Article Jinx

At the beginning of the 1988-89 school year the Leader posted an article about how safe the university truly was.  Ann Burns, the head of public relations on campus, said that the rumors about the school being unsafe were not true and then gave statistics about how there were no murders, rapes, robberies, or assaults all of last year.  A couple of weeks after the article a rape happened that not only shocked the school but also caused controversy by letting the accused student continue to go to classes because he wouldn’t harm anyone.

After the rape, the school seemed to try and crack down and make the school safer.  Later in the year though, there were multiple incidents of older gentleman coming to campus to try and seduce students.  There were holes carved in bathroom stalls in the men’s room so that someone could to view the other men.  There was also a man who was caught spying on the girls’ showers in Nixon.  Both of these articles had quotes from Burns saying how the school was going to prevent this from happening again.

Lastly there was a theft ring on campus where three students were stealing from both students and faculty.  They were able to catch the students and the items they had stolen.  In this article Burns talked about how they were able to catch the students and what will happen to them. 

The reason I chose these groups of articles is because it is important to understand that while Fredonia is a great place, there is always room for improvement.  We cannot get comfortable and make claims about how the campus is without trying to improve it.  I hope these articles will help people realize that even now the campus needs to improve.

— by David Wild

Fredonia Students Present AIDS Memorial Quilt at Nation’s Capital

On October 21, 1996, members of the Fredonia branch of the BGLSU (The Bisexual-Gay-Lesbian Student Union), STEPS (Students Teaching Equals Positive Sexuality), and the WSU (Women’s Student Union) took a trip to Washington DC in order to raise awareness of LGBT issues, and in the process presented the school’s HIV/AIDs memorial quilt to onlookers, including members of the LGBT community and their family members.  The quilt was designed by Fredonia students in order to memorialize those who had suffered from HIV and AIDs in the past, as well as to help draw attention to gay rights issues in the present.  This tells us that Fredonia students were willing to participate in demonstrations on the social issues of the time, and that we had a fairly large number of activists on campus, as several buses were needed in order to transport all of the students and other participants.  It also says a great deal about the United States itself, as the number of people taking part in the demonstration shows that AIDs and HIV were serious issues to many people at the time as well, which fits in with the knowledge that awareness of these diseases really started to take off in the 1990s.  This also brings up the question of whether other schools in New York, or even the entire nation, were doing anything like this to raise awareness of these diseases, or if SUNY Fredonia was being a trendsetter in this field.

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One thing that was interesting to me about this article was the growth of the quilt over the years. In the beginning, the first few segments of the quilt were described as being ‘plain’ and ‘simple’, as though the people that made them weren’t particularly sure of what they were doing.  As time passed however, people began to create more elaborate and intricate designs for their segments, likely to draw the attention of those who were walking by the quilt.

— by Steven Podsiadly


White, Willa.  “Memorial Quilt Stirs Emotion.”  The Leader, October 21, 1996, 5.

Scandal: Fredonia Normal Girl Breaks the Rules!

In my previous blogs I touched on student organizations and athletics at Fredonia Normal and how they affected student life on campus overall. For this blog, I wanted to get a little more personal and so I decided to specifically look at the normal school girls to see what they had going on outside of organizations, sports, and academics. Not to my surprise there were some interesting things I found in the Normal Leader that confirmed my suspicion that the normal school girls didn’t always behave like the little angels the administrators thought they were.

While browsing through the Normal Leader the first thing I came across was a section titled “Side Talks with the Girls.” These “side talks” or “girl talks,” as many of us young ladies like to call them, were question and answer columns. The way it worked was the girls would write to “Aunt Patience” and, depending on when they sent in their letters, the answers to their questions would appear in the next issue of the school paper. Now the questions aren’t in the paper themselves but judging from the answers that Aunt Patience gave, it isn’t hard to guess what some of the questions could have been. Some of the more interesting answers gave advice on things like beauty matters and when it was proper for a young lady to date. One of the answers even revealed that there was some sort of love triangle going on!

The other interesting thing I found in the paper was an image of a club girl who was caught by one of the preceptors sneaking out. The title states that it was one minute past ten when she was caught and so the curfew for the normal school girls was most likely ten o’clock. The image is fun to look at because it only leads to more questions. What were the consequences for her sneaking out? Why was she not smart enough to wait longer than a minute past curfew? Where was she sneaking off to? Or even better, who was she sneaking off to go meet?

The fact that these young ladies were sometimes up to no good is interesting because it shows that there was a different side to what we view as the average normal school girl. Even back then they too were looking for some fun and adventure that could only be found outside of academics.

— by Veronica Ortiz


Tice, Wendell. “Side Talks with the Girls.” Normal Leader vol. 1, no. 5 (1900): 13. doi:

Campus Growth and the Fredonia Community

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Picture of an I.M.Pei designed dormitory at Fredonia in 1971


For my final addition to our blog, I wanted to contribute this article from the Fredonia Leader: Volume 66, #2 (1967-68).  This article I found in the Reed Library Archives, enthusiastically describes the mutual benefits of a rapidly growing university within the small rural town of Fredonia.  The newspaper was distributed in the beginning of the 1967-68 school year, or about 7 years into President Oscar E.Lanford’s campus expansion projects, which included Reed Library, Fenton Hall, Houghton Hall and Rockefeller Arts Center, among other campus buildings.

I chose to include this article because it discusses the 1967 student perspectives on the projects, which completely transformed the campus through the building efforts of I.M.Pei’s company and President Lanford’s efforts.  The article argues that all the efforts to stimulate the university also beneficially stimulate the Fredonia community.  The project was expected to bring numerous financial benefits to the Fredonia and Dunkirk communities and local franchises.  The population influx from incoming students also added to the educational and cultural opportunities for the community of Fredonia, and without the college these would have been more unlikely.

When this was published the project was financially about halfway to completion.  This article was written to encourage the campus growth and encourage the community to quickly adapt in a transformative time for the town.

I felt the article was of importance in our project on Fredonia History because it discusses a monumental project on campus that is responsible for the buildings Fredonia students are still learning in today. Currently, there are many obvious benefits of the college and community relationship – a growing college undoubtedly fosters a growing town or community.  The success of the Fredonia community today can also be attributed to the efforts of President Lanford and others involved with the I.M.Pei building project.  The article considers the opinion of William Chazanof, Fredonia professor in 1967 and acknowledges the municipal planning in the works to cope with the growing institution.  To a reader today this is helpful in understanding the important campus transformation that took place in the 1960s and 1970s.

— by Allison Brady


“The College and Community.” The Leader [Fredonia, NY] September 22, 1967: Page 11. Print

The Beginning of Cranston Hall

The article, “New center in preliminary stages” written by Mark Kwitowski discusses how Fredonia State was ringing in the new millennium by proposing a new construction project on campus. They would be changing Cranston Dining Hall to not only include the dining hall but also the bookstore, campus center, and another dormitory. Fredonia State received a grant from New York State for 4.7 million dollars in the fall of 1999 for this project.  The entire project though was going to cost 10.6 million, which Fredonia was going to cover the rest of the costs with money they had left over in the budget.

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The start of construction of the project though would not begin until 2001 due to the fact that the College was still looking into finding an architect. Once the architect was chosen and the drawings were created then the school could then search for a construction company to complete the project. Harry Watters was quoted that the school would have made their decision on an architect by early February.

The moving of the bookstore and campus center out of the basement of Williams Center would create an ideal room for a student center.  This would give students a place to go and be able to hang out. All of these changes were to be made so it would better accommodate not only students and faculty but also community members as well.

The creation of dorms and ultimately the entire project would ultimately cost students an estimated 800 dollars more in their costs for rooming on campus.

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This was not going to be the only project that the school was focusing on in the Spring of 2000. They also added a new heating system, new sidewalks, and more parking.

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The University Commons and Williams Center are something that students can enjoy in 2013 and years to come. It also shows the influx of budget that the campus was experiencing. This is important because it shows the better side of the budget that the campus was experiencing compared to previous years’ large budget cuts. It also is another piece to the 1990s renovation puzzle.

— by Sheanne Riley


Kwitowski, Mark. “New Center in Preliminary Stages: Cranston Hall Constructions to Start in 2001.” The Leader. January 24, 2000. Fredonia Archive and Special Collections.

Make Your Own Fun

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For this submission for our blog, I decided to incorporate this article from The Leader, which first appeared on Friday, February 8, 1963 to the Fredonia campus.  The article is mainly an opinion-based piece explaining that our campus and community is a unique and engaging place to be.  The reason why this is such a good place to go to school is because of the people who live and go to school here.  These people are focusing their energy on making Fredonia a lively place to go to school.  The author’s intent in all of this is to call-out the people who are apathetic and lazy towards what the school has to offer.  In the eyes of the author, these people have no right to be critiquing what the school offers because they do not make any attempt to become involved.  I think this piece is summed up best with, “If you want college to be interesting, then make it interesting.  Get up and get going, or take it from us you will sit where you are, and the world won’t weep for you.”

I found this article to be interesting because it is still true to this day.  College really is an institution that enables you to get out of it exactly what you put into it.  For that reason, I believe a lot of people end up not succeeding in college because they do not dive into their investment with this fundamental understanding.  SUNY Fredonia is no exception to this process, and it will make any student successful if they want to succeed.  This is also interesting because it shows the reader that Fredonia has always been an engaging place to everyone who is willing to give it a try.  It is simply endless the amount of different things one can get themselves into here.  It is good to see that this school has held a tradition of engaging its student body.

I believe this article is significant because it helps solidify the theme of continuity across generations within this community.  This is a place where success is a tradition because it enables the students to get out of their college experience what they put into it.  The article helps us to understand that key aspect of our school.  One can rest assured that SUNY Fredonia has always been a great place to earn an education.

— by Blake Schier

Source: “Ho-Hum.” The Leader [Fredonia, NY] February 8th, 1963: Page 2. Print

The Changing and Growing Normal School


This picture is of the graduating class of 1902.  It was taken in front of the normal school when it was in downtown Fredonia. It was where the opera house now stands.  This picture is interesting because it shows the people and the building, which really demonstrates the time period.  There are more women than men, which was typical for a normal school during this time period.   But, the number of men was close to the number to the women, which makes Fredonia unique in this demographic compared to other schools we read about in Christine Ogren’s The American State Normal School.


This image is from 1911, a decade after the previous picture. The two pictures are different.   The hairstyles and clothing are similar with small differences in styling but evolving toward a more feminine style for women.  The rules seem to have loosened at the normal school because in the 1902 picture men and women were segregated and in the 1911 picture they stand together.

The biggest change was the new normal school building.  The building even had a gym that was used for sports and fitness.  This was a big deal in the early 1900s to have a full service gymnasium in the normal school.  Over this ten year period Fredonia Normal had become a larger school with more students.  This school was on its way to bigger and better things.


Fredonia occupies a different campus today.  This was the final phase in the growth of the Normal. The property gained for the new campus would sustain the college for years to come with ample land to build.   The blue print below is of the campus of the current college.

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This blueprint lays out the places for the buildings, play fields, walkways, roads and trees.  This was the future of the normal school and really caps off a forty year growth spurt by the normal school.  Coupled with other research this shows the great growth of the Fredonia Normal School.

— by Jason Gould


Unknown, Female Graduating class 1901, Normal Leader (Fredonia, New York), September, 1901.

Unknown, Male Graduating class 1901, Normal Leader (Fredonia, New York), September, 1901.

Unknown, Graduating class 1911, Normal Leader (Fredonia, New York), June, 1911.

Unknown, Normal gymnasium, Normal Leader (Fredonia, New York), May, 1902

Unknown, Front Elevation of New Normal School, Normal Leader (Fredonia, New York), May, 1902

Unknown, the Present Building, Normal Leader (Fredonia, New York), Jan. 28, 1938.

Unknown, the Old Structure is Wholly Inadequate, Normal Leader (Fredonia, New York), Jan. 28, 1938.