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SUNY Orange Planning 75th Anniversary Celebrations

May 16, 2024

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Founded in 1950 as the first county-sponsored community college in New York, Orange County Community College (SUNY Orange) will turn 75 years old in June 2025, and the College has announced it will spend the 2024-25 academic year celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Having influenced and educated countless residents since its early days, the College has selected “Transforming Lives for 75 Years” as its diamond anniversary theme, with an accompanying blue-and-orange-branded logo displaying that phrase. The theme connects nicely with SUNY Orange’s newly revised vision of “strengthening our community, transforming lives” that was unanimously approved by the College’s Board of Trustees at its recent April meeting.

“What a special 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,” said Dr. Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president. “They wanted to bring education to Orange County, and they did it, aided by the wonderful generosity of Christine Morrison who donated her estate to make it happen. In their wildest dreams, I wonder if they thought we’d be here nearly 75 years later carrying the torch that they lit.

“I often hear how much this College means to the people and communities in Orange County. The excitement and passion in their voices when they tell me their personal connections to SUNY Orange energizes me to make sure we keep doing what we do,” Young added. “While we’ll spend much of the next year sharing our history and telling our story as a College, we will be hard at work collecting 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.”

Among the celebratory events in development is a 75th Anniversary Gala, tentatively scheduled for May 17, 2025, on the Alumni Green at the College’s Middletown campus. During the Fall semester’s “Week of Welcome” activities in late August, when the College greets new and returning students with a variety of events, SUNY Orange will blend in related “Welcome to Our 75th Year” events and messaging to generate excitement about the anniversary. An alumni gathering is scheduled for Sept. 27 in Orange Hall Gallery on the Middletown campus and a more casual Spring semester anniversary event is also being planned. The College will also hold a modest celebration on June 9, 2025 to commemorate its 75th birthday and other events will be announced as they become finalized.

The SUNY Orange Foundation will jointly conduct a year-long “Transforming Lives, Transforming Spaces” fundraising campaign to support the anniversary celebrations. An array of giving opportunities are being developed, with funds intended to support updates and refurbishing of classrooms, laboratories, study spaces and more on both campuses.

For more information, contact 75th Anniversary Planning Committee co-chairs Elizabeth Tarvin or Mike Albright.