Herrick Memorial Library at Alfred University


  • Archives & Special Collections
  • Herrick Memorial Library
  • Alfred University
  • 1 Saxon Drive
  • Alfred, NY 14802
  • 607-871-2385 (Phone)
  • 607-871-2299 (Fax)

Alfred University Trivia

Did you know...?
  • That Alfred University was founded in 1836 by the Seventh Day Baptists and has always been nonsectarian and co-educational.
  • Melvil Dewey attended Alfred University in 1870 - He helped convince Andrew Carnegie to build a library in Alfred.
  • Alfred University has only had 13 presidents.
  • Ella Eaton Kellogg, AU 1872, was the wife of John Harvey Kellogg and helped him run the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan. They are credited with inventing corn flakes.
  • All the men of the senior class in the spring of 1861 enlisted in the Union army. One faculty member went into the army about the same time as a chaplain.
  • Alfred University is the second oldest co-educational institution in the United States.
  • In 1887, Abigail Allen (the wife of University president Jonathan Allen) was arrested for voting - a right not given to women until 1920.
  • The student body voted on the name "Saxon" as our athletic mascot in 1929.
  • The flagship of America's first naval squadron was The Alfred. John Paul Jones was commissioned First Lieutenant of The Alfred in 1775. In seven weeks of sailing up and down the Atlantic Coast The Alfred destroyed or captured 16 ships.
  • In 1874, the student body voted "Royal Purple and Gold" as the school colors.
  • Alfred University is considered to be the first college with a permanently lighted football field (1930); we played Saturday evening games in order to support the Seventh Day Baptist observance of Sabbath. The 1957 season was the last one to play at night.
  • The terra cotta roofs in Alfred were manufactured by the Celedon Tile Co. (until it burned in 1909) that was located in the area of the McLane Center.
  • Our football team was the Lambert Bowl Div. III Champions in 1971. They were led by Alex Yunevich who coached here for 36 years and had a record of 177-85-12.
  • In 1969, Alfred University bestowed an honorary degree upon Captain Kangaroo (Robert Keesham).
  • Fiat Lux is our University's motto and it appropriately means "let there be light"
  • Kanakadea is a derivation of the Seneca Indian spoken word "Gah-ne-ya-de-o" (seen also as Caneadea and Canacadea) meaning "where the heavens rest upon the earth" or "where the earth meets the sky."
  • Gerrit Smith, the famous freedom fighter and philanthropist who, among other things, provided financial backing for his friend John Brown, the militant abolitionist, and the anti-slavery fight was an Alfred University trustee.
  • The first international student arrived on campus in 1846: Joseph Fulton from Havana, Cuba.
  • The first black student to enroll was Eliza Durant from Haiti in 1850.
  • A course entitled "The Legal Rights of Women" was taught as early as 1854.
  • The first Indigenous students on campus were two women, Jennie Jimmeson and Emma Johns, from the Salamanca, NY reservation in 1861.
  • Alfred University offers one of the country's only classes in gay and lesbian history and became the first university in the nation to bar academic credit for the Army's ROTC program as a statement on the military's policy of discriminating against gays and lesbians.
  • The inventor of the universal joint (which revolutionized the car industry) was Clarence Spicer who attended the Alfred Academy in the 1890s.
  • The Pottery Barn stores began after its founders, Paul and Morris Secon, purchased 2,500 pieces of discontinued Glidden Pottery (made in Alfred) and began selling them in Manhattan.
  • The quill pen or weather vane on Alumni Hall is cut roughly out of a pine fence rail and is twelve feet long. It symbolizes the old adage "The pen is more powerful than the sword."
  • The first mention of basket ball as an Alfred game seems to have been in October, 1893.
  • The first athletic assosciation, sometimes called the Athletic Club, was organized in February, 1892. Rueben A. Armstrong, '92, was its first president.
  • Alfred's first track team was organized in 1900 with Daniel C. Babcock, '03, as captain and Walter L. Greene, '02, as manager.