An Aspirational Preview of Union in 2025

U nion College is thriving, 230 years after its founding, amid more than a decade of global technological, social and economic transformations that are challenging all institutions in fundamental ways. The keys to our success are:

  • the synergistic use of classroom and discretionary time
  • the immersive experiences both inside and outside the classroom
  • the strengthening and deep integration of the traditional liberal arts and engineering
  • the expansion of connections across internal and external communities, and
  • an intentionality that ensures the full power of Union is embraced and experienced by all students.

Union is thriving as a diverse and inclusive community of scholars at the forefront of undergraduate education, defining and redefining what it takes to prepare students for multiple tomorrows, both those we can anticipate and those we cannot. Union is thriving because our students master critical skills and competencies through integrated, innovative, liberal arts and engineering curricula that champion breadth and depth, as well as a range of intentional, immersive experiences that include research, athletics, clubs, internships, service, Greek life and study away from campus. We are the school that best embodies the power of a holistic approach in preparing students to achieve their goals in the near and long terms. Our focus is the whole U.

Students, parents, employers and society at large grasp the power of combining liberal arts and engineering in a small residential college setting to leverage new ways of understanding the world and addressing local and global challenges. Given the pervasiveness and pace of technological and social change, there are clearly distinct advantages to being a liberal arts college, especially one with a 180- year history of teaching engineering and of bridging across liberal arts disciplines. Union’s integrated approach ensures that, for example, the engineer appreciates the cultural, historical and economic forces that determine an innovation’s necessity, value and impact, just as the historian appreciates how analysis and visualization of underappreciated data can provide deeper understanding of cultures and events.

Every Union student can demonstrate and articulate the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their four years: critical thinking, problem solving, ethical inquiry, strong communication skills, empathy, an understanding of other cultures and ways of being in the world, technical and digital proficiencies, and a lifelong love of learning. They have acquired knowledge and skills not only from faculty who are teacher-scholars and talented staff offering an eclectic array of immersive learning and 4 developmental opportunities, but also from their peers. Students are part of a tight-knit, enduring community of classmates, faculty, staff and alumni who are deeply committed to one another.

Union is thriving because it is a community where students, faculty, staff and alumni inspire and encourage one another to identify, pursue and achieve beyond what they thought possible. Being comfortable being uncomfortable is what we expect of ourselves and our community; a journey we take together with mutual admiration and support. It is why the people who come to Union have disproportionate positive impact on their local communities and the world. It is why the connections made here last a lifetime.

Union is thriving because alumni, who were all challenged and who grew and developed in the shadow of the Nott Memorial, revel in remaining part of this community. They provide advice, friendship and myriad opportunities, from admissions interviews, welcome receptions, internships and job opportunities to the financial support that is critical to ensuring access to a transformative Union experience. Every student’s growth and development at Union is enhanced by personal connections to one or more alumni.

Union is thriving because it takes full advantage of its location. The historic, revitalized city of Schenectady, the greater Capital Region, and the nearby Adirondack Park provide abundant opportunities for education, cultural and social activities, recreation, community engagement and internships. Proximity to major rail, road and air travel means that an even broader and more diverse range of options are also easily accessible.

At its core, Union and those who join our community are thriving because we appreciate that long histories do not entitle us to long futures. We gain wisdom and lead by making the most of our diverse range of academic offerings and innovating on them; prudently developing and stewarding resources; embracing the personalized, supportive and challenging environment that our size and culture provide; taking every opportunity to learn lessons in many ways, from many people, and in many places; and never being afraid to do what it takes to ensure that we achieve the academic and developmental goals that have inspired and driven us since 1795.

Union has a storied past, but our best years lie ahead.

Icon of the Nott Memorial