Bulletin News

Alumni House Excellence Earns International Attention


SUNY Cortland alumni need look no further than 29 Tompkins Street to find an international model for how an alumni house should serve their needs.

The Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House was among only eight alumni centers profiled in the December edition of Currents, the magazine of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

The professional association serves nearly 81,000 advancement professionals at more than 3,670 colleges, universities, independent schools and nonprofit organizations in more than 80 countries. Advancement professionals work in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.

The Currents cover story “Amazing Alumni Spaces,” written by Laura Daily, touted only a handful of facilities that reached the following goal: “Whether it’s historic or modern, intimate or enormous, a good alumni house enhances its university’s culture and caters to alumni needs.”

Currents - December 2015
The Currents December edition featuring the Parks Alumni House.

The article placed the Parks Alumni House alongside some of the most remarkable facilities in the U.S. and Canada, including the University of Oregon’s Ford Alumni Center, a 60,000-square-foot event center built in 2011 for $32 million with high-tech features that “allow alumni to focus on the future and the past.”

The Parks Alumni House also rubs shoulders with Texas A&M University’s Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center, which boasts a 12-foot, 6,500-pound bronze Aggie class ring in the center’s plaza, and the University of Miami’s Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center, which crowned its lobby with an enormous glass sculpture installation by world-reknown artist Dale Chihuly. Each of those facilities measure 72,000 square feet.

SUNY Cortland’s historic alumni mansion, at 15,000 square feet, was among the smaller alumni centers featured in the article. The house was also the only alumni facility profiled that operated as a bed-and-breakfast.

The Currents description notes that the “elegant century-old mansion, boasting herringbone wood floors and hand-carved molding, serves as a cozy bed and breakfast for returning graduates.”

Parks Alumni House: interior
The Lynne Parks '68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House features this gracious, traditionally furnished living room.

The article entreats visitors to “spend the night in style” and notes the College acquired the house in 2004 for $300,000.

“Visiting alumni hang out in the downstairs pub and reminisce over shadow box collages of historic items donated by university affinity groups,” the Currents article notes. “Parties, weddings, business meetings and alumni events keep the place booked year-round.”

To find out more about the Parks Alumni House, visit the website or email your inquiries to ParksAlumniHouse@cortland.edu.