History & Tradition
History Of The College
April 4, 2021 marks the 75th Anniversary of SUNY Erie Community College.
Over the past seven plus decades, the college has grown from a small two-year technical institute to a three-campus college serving nearly 10,000 students.
On April 4, 1946, the Legislature of the State of New York, recognizing the need for technical-vocational education at the junior college level, established the New York State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences at Buffalo as one of the five, tuition-free, two-year technical institutes for high school graduates.
Two years later, in 1948, when the New York State Legislature founded the State University of New York, the Institute at Buffalo became one of the units of the University. On September 1, 1953, while maintaining ties with the State University of New York, Erie County assumed sponsorship of the college, changing its name to the Erie County Technical Institute (ECTI).
Subsequently, in 1960, the Erie County Technical Institute moved to the present site of the North Campus at 6205 Main Street in Williamsville, NY; and, in 1969, the name of the college was once again changed, this time to its present designation, Erie Community College.
In 1971, the City Campus, housed in the former Bishop O’Hern High School in downtown Buffalo, opened, making Erie Community College the first multi-campus college in New York State outside of New York City.
The South Campus opened in the fall of 1974, providing accessibility for those in the southern parts of the county. In January of 1982, the City Campus moved into its refurbished quarters in the heart of Buffalo at the old Post Office Building.
Today, Erie Community College continues to evolve as a resource for job readiness to students and the business community alike.
History Of The Presidency
Symbols Of The Office
The mace, generally made of wood and clad with metal, was used as a weapon during
the Middle Ages. Later, the mace became a symbol of authority.
The ceremonial mace of SUNY Erie, which is carried in the procession, represents the authority of the President of the college as vested in him or her by the Board of Trustees and the State University of New York. The mace is present at college events such as commencements and inaugural processions and ceremonies.
SUNY Erie’s mace, which is on display in the President’s Board and Conference Room at City Campus, was presented to the college at commencement exercises in June 1966 by Spencer Kittinger, chairman of the Board of Trustees. The mace was designed and handcrafted especially for SUNY Erie, or Erie County Technical Institute as it was known at the time, by artisans of the Kittinger Furniture Company. The mace is topped with a bronze piece inscribed with the seal of Erie County Technical Institute, and has the names of each of the presidents inscribed on its surface. The most senior faculty member traditionally carries the mace and leads the procession in the college’s ceremonial events.
The President's Medallion
The President’s Medallion is one of the grand traditions of higher education. It is an honorable and traditional academic symbol of the authority and responsibility of the presidency. Typically, the President’s Medallion is presented at the President’s Inauguration signaling the beginning of a newly appointed president’s tenure in office. The medallion with which the President is invested in the inaugural ceremony is an emblem of office worn on official occasions of the college.
Distinctive academic dress can be traced back to the universities of the Middle Ages
where the wearing of the caps and gowns by participants in academic functions originated
because colleges were damp and drafty. In the early centuries, the academic robe was
worn as daily garb, but today its use has been reserved for special ceremonial occasions.
Hoods were worn because many of the professors were monks who protected their shaved
heads from wintry drafts. Through the years their style, color and purpose have changed.
Today, academic attire serves as an identifying symbol. The bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s gowns differ in styling. Hoods, which also differ in styling, indicate by their colors the degree, discipline, and the university granting the degree. The mortar board cap is the most common style worn but only those with a doctor’s degree are entitled to wear a gold tassel on the cap.