Syracuse University Charter

An Act for the Re-Organization and Incorporation of Syracuse University (Chapter 414, Laws of 1887)



Policy Statement

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:


That the present trustees of Syracuse University to wit: Charles Andrews, O. H. P. Archer, Erastus F. Holden, John F. Hurst, Benoni I. Ives, George F. Comstock, John Crouse, Francis E. Trowbridge, Peter Burns, James J. Belden, Alfred A. Howlett, John W. Archbold, Theodore Irwin, Edwin Nottingham, James H. Hoose, Isaac Gibbard, Luke C. Queal, David Decker, Forrest G. Weeks, James B. Brooks, Edmund Ocumpaugh, J. E. Bills, J. B. Wentworth, Francis H. Root, Nathaniel C. Husted, John D. Slatback, John T. Martin, William I. Preston, George Lansing Taylor, Philo Remington, George P. Folts, William H. Reese, Edwin R. Redhead, J. W. Eaton, William H. Hughes, L. L. Sprague, A. Griffin, William Connell, William H. Olin and their successors, shall be and forever remain a body politic and corporate, in fact and in name, by the name of Syracuse University; and by that name may and shall have continual succession forever hereafter, and shall have power and be able in law to sue and be sued, defend and be defended, in all courts and places whatsoever; to make and use a common seal, and to change and alter the same at their pleasure, to take by purchase, gift, grant, bequest, devise or in any other manner, and to hold, for the purposes for which the said corporation is organized, any real or personal property and estate whatsoever; to take and receive any grant, gift, devise or bequest charged with one or more estates for life or for years or life annuities or annuities for a term of years, in which the reversion or remainder shall go to said university for the use of such university; as one of its incidental powers, to conduct an early childhood and day care center, and to sell surplus steam and surplus chilled water produced at its steam plant and with appropriate consents to convey the same through underground lines in streets and across the property of others to its tenants, to the County of Onondaga, and to educational, hospital, charitable, religious, and public housing corporations, operating exclusively as such, from which no officer, member or employee receives or may be entitled to receive any pecuniary profit from the operations thereof, except reasonable compensation for services in effecting one or more such purposes; and the said trustees and their successors shall have power to give, grant, demise, mortgage or otherwise dispose of, with or without the usual covenants of warranty, all or any part of the said real and personal estate as to them shall seem best for the interest of said university.


Said corporation shall be non-sectarian. Its affairs shall be conducted by a board of trustees consisting of not less than twenty members, the number and term to be fixed from time to time by the board of trustees in the bylaws. The chancellor and such other persons, if any, as shall be specified in the bylaws shall be ex-officio trustees. Such number of the trustees as shall be fixed by the bylaws shall be alumni of Syracuse University of not less than five years’ standing and shall be elected by the alumni association of said university. Except in the case of ex officio trustees and as otherwise provided herein or in the bylaws, all trustees shall be chosen by ballot by said board of trustees at its annual meeting to be held in the city of Syracuse, New York at such time during the last week of the collegiate year as the chair of the board shall determine.


The said trustees and their successors shall have power to make bylaws prescribing rules for their government, the manner of filling vacancies in said board of trustees, and for the purposes of carrying into effect the provisions of this act, and to make and establish all such rules and ordinances, as to them shall seem expedient or necessary, for carrying into effect the purposes of said corporation, not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of this State and of the United States.


A majority of the voting trustees in office at any given time, or such higher number as may be specified in the bylaws, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business. If a quorum shall not be present at any meeting of the board, a majority of the trustees present may adjourn the meeting from time to time, without notice other than announcement at the meeting, until a quorum shall be present.


The said trustees and their successors shall have power to appoint and remove their own officers and all officers of said university, and prescribe their duties and fix their salaries. If and to the extent authorized in the bylaws, the chancellor may appoint one or more officers of the university, subject to approval by the board.


That all the real and personal estate, and all interest in any real or personal property or estate of every name and nature whatsoever, and wheresoever the same may be, which is now vested in the Syracuse University, as now constituted and organized, be and the same is hereby confirmed to and vested forever in the Syracuse University, as hereby constituted for the sole use and benefit of said university, and any debt, demand, liability, obligation or contract, incurred or entered into by said Syracuse University, prior to the passage of this act, shall remain and be as valid and may be enforced by or against said Syracuse University, as hereby constituted, in the same manner and with the same effect as if this act had not been passed. And nothing in this act contained shall be deemed to impair, or in any manner affect, any claim, right, title, or interest of said trustees, or said university, in or to any property, real or personal, acquired by or vested in, or any debt, demand or liability incurred by, or contract or obligation entered into by said trustees or said university prior to the passage of this act; and nothing in this act contained shall in any manner affect or impair the present right, title or interest of any person, or of the heirs or legal representatives of any person, in or to any property at any time claimed, or which shall hereafter be claimed by such trustees as such or by said corporation, nor shall anything in this act contained in any manner affect any action or proceeding now pending to which said corporation is a party, and it shall be lawful to and for the said trustees or their successors, or the said university, as hereby constituted, to grant, bargain, sell, demise, mortgage, improve and dispose of said property, and to pay, cancel or discharge such liabilities, and to perform or enforce such contracts or obligations in such manner as to them shall seem meet, and for the best interests of said university.


The object of said corporation is and shall be the diffusion of knowledge, and to promote learning, literature, science and art, in their various departments, and the knowledge of the learned professions.


The said trustees and their successors are hereby empowered to create as departments of said university, a college of medicine, a college of theology, a college of liberal arts, a college of law, a college of industrial arts, a college of fine arts, a college of letters, and such other colleges or departments as said trustees shall deem expedient or necessary to accomplish the purposes of said university; to prescribe rules and regulations for the government of the same; to grant and issue to the students or graduates of any such college such degrees and diplomas and such honorary degrees as are usually granted or issued by institutions of like nature in the United States, subject to the provisions of this act and other applicable law; and to confer appropriate Syracuse University degrees and diplomas upon students of Utica College who satisfactorily fulfill the requirements for such degrees and diplomas, as those requirements are from time to time established by Utica College with the express concurrence of the university in conformity with this charter and the bylaws and other requirements of the university as to its degrees and diplomas.


All such degrees and diplomas so granted shall entitle the possessor thereof to the immunities and privileges allowed by usage or statute to the possessors of like degrees and diplomas from any university, college or seminary of learning in this state.


All medical degrees and diplomas heretofore granted by the said Syracuse University, or the faculty of the college of medicine in said university, and which may be granted at the next commencement of said medical college, to the students or graduates of the said college of medicine in said university, who shall have pursued in said college the course of study heretofore prescribed by the rules and regulations thereof, and which degrees or diplomas have been or shall be at said next commencement conferred after examination entitling said students and graduates thereto, are hereby legalized and declared to be valid, and of like sufficiency, force and effect as medical degrees, diplomas, certificates or licenses granted or issued by any lawfully constituted or incorporated medical society, college, university or chartered medical school in this State.


The said university shall be subject to the visitation of the Regents of the University of this State, in the same manner and to the same extent as the various colleges of this State, and, as to locations within this State away from the main campus of the said university, may offer such courses of study and degree programs as authorized by the said Regents.


The said corporation shall possess the powers conferred by, and be subject to the provisions of the education law.


This Act shall take effect immediately.

Policy Administration

Links to Procedures and Related Information

Passed: May 19, 1887
As Amended By:
Chapter 43, Laws of 1889
Chapter 501, Laws of 1895
Chapter 13, Laws of 1906
Chapter 81, Laws of 1920
Chapter 532, Laws of 1952
Chapter 669, Laws of 1966
Chapter 862, Laws of 1975
Chapter 84, Laws of 1995
Chapter 227, Laws of 2002