Our History

The three joined buildings known as the Morris Complex were the first ones erected on the current campus. The cornerstone of our current building was laid in 1950, with one wing being completed in February 1951 and the other in September 1951. The two wings, Bacon and Denison Halls, were originally used as dormitories, which were much needed on the expanding campus in the middle of the 20th century (Brenner 39).

Morris Hall is named for William H. Morris (1841-1909). Morris came to Oneonta in 1865 and became a prominent member of the community, serving as a supervisor of the hamlet of Oneonta, trustee of the Universalist church, and member of the Masonic lodge. Morris was appointed in 1888 to the first Board of Managers of the State Normal School (which was the original name of SUNY Oneonta) and was later made president of the board.

Bacon Hall is named after Professor Edwin Faxon Bacon (1833-1910), also known as "Daddy" Bacon to his students. Professor Bacon was an accomplished linguist and well-loved instructor of foreign languages when the college opened in the late 1800s (Brenner 60). Because of Bacon's leadership, Oneonta Normal School was the first school in New York Sate to offer study in foreign languages.

Denison Hall is named for Professor Kate Denison, an education instructor who was called "Aunt Kate" by her students. A prominent member of the Oneonta Community, the eloquent Denison was regularly chosen as the spokesperson for the Women's Club of Oneonta. She came to teach at the Oneonta Normal School after a career of teaching at the elementary level and of serving as a principal of the intermediate department at the New Paltz Normal School. Denison died on November 9, 1910.

Craven Lounge in Morris Conference Center is named for President Clifford Craven who served the college from 1970-1987 (Brenner 67). "The room has always had overstuffed chairs, ample couches, and lamps, along with new carpeting. President Clifford J. Craven had the complex renovated into a conference center. Following Craven's retirement, it was decided to rename the lounge the Dr. Clifford J. Craven Lounge in recognition of his service to Oneonta" (Brenner 40).

Morris Hall displays a collection of photographs depicting the university's early history in its main corridor.

Information about the history of SUNY Oneonta and about the photographs displayed in Morris can be found in Dr. David Brenner's 2002 book The State University of New York College at Oneonta and in Dr. Carey Brush's 1965 book In Honor and Good Faith, a history of the State University of New York College at Oneonta.

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