SUNY Old Westbury gains university designation

SUNY Old Westbury gains university designation
SUNY Old Westbury President Timothy Sams gives his inaugural address during ceremonies on April 14 making official his appointment as the sixth president of Long Island's only public, liberal arts college. (Photo courtesy of SUNY Old Westbury)

SUNY Old Westbury is becoming an official university effective July 1.

While the university will continue to be called SUNY Old Westbury, it will change its official name from “State University of New York College at Old Westbury” to “State University of New York at Old Westbury.”

“SUNY Old Westbury is proud to be recognized formally as a university, a recognition that is reflective of our rigorous, high-quality academic offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said university President Timothy Sams in a press release. “This new designation rightly represents the type of institution that we are today.”

Although the name will be changing, Sams said the university will maintain its original mission: “committed to powerful, liberal arts education and dedicated to preparing its students for career and life success while empowering them to be change makers for social and environmental justice.”

The school is now recognized as a university under the New York State Board of Regents’ new guidelines for the designation.

Requirements include offering liberal arts and sciences curriculum and graduate programs in at least three areas of academic disciplines identified by the board. SUNY Old Westbury offers graduate-level programs in five distinct disciplines.

The announcement for the school’s new university designation was made at the April 14 inauguration of Sams as the school’s sixth president. He was appointed president two years ago.

Sams said his vision is to make Old Westbury a “predominantly diverse institution“ by offering an excellent liberal arts experience and leading “within the diversity, equity, inclusion and justice space.”

The new president said SUNY Old Westbury’s student body includes more than 51% of students of color.

Sams said the university must continue to use its “prophetic voice” by upholding its commitment to its students, their high education and fostering a sustainable world.

At the conclusion of his inaugural address, Sams outlined his plans for Old Westbury’s new role as a fully recognized university:

“We will be a go-to institution for diverse, brilliant and skilled leaders who apply ethical intelligence to human and planetary conditions,” he said. “This vision pays homage to our heritage, and keeps us true to our mission, our prophetic voice and our calling as a public liberal arts institution.”

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Cameryn Oakes is Blank Slate Media's Brooklyn-based reporter who covers the Great Neck, Manhasset and Port Washington areas. She hails from Sacramento, California and previously reported at The Stockton Record as a summer intern. Cameryn graduated from California Polytechnic State University with two bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science. She served as the managing editor of her university's student newspaper, The Mustang News, which was named as the best college newspaper in California under her supervision.

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