The State University of New York at Geneseo, also known as SUNY Geneseo, is a small liberal arts college located in the historic village of Geneseo in the upstate Finger Lakes region of New York.
Geneseo is classified as a four-year public liberal-arts college and is colloquially referred to by New Yorkers as the “Ivy of the SUNYs” or “Harvard on the Hill” because of its rigorous academic curriculum and its location atop a promontory on the western edge of the Finger Lakes region.
The university offers 54 undergraduate programs and several graduate programs including its most popular: education, business, social sciences, biology and performing arts.
The student population is approximately 5,000 with a student/teacher ratio of 19:1 and an average class size of 25. Nearly 90% of Geneseo’s full time faculty holds a Ph.D. or other terminal degree. Geneseo ranks number one in the nation for four-year graduation rates among comprehensive colleges and is currently tied for highest freshman retention rate out of any public college or university in New York.
One of the differentiating hallmarks of SUNY Geneseo’s curriculum is the requirement that each student take two 4 credit survey courses in western humanities, in addition to a wide distribution of core courses in the arts and sciences.
Geneseo is the name of a town and its village in Livingston County in the Finger Lakes region outside of Rochester (see SUNY Brockport for more information on Rochester). The lakes are in the west-central section of Upstate New York. They are a popular tourist destination. The Finger Lakes area is New York’s largest wine producing region. Over 100 wineries and vineyards are located around Seneca, Cayuga, Canandaigua, Keuka, Conesus and Hemlock lakes. Because of the lakes’ great depth, they provide a lake effect to the lush vineyards that flank their shores. Retaining residual summer warmth in the winter, and winter’s cold in the spring, the grapes are protected from disastrous spring frost during shoot growth, and early frost before the harvest. The main grape varieties grown are Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Vidal Blanc, Seyval Blanc and many Vitis Labrusca (American native) varieties or cultivars. With the passage of the Farm Winery Act in 1976, numerous wineries have opened their doors to visitors from all over the world. Wineries are a major growth industry of the region, not merely contributing to the economy through production, but increasingly because they attract large numbers of visitors who support other components of tourism.
The Finger Lakes region is a central part of the Iroquois homeland. After the Revolutionary War, the Iroquois and other Indians of the region were assigned reservations. Most of their land, including the Finger Lakes region, was opened up to purchase and settlement.
On the northern end of the Finger Lakes are also Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the Women’s suffrage movement.
The Finger Lakes region is also home to a number of museums. These include the Corning Museum of Glass, the Johnson Museum of Art and Glenn H. Curtiss Museum at Cornell University, Genesee Country Museum in Mumford and the Samuel Warren Homestead of the York Historical Society, birthplace of NYS’ first successful commercial winery. The Women’s Rights National Historic Park is located in Seneca Falls. The park includes the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Wesleyan Chapel where she held the first convention on women’s rights in 1848.
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