Drawing from the past, shaping the future

History & Traditions

Union has a rich history that blends respect for tradition with an emphasis on continuous innovation.

In 1795, Union College became the first college chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York.

Since its founding, Union has been defining—and redefining—the meaning of a liberal arts education.

When a classical education was considered the only acceptable field of study, Union introduced a bachelor's degree with an emphasis on history, modern languages, science and mathematics.

We were the first liberal arts college in the nation to offer engineering.

We created a new vision for campus life be establishing Minerva Houses, which bring students and faculty together outside the classroom for both social and academic activities.

And thanks to a brand new $51 million alumni gift, we will transform engineering and the liberal arts with the creation of the Templeton Institute for Engineering and Computer Science.

Visit Union. Get to know us. Learn why there is no better choice for a 21st-century education.

Students receiving shirts with the lyrics of Ode to Old Union printed on them.

An ideal fall day on the Union campus

An ideal fall day on the Union campus

Important milestones:


At a time when the classical curriculum continued to be the most widely accepted field of study, Union introduces a bachelor's degree with greater emphasis on history, science, modern languages and mathematics.


The College becomes the first liberal arts college to offer engineering. Union was also one of the first to offer course work in American history and constitutional government.


Union adopts co-education and welcomes the first 125 women into its incoming class, along with two dozen female transfer students.


Union introduces the Minerva Houses to enhance campus life and broaden the educational experience for students, faculty and staff.


The Peter Irving Wold Center, a $22 million, three-story, 35,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research and education facility is dedicated.


The Union's Men's Hockey Team captured their first national championship title by defeating the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, 7-4.


Union celebrates 50 years of study abroad programs.


The Integrated Science and Engineering Complex, the largest and most ambitious project in Union’s history, is completed. This $100 million complex is one of the most inspiring undergraduate science facilities in the United States.