Academic Excellence

University Hill is a hub of world-class teaching facilities, renowned faculty, and innovative research. The Hill’s educational institutions are also among Onondaga County’s top employers:

  • Syracuse University
  • State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University

Syracuse University

Syracuse University (SU) is a major research university with a prominent presence on University Hill. SU’s mission is “to promote learning through teaching, research, scholarship, creative accomplishment, and service,” incorporating five core values: Quality, Innovation, Caring, Diversity, and Service.

Ranked among the nation’s top 100 research institutions, SU is one of just 56 American institutions and two Canadian institutions selected for membership in the Association of American Universities.

The University is made up of 15 schools and colleges, including the prestigious Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the highly regarded S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.  Many of the University’s 897 full-time faculty members are acknowledged for their research, publications, and dedication to teaching.  Syracuse University confers over 5,000 degrees each year.

The Syracuse University Library, one of the largest and most comprehensive in Central New York, is open to the public. The Library’s collection consists of 3.16 million books, 20,637 periodicals/serials, 29,200 databases and e-journals, more than 7.33 million microfilms, and is a depository for federal government documents.

The diversity of the University’s people and programs make it a leading educational center and also a complement to the Hill’s other rich resources.  SU and neighboring State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry enjoy a unique relationship, providing outstanding cooperative education

History & Location

Founded by the Methodist Church in 1870, the University opened the following year with 41 freshmen, a faculty of eight, and a single building in downtown Syracuse. Today, its student population has grown to include more than 13,500 full-time and 4,500 part-time undergraduate and graduate students.

Situated on 200 acres the campus is comprised of more than 170 academic buildings, libraries, laboratories, and studios. Fifteen university buildings, including the Hall of Languages (1873) and Crouse College (1889), are listed on the National Register of Historic places. In addition to its Main, North, and South Campuses, the University has recently expanded into Downtown Syracuse. The Warehouse, a former furniture storage building converted by the University into space for academic programs, is located on the Downtown campus, linked through the Connective Corridor.

The Connective Corridor is a community-wide effort to link the diverse array of Syracuse’s cultural offerings with Syracuse residents and students alike. The Corridor begins on the Hill at Syracuse University and connects to Downtown Syracuse’s historic Armory Square through a University provided Connective Corridor Shuttle Bus service during the school year. Enhanced walkways, bicycle paths, and other amenities are also being planned to further link Downtown and the Hill.

Economic Impact

As the City’s second largest employer with 4,000 full-time employees, and an additional 6,000 part-time and student employees, Syracuse University is a major factor in the local economy. Much of the University’s $900 million annual budget is spent on goods and services in Onondaga County.

Community Engagement

Each year, more than 4,000 University students provide invaluable service to community agencies, organizations, and residents through programs such as the Community Internship Program; the Center for Public and Community Service; the Community Link Program; the Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies; the College for Human Development’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program; and the College of Law’s Public Interest Law Firm.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) is the nation’s oldest school dedicated to the study of the environment, and the only college in the country with academic programs focused exclusively on the natural environment.

History & Demographics

ESF was established in 1911 as a school of forestry and rechartered in 1972 to reflect the College’s broader mission in the environmental sciences. It boasts a small-college atmosphere with only 2,000 students, yet is affiliated with neighboring Syracuse University, providing ESF students with the additional academic, cultural, and social benefits of a large campus. Approximately one-third of ESF’s total enrollment is comprised of graduate students.


ESF offers a depth of programs focusing on the environment and renewable resources unlike any other institution in the United States. In addition to the 12 acres on main Syracuse campus, ESF provides its students with over 25,000 acres on its regional campuses in Central New York and the Adirondack Park. The main campus features 7 buildings including the Edwin C. Jahn Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility built in 1997 which houses the college’s world-renowned chemistry program. Baker Laboratory recently underwent a $37 million renovation, transforming it into a state-of-the-art engineering and technology center.

Among ESF’s offerings:

  • 22 undergraduate and 26 graduate degree programs.
  • A landscape architecture program that was ranked one of the top 15 in the country by DesignIntelligence, a monthly design journal.
  • Pre-professional advising for students interested in veterinary science, medicine, dentistry and law.
  • A certification program in conjunction with Syracuse University in secondary science teaching.

With its variety of academic programs, ESF opens the door to many career possibilities. 62% of ESF grads work in the private sector, 20 percent for government, and 18 percent for non-profit agencies. Nearly all ESF students are employed or pursuing graduate study within six months of graduation.

Community Involvement

With a mission to “get ESF off the Hill,” the University’s ESF Outreach program offers a variety of programs for everyone in the community. The programs include workshops and conferences for environmental and natural resource professionals, educational programs for K-12 students and teachers, and credit courses for non-degree students.

ESF looks to continue its dedication to society and the environment long into the future. The college’s Vision 2020 campaign is exploring and pursuing a series of improvements and additions intended to “embrace the challenges and opportunities the future will bring.”

SUNY Upstate Medical University

The State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University is Syracuse’s premier teaching hospital, offering nine healthcare degrees across four academic divisions: the College of Graduate Studies, the College of Health Professions, the College of Medicine, and the College of Nursing. These academic departments encompass nearly 50 medical education programs. The University also offers continuing education programs in medicine and nursing, providing educational opportunities to enhance the expertise of their physicians and other health care professionals for constant improvement in the quality of care and performance.

History, Location, & Demographics

SUNY Upstate Medical University has a 160-year tradition in medical education. The institution was founded in 1834 in Geneva, New York as one of the nation’s first medical colleges, and became the first college to grant a medical degree to a woman when Elizabeth Blackwell graduated in 1849. The University joined the newly formed Syracuse University in 1871 and subsequently became part of the state university system in 1950.

Under the SUNY system, the University experienced vast expansion and growth in medical facilities and academic programs. In 1965, University Hospital was added to the campus as its primary clinical facility. This 350-bed hospital provides vital healthcare services for the Central New York Region offering more than 20 specialized programs and services.

The campus encompasses 25 buildings on 30 acres in the heart of University Hill. A community of 2,504 faculty members and 1,300 students fulfill a mission of improving the health of the communities they serve through education, biomedical research, and health care.

Community Involvement

With a commitment to service on all levels, SUNY Upstate coordinates a variety of outreach and volunteer programs to enhance patient care and health education goals. They closely partner with well known organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the Make a Wish Foundation, and the Leukemia Society of America, to name a few. Many volunteer opportunities are available to students, professionals, teens, and retirees alike.