Home Community SUNY Orange planning 75th anniversary celebrations

SUNY Orange planning 75th anniversary celebrations

SUNY Orange planning 75th anniversary celebrations

MIDDLETOWN Orange County Community College (SUNY Orange), which was established in 1950 as the first county-sponsored community college in New York, will celebrate its 75th anniversary in June 2025. The college has declared that it would commemorate the occasion during the 2024–2025 academic year.

The College has chosen Transforming Lives for 75 Years as its diamond anniversary theme, with an associated blue-and-orange branded logo expressing that slogan. The College has affected and educated numerous residents since its early days. The topic fits in well with SUNY Orange’s recently updated mission of “strengthening our community, transforming lives,” which the College Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed at its most recent meeting in April.

Dr. Kristine Young, president of SUNY Orange, said, “What a unique privilege that we have here in 2024 and 2025 to shine a light on the wisdom, foresight, and commitment that our community leaders had in the late 1940s to embrace a new educational approach: the community college.” With the tremendous help of Christine Morrison, who generously contributed her fortune to support the endeavor, they were able to fulfill their goal of bringing education to Orange County. I wonder if they ever imagined that we would be here over 75 years later, carrying the light they started.

I frequently hear how important this college is to the residents of Orange County. Young continued, “I’m inspired to make sure we keep doing what we do by the excitement and passion in their voices when they tell me about their personal connections to SUNY Orange.” We will be hard at work gathering and chronicling those compelling stories from our current students and employees, as well as alumni, friends, retirees, and others, so that we can archive them for future generations. We’ll be spending a lot of the next year sharing our history and telling our story as a College.

A 75th anniversary gala is being planned, with a tentative date of May 17, 2025, on the Alumni Green at the Middletown campus of the College. SUNY Orange will incorporate relevant Welcome to Our 75th Year events and messaging to create enthusiasm about the anniversary throughout the Fall semester’s Week of Welcome celebrations in late August, when the College welcomes new and returning students with a variety of events. On the Middletown campus, an alumni meet is set for September 27 in Orange Hall Gallery. A less formal celebration honoring the Spring semester anniversary is also in the works. In addition, the College will celebrate its 75th birthday with a small celebration on June 9, 2025. Details on further events will be released when they are planned.

To support the anniversary celebrations, the SUNY Orange Foundation will collaborate to hold a year-long fundraising drive called Transforming Lives, Transforming Spaces. A variety of donation options are being created, with the money raised going toward modernizing and renovating classrooms, labs, study areas, and other facilities on both campuses.

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