About SUNY Orange
SUNY Orange has touched the lives of countless numbers of the county’s 350,000 residents through its credit programs, non-credit programming and cultural events. As the needs of the community grow, the college will continue to play a significant role in the county’s endeavor to face the challenges and to profit from the opportunities that await it.
SUNY Orange was founded in 1950 as the first county-sponsored community college in the State University of New York system.
Morrison Hall, the stately turn-of-the-century mansion that serves as the architectural centerpiece of the College’s Middletown campus, was donated to Orange County by Mrs. Christine Morrison as part of the College's formation. The four-story mansion sits atop a hill overlooking the Hudson Valley from the front and the beautiful, lush lawn and buildings that make up the Middletown campus from the back.
Morrison Hall was originally built for the family of Webb Horton, a retired industrialist. (more information about Webb Horton can be found in: Webb Horton: Tannery King by Kathleen Malia, professor emerita of the SUNY Orange English Department).
Designed by Frank Lindsey, a local architect, the mansion’s construction was completed in 1907. The interior of the house is exquisite with its stunning mahogany staircase, beautiful Louis Tiffany stained glass window on the landing and hand-carved doors, mantels and moldings that touch the ceiling, as well as on the ceilings themselves. It boasts superior craftmanship, elegant lighting fixtures and 13 beautiful fireplaces.
Upon Mr. Horton’s death, he bequeathed the estate to his cousin, John Horton Morrison, who moved into the mansion with his family. In the late 1940’s, in keeping with the Morrison family’s long-standing philanthropy, Christine, John’s widow, entered into discussions regarding a county-sponsored college in Middletown. Mrs. Morrison agreed to donate the property and this donation of the 40-room mansion and 16-acre estate became the site for the new college. In 1950, the first classes of Orange County Community College took place on the estate grounds.
The mansion was later named Morrison Hall in honor of Christine Morrison’s generosity and vision.
Since its inception in 1950, the College has earned its reputation as a pioneer and innovator in meeting the needs of its students and the area it primarily serves. SUNY Orange was the first two-year college in the nation to offer the associate degree nursing program and studies in electron microscopy; and in 1982, the college was the first community college to plan and co-sponsor with local chambers of commerce a business institute.
Accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, academic credits can be earned through full- or part-time study in the day, evening, or both. The college offers three degrees—the Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Associate in Applied Science. The college also offers extensive technical programs in career fields (with transfer options) and one-year certificates.
Public and private four-year colleges actively seek our graduates for transfer into baccalaureate programs as third-year students. In cooperation with other educational agencies, the college also presents programs for academically gifted high school seniors, for business and professional people, and by special arrangement with nearby universities for graduate students.
Consistent with its mission to meet the higher education needs of students, the college is noted for its commitment to ensuring student success. With the support of our caring faculty and staff, each of our students has the ability to achieve their academic and career goals. Advising, counseling, and career guidance and exploration are available to all students as well as several co-curricular and leadership opportunities that serve to complement the academic experience.
In addition to offering formal instruction to students in both the day and evening, the college engages in a variety of other activities. It sponsors a series of cultural events, lectures and artistic performances for students, staff and faculty, and to which the public is invited.