buildings on campus utilize rooftop gardens to reduce energy consumption and water runoff.

Increased global awareness of global warming and reduced nonrenewable resources has driven ESF to invest in biomass. Biomass is a renewable resource that draws light energy, carbon dioxide, and water from the environment; in return oxygen is released.[54] It can be harvested without negatively affecting the environment. For this reason, SUNY-ESF has launched a program to grow its own biomass, known as the Willow Biomass Project. Benefits of woody willow include, high yields and fast growth times, quick re-sprouting,and high heat energy is produced when burned. Woody willow also increases habitat diversity significantly contributes to carbon neutrality.[55]

The Gateway Center's roof garden (foreground)

ESF has launched several programs, both within the confines of campus and other locations to reduce its carbon emissions. The Gateway Center utilizes sustainable energy resources to generate power and heat utilized across the campus. The building includes a state-of-the-art, combined heat-and-power (CHP) system, producing 65% of campus heating needs along with 20% of its electrical needs. The CHP system uses biomass to drive a steam turbine and produce electricity, while natural gas is used for steam heating along with additional electricity. It has been estimated this building alone is responsible for reducing ESF's carbon footprint by 22%.[53]

Gateway Center

Students also enjoy a variety of shops, restaurants, museums, and theaters in Syracuse, and nearby Marshall Street and Westcott Street.

ESF has an agreement with adjacent Carrier Dome. ESF's baccalaureate diplomas bear the seals of both the State University of New York and Syracuse University.

Students at the Syracuse campus enjoy many activities on and off campus. There are a number of student clubs and organizations at ESF, including the Undergraduate Student Association, Graduate Student Association, Woodsmen Team, Society of American Foresters, The Wildlife Society, Conservation Biology club, American Fisheries Association, and the (currently defunct) American Water Resources Association.

Many students identify themselves as a "Stumpy" (or "Stumpie"). The nickname was given to students by their neighbors at Syracuse University, probably in the 1920s, and most-likely refers to forestry "stump jumpers". Although originally used as an insult, today, most students embrace the nickname with pride.

The 'Robin Hood Oak' (Q. robur), direct descendant of Major Oak, of Sherwood Forest, England[51]

Campus life

• SUNY-ESF on SUNY Digital Repository

Additional SUNY-ESF Research items of interest:

In addition to the flagship Willow Biomass Project, one of the most important current projects at ESF is the groundbreaking research of The American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project. SUNY-ESF hosts a number of Institutes and Centers, each with specialized research agendas of the faculty and staff involved. Also of note, SUNY-ESF research has resulted in technology disclosure and successful patent activity in a number of scientific areas. The Research Foundation for SUNY with a place of business at SUNY-ESF and the Office of Research Programs staff work to guide faculty through the sponsored research project lifecycle.

The first research report[49] published in 1913 by the College of Forestry was the result of the above noted USDA Forest Service supported study of the wood-using industries of New York State. Since that time, the research initiatives of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) have expanded greatly as both faculty and students conduct pioneering studies, many with a global reach.[50] SUNY-ESF researchers delve into topics well beyond the boundaries of central New York. Recent foreign sites of research interest included Madagascar, the Amazon floodplains, Mongolia and the Galapagos Islands just to name a few. Vermont and the Sierra Nevada’s are other locales within the US where recent research has focused. A Published Research listing denotes topics ranging from fisheries policy to biorefineries; honey bees to STEM learning. Current scholarly papers resulting from SUNY-ESF research are often available in full text. New awards listings and news stories about SUNY-ESF demonstrate the topical breadth of research activity and related academic departments and faculty members.


For what could be conceived as the most impressive ranking, Online College Database has ranked SUNY-ESF at No. 6 on its list of "50 Colleges Committed to Saving the Planet" for 2013.[47] More shocking, the ranking is a direct result of the school's newest program, Sustainable Energy Management. This program launched in the spring 2013 semester and focuses on energy markets, management, and resources. Global issues such as responsible energy use and development of sustainable energy sources are critical focal points in the STEM major.[48]

Forbes Magazine ranked SUNY-ESF #54 in its listing of “America’s Best College Buys” for 2012.[45] has also ranked SUNY-ESF at No. 3 on its 2010 list of the 20 best colleges for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). SUNY-ESF is listed at No. 2, ahead of top programs like Duke, Cornell and Yale, among the best college environmental programs in the nation by, a website devoted to sustainability and environmental news.[46] In 2007, DesignIntelligence magazine ranked ESF's undergraduate and graduate programs in "Landscape Architecture", respectively at No. 12 and No. 9 in the United States.[46]

University rankings
Forbes[42] 241
U.S. News & World Report[43] 76
Washington Monthly[44] 95
[41] ranked ESF No. 49 among the nation's top service-oriented colleges and universities for 2012 (and 6th in "community service participation and hours served").Washington Monthly College Guide The [40][38] list of the best National Universities (both public and private).US News & World Report Furthermore, ESF is ranked 76 (tied again with University of Delaware; University of Massachusetts—Amherst; and Indiana University—Bloomington) in the 2014 [39][38] rankings of the top public national universities.US News & World Report ESF is ranked at 30th (tied with University of Delaware; University of Massachusetts—Amherst; and Indiana University—Bloomington) in the 2015 [37][36].U.S. News & World ReportESF is considered a very competitive school. Admission is selective; however, a 39.7 percent acceptance for fall 2011 increased to 50.5 percent in fall 2014 as reported by

The ESF mission statement is "to advance knowledge and skills and to promote the leadership necessary for the stewardship of both the natural and designed environments."[34] ESF is a "specialized institution" of the State University of New York, meaning that curricula focus primarily on one field, the College's being environmental management and stewardship. Students supplement their education with courses taken at Syracuse University. ESF has academic departments in the fields of chemistry; environmental and forest biology; environmental resources engineering; environmental science, division of; environmental studies; forest and natural resources management; landscape architecture; paper and bioprocess engineering; the ranger school; and sustainable construction management and engineering. Interdepartmental environmental science programs offer students integrative degrees across the natural sciences.[35]


Costa Rica
Newcomb campus, c. 1973
New York

Field stations and forests

Students in the forest and natural resources management curriculum may spend an academic year (48 credits) or summer at the Ranger School, in Wanakena, New York, earning an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in forest technology, surveying, or environmental and natural resources conservation.[27] The campus, established in 1912,[28] is situated on the east branch of the Oswegatchie River that flows into Cranberry Lake, in the northwestern part of the Adirondack Park. It includes the 3,000-acre (12 km2) James F. Dubuar Memorial Forest, named after a former director of the Ranger School.[29][30]


SUNY-ESF Ranger School, Wanakena

The historic Robin Hood Oak (photo below) is located behind Bray Hall. The tree is said to have grown from an acorn brought back by a faculty member from the Sherwood Forest in England. It was the first tree listed on the National Registrar of Historic Trees in the United States.

Bray Hall, Marshall Hall, Illick Hall, and Moon Library border the quad. The college's first-ever, on-campus dormitories, dubbed Centennial Hall after the institution's 100th anniversary, opened for student occupancy in August 2011. Other buildings on the Syracuse campus include one for maintenance and operations, a garage, and a greenhouse converted to office space. Among planned new buildings is a research support facility.

  • Centennial Hall: Named in commemoration of ESF's 100th anniversary, Centennial Hall is the college's on-campus student dormitory. Is is presently capable of accommodating 280 freshman (in double studio rooms with private bath), 116 upperclassmen (in single bedroom suits with private bath), and an additional 56 upperclassmen (in 4-bedroom, 2-bath apartments). A $31 million project, Centennial Hall opened in fall 2011.[26]
  • Walters Hall: Named after J. Henry Walters, who served on the College's Board of Trustees. Completed in 1969. Home to the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering. The pilot plant in the building includes two paper machines and wood-to-ethanol processing equipment.
  • Moon Library: Dedicated to F. Franklin Moon, an early dean of the College. Completed in 1968, along with Illick Hall. A computer cluster and student lounge are located in the basement.
Centennial Hall
  • Marshall Hall: Named after Louis Marshall, one of the founders of the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University. Home to the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Studies departments. The Alumni (Nifkin) Lounge, Gallery (snack bar), Campus Bookstore, and Marshall Auditorium are located within. Twin brass plaques in the entryway commemorate the contributions of Marshall and his son, alumnus Bob Marshall.
  • Jahn Laboratory: Named after Edwin C. Jahn, former head of the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University. The building was completed in 1997. Home to the Department of Chemistry.
  • Illick Hall: The building was completed in 1968, and is home to the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology. It is named after Joseph S. Illick, a dean of the State University College of Forestry at Syracuse University. There is a large lecture hall (Illick 5) in the basement. Several greenhouses are located on the fifth floor. The Roosevelt Wildlife Museum is also located in the building.
  • Gateway Center: The campus' newest building, opened in March 2013, "sets a new standard for LEED buildings, producing more renewable energy than it consumes," according to Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr. The building is "designed to achieve LEED Platinum Certification".[24][25]
  • Bray Hall: The building is the oldest on campus, completed in 1917, the largest building devoted to Forestry at the time. It is named after William L. Bray, a founder of the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University and its first Dean, 1911-12. It is the location of most administrative offices, and the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management. The police department is located in the basement of Bray Hall.
  • Baker Laboratory: Named after Hugh P. Baker, Dean of the College from 1912–1920 and again 1930-33. The building is the location of several computer clusters and auditorium-style classrooms. It is home to the Department of Construction Management and Wood Products Engineering, and the Department of Environmental Resources and Forest Engineering. The building recently underwent a $37 million overhaul; providing updated space for the Tropical Timber Information Center and the Nelson C. Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies. When the renovation is complete, Baker Lab will be the site of ESF's NASA-affiliated Research Center. Baker Laboratory houses two multimedia lecture halls, a "smart" classroom outfitted for computer use and distance learning, and two construction management and planning studios. It also has a full-scale laboratory for materials science testing, including a modern dry kiln, a wood identification laboratory, shop facilities (including portable sawmill) and wood preservation laboratory.[23]
"Young Abe Lincoln on Horseback", sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington, on the SUNY-ESF campus

ESF's main campus, located in Syracuse, New York, is where most academic and administrative activity takes place. The campus is made up of eight main buildings:



With the formation of the State University of New York (SUNY) in 1948, the College became recognized as a specialized college within the SUNY system, and its name was changed to State University College of Forestry at Syracuse University. In 1972, the College's name was changed yet again to State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Unlike other state-supported degree-granting institutions which had been created at private institutions in New York State, the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University was an autonomous institution not administratively part of Syracuse University. In 2000, SUNY System Administration established ESF's "primacy" among the 64 SUNY campuses and contract colleges for development of new undergraduate degree programs in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies.[22]

In January 1930, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, recommending an allocation of $600,000 towards construction of the college's second building, in honor of Louis Marshall, recently deceased, noted that: "under [Marshall's] leadership and the leadership of its late dean, Franklin Moon, the School of Forestry made giant strides until it became recognized as the premier institution of its kind in the United States".[21] The cornerstone of Louis Marshall Memorial Hall was laid in 1931 by former Governor and presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith who was elected to assume the presidency of the college's Board of Trustees.

Fifty-two students were enrolled in the school's first year, the first 11 graduating two years later, in 1913.[19] One of the hallmarks of the College, its research, dates back to 1912, beginning with a study on what firms were using lumber in the state of New York as well as the wood species and quantities. In 1912, the College opened its Ranger School in Wanakena, New York, in the Adirondacks. The College began enrolling women as early as 1915, but the first women to complete their degrees—one majoring in landscape engineering and two in pulp and paper—graduated in the late 1940s.[20]

Most of the professors, in the early years of the College of Forestry at Syracuse and the Department of Forestry at Cornell's New York State College of Agriculture were educated in forestry at the Yale School of Forestry. The forestry students at Syracuse but not at Cornell were referred to as "stumpies" by their classmates.

In 1915, the same year that Dr. Bray published The Development of the Vegetation of New York State, he became one of the founding members, along with Raphael Zon and Yale School of Forestry's second dean, James W. Toumey, of the Ecological Society of America.[16] In 1950, the 1917 "activist wing" of that Society formed today's The Nature Conservancy.[17][18]


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