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The oldest college that is part of the SUNY System is SUNY Potsdam, established in 1816 as the St. In 1835, the State Legislature acted to establish stronger programs for public school teacher preparation and designated one academy in each senatorial district to receive money for a special teacher-training department. Lawrence Academy received this distinction and designated the village of Potsdam as the site of a Normal School in 1867.
Apart from units of the City University of New York (CUNY), SUNY comprises all other institutions of higher education statewide that are state-supported.
The first colleges were established privately, with some arising from local seminaries.
But New York state had a long history of supported higher education prior to the creation of the SUNY system.
In 1908, the State legislature began the NY State College of Agriculture at Alfred University.
In 1946-48 a Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University, chaired by Owen D.
The last two members are the Presidents of the University Faculty Senate and Faculty Council of Community Colleges, both of whom are non-voting.