Onondaga's 50th Anniversary Celebration has concluded but you can still find a collection of historical College information in the pages below. Special thanks to all those who made the celebration possible.

 
 

Our History

 

’60s

  • May 1, 1961 - Onondaga County Board of Supervisors undertakes sponsorship of a Community College
  • May 12, 1961 - State University of New York Board of Trustees approves creation of a community college for Onondaga County
  • July & September, 1961 - Onondaga County Board of Supervisors and Governor Nelson Rockefeller name initial College Trustees
  • September 28, 1961 - First Board of Trustees meeting held; Ransom G. MacKenzie elected Chair
  • April 4, 1962 - Francis Almstead officially becomes first College President
  • September 24, 1962 - First classes begin at Midtown Plaza, with enrollment of 1,294 students
  • October 8, 1962 - Evening and extension classes begin
  • June 7, 1964 - College graduates first class at Onondaga County War Memorial
  • 1964 - OCC Alumni Association established
  • January 1966 - Dr. Karl D. Larsen appointed Interim President
  • June, 1966 - Dr. Marvin A. Rapp appointed President
  • November 15, 1966 - Permanent campus site dedicated on former County Farm
  • November 27, 1967 - College Master Plan for new campus unveiled
  • February 24 & August 5, 1968 - OCCFT recognized by Onondaga County as the exclusive bargaining agent for College Faculty, and first contract ratified by County Legislature
  • October 25, 1968 - Construction begins for new campus
 

’70s

  • February 2, 1970 - First building (Service & Maintenance) officially opens; first classes held at new campus
  • April 21, 1970 - Governor Rockefeller dedicates new campus
  • January, 1972 - Sidney B. Coulter Library opens
  • May 21, 1972 - Commencement ceremony held at Service & Maintenance
  • October, 1972 - President's Office moves to Onondaga Hill campus
  • January, 1973 - Albert Gordon Student Center opens
  • May 20, 1973 - Commencement ceremony held at Student Center
  • June 30, 1973 - College receives accreditation from Middle States Association
  • June, 1973Dr. Roy A. Price appointed Interim President
  • Fall, 1973 - Enrollment tops 5,000 students
  • Fall, 1973 - Last units of OCC move out of Midtown Plaza
  • 1974 - Bookstore controversy and trial
  • March, 1974 - ACA Union formed as the exclusive bargaining agent for mid-level administrators
  • September, 1974 - Nicholas Ferrante Hall opens
  • May, 1975 - Dr. Roger J. Manges appointed President
  • January 6, 1976 - Academic One (Mawhinney Hall)opens for classes
  • July 13, 1976 - Board of Trustees passes classroom smoking ban
  • September 16, 1976 - OCC leases its first computer system
  • Spring, 1977 - Health Center (Health & Physical Education) opens
  • July, 1977 - Dr. Albert T. Skinner appointed Interim President
  • Fall, 1977 - College Hour established
  • November, 1977 - Dr. Andreas A. Paloumpis appointed President
  • November 14, 1978 - Campus loop road dedicated as Ransom G. MacKenzie Drive
 

’80s

  • April 8, 1980 - Emeritus status established for retiring faculty
  • May 13, 1980 - OCC Foundation established
  • 1983 - Drama Department closed
  • October, 1983 - Dr. Thomas D. Sheldon appointed Interim President
  • February, 1984 - Dr. Bruce H. Leslie appointed President
  • Spring, 1985 - Adjunct faculty join the OCCFT union
  • February 3, 1987 - OCC's first celebration of Black History Month
  • September 1, 1989 - OCC bans smoking in all buildings
  • October 4, 1989 - Fitness Trail opens on campus
 

’90s

  • 1991 - AAUP censure from 1972 lifted
  • 1991 - Former Unity Mutual building leased to house OCC's Center for Community Education
  • 1992 - First OCC Scholarship Classic golf tournament held
  • Spring, 1993 - OCC partners with WCNY-TV to offer courses via television
  • March 14, 1993 - OCC wins its first National Championship with Men's Basketball
  • January 15, 1994 - Traffic light installed at Route 175 entrance
  • May 16, 1994 - STAR telephone registration system installed
  • 1994 - Center for Teaching Excellence established
  • May 1, 1995 - Onondaga Nation flag flown on campus for first time
  • July, 1996 - Barrett L. Jones appointed Interim President
  • August, 1997 - Dr. Neal A. Raisman appointed President
  • November 27, 1997 - Former Unity Mutual building dedicated J. Stanley Coyne EXCELL Center
  • March, 1999 - Midtown Plaza demolished
  • July, 1999 - Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer appointed Acting President
  • August, 1999 - Ralph & Fay Whitney Applied Technology Center opens
  • September, 1999 - OCC North opens in Seneca Mall
  • December 6, 1999 - WOCC-FM (student radio station) goes on the air
 

’00s

  • July, 2000 - Dr. Debbie L. Sydow appointed President
  • Spring, 2000 - OCC hosts the Scholastic Art Competition for the first time
  • February 21, 2001 - Academic Computing Center opens in Academic One featuring 101 computers and 2 laser printers
  • June 22-24, 2001 - Syracuse Jazz Fest held at OCC for first time
  • Fall, 2001 - First four online courses offered
  • Fall, 2002 - First 16 technology-equipped "smart" classrooms open
  • May, 2003 - Staff Association formed
  • May, 2003 - Student grades available online
  • January, 2004 - Administrators Council formed
  • Spring, 2004 - Student Central opens
  • Spring, 2004 - ANGEL Course Management System launched
  • 2004 - Dental Hygiene Department closed
  • March 1, 2005 - OCCFT and ACA unions merge to form OCCFTA
  • Spring, 2006 - Renovated Gordon Student Center reopens
  • September, 2006 - Residence Halls open
  • June, 2006 - Academic One dedicated as Donald M. Mawhinney, Jr. Hall
  • 2007 - OCC becomes a signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment
  • July, 2007 - Wireless network access available throughout campus
  • August, 2007 - First class of Campus Peace Officers graduates
  • Fall, 2007 - Enrollment tops 10,000 students
  • October 10, 2008 - David Murphy Field opens
  • November, 2008 - College acquires former County Poor House property and buildings
  • May 16, 2009 - Commencement ceremony streamed live online
  • May, 2010 - College Pool officially closed
  • May, 2010 - Construction commences on SRC Arena
  • June, 2011 - Regional Higher Education Center opens in renovated former Poor House building
  • May, 2011 - College breaks ground on Academic II
  • June, 2011 - Solar panels installed on the roof of Whitney
 

The History of OCC

 
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Onondaga celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2001, and that historical marker served to remind us that aside from a few yearbooks, official College documents, and sundry photographs, no formal document chronicling the planning, establishment and evolution of the College exists. In looking ahead to Onondaga's 50th anniversary, an effort was undertaken to ensure that the content and spirit of Onondaga Community College's rich and eventful history is accurately captured and properly preserved. The result of this effort is "Celebrating the Promise: The First Fifty Years of Onondaga Community College, a comprehensive book about the College from its early roots to present day. The book is available at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on campus for $39.99. 

 

Share Your Memories

As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration Onondaga has made available to the community digital versions of many of the College’s media archives. This includes a large collection of photos on Flickr and historical videos on YouTube.

 
 
 

Join the OCC Community

       

Show Your Support

“Many of my classmates would not have been able to attend college had it not been for OCC. I have wonderful memories of being a part of the first class at OCC.”

– Karen, Class of 1964 

“I'm not sure I would have gone to college without OCC. It truly provided a life-changing experience for me.”

– Suzanne, Class of 1965 

“Your institution gave me a second chance at discovering my goals and an excellent foundation for further education.”

– David, Class of 1965 

“OCC gave me that chance - I grasped it and ran. I'll always be indebted to OCC for giving me the opportunity to prove myself as a success.”

– Martin, Class of 1968 

Onondaga has a long history of changing lives and now more than ever it's critical to continue this mission. Your support will create new opportunities for students and continue the tradition.

Show Your Support Today 

Show Support 

Thank you!

Onondaga Community College would like to thank the following committee members for all of their hard work in making the 50th Anniversary celebration possible.

Thank You Image 


Steering Committee

  • Dr. Debbie L. Sydow - President and Chair
  • Dr. Joseph Agonito - Social Sciences Professor Emeritus
  • Jo Anne Bakeman - Adjunct Professor, HPE & HS
  • Tom Burton - VP, Special Projects
  • Dick Case - Columnist, The Post-Standard
  • Toni Cooke - Director, Arts Across Campus
  • Dr. Barbara Davis - Modern Language Professor Emerita
  • Frank Doble - Coulter Library Faculty
  • Dr. Kathy Eisele - English Faculty
  • David Feldman - English Professor Emeritus
  • Sarah Gaffney - Assistant to the Senior Vice President
  • Terrence J. Griffin - Asst to Provost, Educational Svcs
  • Amy Kremenek - VP, Human Resources and External Relations
  • Marty Lewis - Audio Visual Technology staff
  • Nancy Licata - Retired EMC staff
  • Dr. Cathleen McColgin - OCC Provost and Senior VP
  • Anita Murphy - Institutional Advancement
  • Rob O'Boyle - Coulter Library Faculty
  • Gail Rizzo - Retired Library Support Staff
  • Dan Rizzo - Library Professor Emeritus
  • Connie Saldicco - Counseling Professor Emerita
  • Shirley Singer - Retired Registrar
  • Tim Stedman - Computer Sciences faculty
  • Tony Vadala - EMC Faculty
  • Ex-officio - Barbara Rivette- Researcher/Writer
  • Sue Tormey - 50th Anniversary Steering Committee Coordinator
 

Community Advisory Committee

  • Nick Pirro - Honorary Chair
  • Barbara Rivette
  • Dennis Connors
  • Jim Reith
  • Dick Case
  • Tim Stedman
  • Judge Martha Mulroy
  • Karin Franklin-King
  • Kathy Eisele
  • Amy Kremenek
  • Maureen McCarthy
  • Nancy Skahen
  • Richard Calagiovanni
  • Susan Tormey
  • Terry Griffin
  • Tom Burton
  • Virginia Carmody
 

Editorial Committee

  • Joseph Agonito
  • Dick Case
  • Barbara Davis
  • Dan & Gail Rizzo
  • Frank Doble
  • Kathy Eisele
  • David Feldman
  • Barbara Rivette
  • Dan Rizzo
  • Tim Stedman
  • Debbie Sydow
 

Special Events and Observances Committee

  • Amy Kremenek - Chair
  • Philip Adon-McLane
  • Rob Bridge
  • Michele Collins
  • Russ Corbin
  • Kim Court
  • Anne DeLand
  • Michele Ferguson
  • Nancy Gabriel
  • Shawn Gillen-Caryl
  • Amanda Konopa
  • Sue Lamanna
  • Vi Marcy
  • Mike McMullen
  • Mike Mulholland
  • Anita Murphy
  • Rob O'Boyle
  • Shannon Patrie
  • Stephen Pierson
  • Tara Ross
  • Marguerite StClaire
  • Elaine Taggart
  • Wendy Tarby
  • Scott Titus
  • Eunice Williams