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The Pride Inside

Famous Firsts

Let us be the first…

Syracuse University has never been bound by convention. Tell us—or our faculty or our alumni—that something can’t be done, and that just drives us harder to prove you wrong. Step back through time and visit some of our SU community’s famous firsts.

  1. 1857

    Belva Ann Bennett McNall Lockwood earns a teaching degree from Genesee College—SU’s first campus. After earning a law degree, she becomes the first woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  2. 1873

    SU establishes the nation’s first degree-granting college of fine arts.

  3. 1890

    Orange becomes SU’s official color, replacing the original colors rose pink and pea green. SU is now the first university to adopt only one color.

  4. 1907

    Archbold Stadium—the first concrete sports bowl in the United States—opens.

  5. 1935

    SU professor Albert R. Acheson invents the technology that launches AP Wirephoto.

  6. 1948

    Arthur Rock graduates. He goes on to become the first venture capitalist, investing in Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, Apple Computer, and numerous other high-technology companies.

  7. 1957

    SU founds the Institute for Sensory Research, the only institute in the world to apply life and physical sciences to the study of multiple sensory systems.

  8. 1961

    Ernie Davis ’62, an All-America halfback known as the “Elmira Express,” is the first Orangeman and first African American to win the coveted Heisman Trophy.

  9. 1968

    Robert K. Jarvik graduates. He goes on to invent and implant the world’s first artificial heart.

  10. 1974

    The School of Library Science is renamed the School of Information Studies, becoming the nation’s first information school.

  11. 1980

    SU builds the Carrier Dome—the first athletic stadium of its kind on a university campus.

  12. 1983

    SU hosts Coming Back Together, the first reunion of its kind for African American and Latino alumni.

  13. 1983

    Vanessa Williams ’85 is the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America. She goes on to become a singer, producer, and star of stage, screen, and television.

  14. 1985

    WJPZ becomes the first student-owned and –operated radio station to be granted a license by the FCC.

  15. 1999

    Lt. Col. Eileen Collins ’78 becomes the first woman astronaut to command a NASA space mission.

  16. 2000

    Professor Arnold Honig patents his process for polarizing 129Xe, an isotope of xenon gas. Xenon becomes a contrast agent in medical magnetic resonance imaging and a critical component in studying dark matter.

  17. 2005

    SU creates the Goldring Arts Journalism Program, the first master’s degree program of its kind in the nation.

  18. 2006

    SU launches the Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries, the only executive track program of its kind without a performance requirement.

  19. 2009

    Working in collaboration with the Syracuse City School District and dozens of local organizations, SU launches Say Yes to Education, the nation’s first district-wide school improvement program of its kind.

  20. 2009

    The Green Data Center opens on South Campus. Built in accordance with LEED  “Green Building” principles and featuring many innovative technologies, it’s considered the world’s most energy-efficient computer data center.

  21. 2011

    Syracuse University establishes Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the first national center in higher education to focus on the social, economic, education and policy issues affecting post-service veterans and their families.