SUNY New Paltz will hold a virtual commencement on May 22 and a live ceremony for this year’s class in May 2021.
The names are being changed because the buildings’ namesakes, the founding families of the town, owned slaves prior to slavery’s abolition in New York State. The new building names pay homage to local geographic features. They will be assigned to the campus buildings to mirror their actual locations – for instance, Lefevre Hall, the eastern-most of the buildings, will become Shawangunk Hall, because the Shawangunk Ridge is the eastern-most of these features.
“I understand the sensitivity of the topic, but redefining history in your own image is not the answer,” said Roland Hasbrouck.
Six campus buildings that carried the name of the town’s original Huguenot settlers, who owned slaves, will be named for local places, Native American tribes and a bird.
Five buildings named for the town’s Huguenot founders will have their names changed this year. The new names haven’t been decided yet. Suggested alternatives include: Maratanza, Pond, Awosting, Minnewaska, Mohonk, Hawk, Peregrine, Ashokan, Sunset, Tamarack and Shawangunk halls.
A half dozen campus buildings bear the names of the town’s first settlers, who owned slaves. Nearly all the speakers at a recent hearing on campus called for the buildings to be renamed, but the administration is waiting until spring to vote.
A 77,000-square-foot classroom and lab building is open, though it needs landscaping, and there are 20 other projects in progress.
With the college’s enrollment rates remaining steady and graduation rates increasing, more students than ever before were eligible to participate in the undergraduate ceremonies this year.
Saturday, May 6: Creativity theorist Stephen Nachmanovitch described galumphing in a more positive light, as “the immaculate rambunctiousness and seemingly inexhaustible play-energy apparent in puppies, kittens, children, baby baboons – and also in young communities and civilizations…the seemingly useless elaboration and ornamentation of activity.”
Thursday, April 20: Like your Shakespeare on the “lite” side? The Bard’s early comedies, with their roots in classical Roman farce and medieval Italian commedia dell’arte, are surefire crowd-pleasers that bear endless revisitation.