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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Important Information about Union College in Schenectady


Discovering Union College in Schenectady

SCHENECTADY — Just over one mile south of The Daily Gazette,⁣ and with just north of ⁤100‍ years more in history,​ Union College sits at‌ the center of Schenectady, New York. The 228-year-old ‍institution of higher education is known for educating a future U.S. commander-in-chief, winning a NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championship and serving as the back drop to a memorable Hollywood moment. But, here are some ⁤more fast ⁤facts about the college U.S. News & ​World Report ranks among its top 50 liberal arts colleges across the nation.


Union College lays on‍ 130 acres in downtown Schenectady, one-half mile east of the historic Stockade neighborhood — where the city began to form in​ the 17th century — and just over one mile northeast⁣ of ⁤the property where General Electric set up its headquarters in the late 19th century and transformed the​ area’s ‌economy for much of the next 100 years. The campus includes more ⁣than‌ a dozen buildings, including the landmark Nott Memorial, and the college’s famous eight-acre Jackson Gardens.


The campus is ‍home to 2,050 full-time undergraduates, according to the college website. Students come from 40 states and territories, as well as 50 other countries — 10% of the student ⁣population is international. Nearly 1 in 4 attendees are domestic students of color, according to the college. And, ​with 219 faculty, there are nine ⁣students for every one faculty member — 97%⁤ of which have the highest degree ⁤in their field.

All attendees belong to one of seven Minerva Houses, which the college describes as “lively hubs for academic, social,⁤ residential and ⁣leadership activities.” Each Minerva House has‌ housing available to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Union also offers 13 themed houses which allow students to ​live ⁣with others ⁣that‌ share their interests (dance, literature, gaming, community service, etc.), some common​ ways ‌of living (sustainability, ⁤mindfulness, etc.) and beliefs (LGBTQ+, politics, ⁣etc.). There are also 13 fraternities and sororities — 10⁢ residential and 3 non-residential — which begin recruitment sophomore year.


According to the college, 75% of the student body studies multiple ⁣disciplines during its time⁢ on⁣ campus. ⁣The school offers 60 majors and minors from‍ Africana Studies to Environmental Science to Studio Fine Arts. There ​are also four ‍joint programs through which students can earn two or more degrees: a 5-year MBA in health care management; leadership in medicine; M.A. in teaching and a 3+3 accelerated law.

While studying in Schenectady, 80% of Union students conduct‍ research, according to the ⁤college. The same percentage completes ‌a faculty-mentored senior thesis or capstone project.

Recent Union ‌students top career paths include ⁤business/finance, engineering, healthcare, communications, law, education, technology, arts/entertainment, human services, government.


During more than two​ centuries of⁤ welcoming students to the Electric City, Union has been home to notable figures ⁣from every corner of culture and society. The college touts its place in the education of‍ winners‌ of a Nobel Prize, Academy Award, National Book ⁢Award and Olympic gold ​medal, as well as seven future Presidential cabinet secretaries, 13 governors, 200 judges and 90 college presidents. The U.S.’s 21st President Chester A. Arthur is a 1848 graduate. Here is ​a list of just 10 more:

  • William⁤ H. ​Seward (1820) — former New York governor, secretary of ⁤state, U.S. Senate
  • Baruch S. Blumberg (1946) — 1976 winner of Nobel Prize in Medicine
  • Alan Horn (1964) — former CEO, Disney Studios; former president and COO, Warner ⁤Brothers
  • David Viniar (1976) — former CFO,⁤ The Goldman Sachs Group
  • Ilene Landress (1983) — co-executive producer, “The Sopranos”
  • Nikki Stone (1995) — former professional skiier, first American to win​ Olympic gold in inverted aerial skiing in 1998
  • Ben Schwartz⁣ (2003) — actor and writer, “Parks and Recreation,” ⁣”House‍ of Lies,” “Undercovers”
  • Shayne Gostisbehere (2015) — National Hockey League‌ defenseman
  • Jake Fishman (2019) —‌ former Major League Baseball pitcher; former pitcher for Israel at World Baseball Classic, Olympic Games
  • Emma White (2019) —‍ professional racing cyclist, bronze medalist in 2020 Olympics


Union ​College athletics spent the better part of the ⁤last century known by the moniker Dutch(wo)men. The nickname ​arose in the pages of local newspapers during the first half of the 20th century as a way to “add color to their reporting of Union’s athletics teams.” The name ‍was a nod to the first European‌ settlers in Schenectady. However, before journalists ​put their stamp on the college’s athletic ‌teams, Union was known as the Garnet, a tribute to ⁤the color chosen‍ by the college ⁢in the 1870s.

When college officials decided to reconsider the school’s moniker in⁣ 2023, amid a comprehensive branding‍ update, more than 200 of the 2,100 new names suggested included a return of⁤ the word “garnet.” The school looked into⁤ simply returning to ⁢the color as its nickname, but​ that has since been ​trademarked by‌ Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Garnet Chargers was‌ eventually chosen among‌ four finalists that also included Garnet Griffins, ⁤Garnet Hawks and Garnet Storm.

“Chargers harkens to Schenectady’s legacy as a hub‌ for electrical innovation and invention and is an apt metaphor for the high-energy, forward-looking Union College experience,” the college said in its ⁢statement announcing the new name.

The college, in part, ‍began considering a name change as a way to bring forth a new college mascot.​ So, Union also welcomed two new dogs named Charger in 2023. One is a female red fox ‍Labrador retriever pup. The other is a garnet dog mascot — an homage to the ubiquitous presence of canine friends on the dog-friendly campus.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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  1. Important Information about Union College in Schenectady:

    Disagree. Union College is not worth the hype – the academics and campus life are just average. #Overrated


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