Originally named Alfred Academy, Alfred University was founded in 1836. The school was classified as junior college in 1941 and in 1948 it became a part of the State University New York system, also known as SUNY.
AU is based in western New York and is located near Buffalo and Rochester. The school offers over sixty programs of study. There are four main schools at the university; the college of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the Inamori School of Engineering, and the graduate school. The most popular programs are engineering and art. One notable feature is that there is a physical education requirement for most programs.
In addition to being well-known for its engineering program, the university is also highly recognized for its ceramic art and astronomy programs. The popularity of the astronomy program may be attributed in part to the Stull Observatory on campus which houses seven telescopes. They range in size from 7 inches to 32 inches. The Stull observatory has one of the largest optical telescopes in New York. The university also provides a museum known as the Schein –Joseph international Museum of Ceramic Art. This museum has over 8,000 pieces of ceramic art, including both ancient and modern installations.
There are two libraries located on campus; the Herrick Memorial Library and the Scholes Library. The Herrick Library is used by all students of the university, while the Scholes library is primarily used by students of the ceramic school.