moving in day then and now
moving in day then and now mobile

New Paltz Then & Now

Through the looking glass
Freshmen Move-In Day 2019 (left) and 1957 (right)

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast…”

— "Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll, 1871


Go ahead. Clear your mind. Imagine you’re a drone flying over campus in the year 2040. What do you see? Are there new buildings? Fewer? What do you recognize? What technology is being used? Who are the professors? How are they teaching? Are the students engaged in learning? 

group of students from the 50s


Hang on to those images. Now, slowly return to the present day. What do we find on campus in 2020? How has it changed since 1828? How will the decisions we make, or do not make, influence the outcome in the next 20 years as we think about our immediate challenges, opportunities and our long-term future?

Come as You Are


Students meet outside of College Hall, ca. 1950s. 

girls by college hall in the 50s

Students meet on campus to socialize and engage. Here, members of the Outing Club are photographed in the early 1960s. Two students stand outside the Sojourner Truth Library in the 1980s. 

Outing Club of 1962
Students on campus in 1992

Today, two students find a quiet place to study on the Parker Quad.  

girls studying outside today

SUNY New Paltz students from the Class of 2019 join together on campus for the fall Convocation tradition. 

students at orientation
students on campus today



Students in the Old Library building on campus, which now houses classrooms for the Department of Art. 

Old Library then

Wooster Science Building was originally built in 1968 to house classrooms and labs for the Geology and Physics Departments. 

wooster outside before
wooster inside before

An extensive $14.3 million project to upgrade the Sojourner Truth Library was completed in 2016. The new main floor is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and expanded learning and collaboration spaces, as well as aesthetic improvements that enhance natural light and views of the nearby Shawangunk Ridge. 

Sojourner truth library now

The Wooster Hall renovation in 2016 was neither a demolition nor a preservation. The building was completely transformed from a 1960s era building of Brutalist architecture, to a spacious, modern layout with centralized student services and enhanced spaces for academic programs in the liberal arts and engineering disciplines. 

View more photos of Wooster before and after the renovation here. 

wooster hall outside  now
wooster classroom now



Members of the 1988 Women’s Softball team, pictured here, were the College's first state champion softball team and were inducted into the 2018 SUNY New Paltz Athletics Hall of Fame.


The SUNY New Paltz's men's lacrosse team had its first official season in 2020, playing four games before its inaugural campaign was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Men's Lacrosse 2020

Lacrosse game



Students participate in class ca. 1970s. 

students in class 1983

Students take their final exams ca. 1960s and a student participates in a painting class in the 1970s. 

final exams 1957
art student 1992

Students participate in The AC2 program, 2019. The program combines the SUNY-wide Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) and the New York State Department of Education-funded Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP) and is dedicated to supporting and preparing historically underrepresented and income-eligible students for careers in STEM fields.

summer biology research students

Here, students participate in a drawing class in 2017 and Sun Hee Kil, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Arts works with students in a sound lab on campus in 2018. 

painting class today
audio engineering class today

Looking back, we are given a sense of our capacity for change. And so, we ask ourselves: what university have we created? What one will our future students inherit? View more historical campus photos here. 

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