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Past Presidents & History

A Proud Tradition

Adapted from SUNY Plattsburgh, 1889–1989: A Summary by Douglas R. Skopp

The New York State Normal and Training School at Plattsburgh was chartered on June 15, 1889, the last of 11 public normal schools to be established in New York. It was built to train and supply public school teachers to the surrounding area’s elementary and secondary schools.

Leading citizens from Plattsburgh and Clinton County lobbied Albany for a normal and training school. The first Normal Hall was built at a cost of some $90,000 on a 15 acre tract of land purchased by the City of Plattsburgh from one of its wealthiest and most influential citizens, Smith Weed. When the school opened, it was the most modern in the state; the grounds and pond, with its 40-foot high fountain, were praised as one of the finest parks north of Albany.

Plattsburgh’s superintendent of schools, Mr. Fox Holden, became the normal school’s first principal. Thirteen others comprised the school’s first faculty — noteworthy among them were George H. Hudson, who taught natural sciences and George l. Hawkins, who taught mathematics until he became principal in 1898.

More on past presidents and key moments in the university’s history is included here.

Past Presidents & Principals

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