Since its inception, Farmingdale State College has developed some of the most intriguing and celebrated traditions on Long Island, many of which remain today. The campus carillon continues to toll; the Memorial Oak continues to remind us of the sacrifices made by young soldiers in the last Century. Among the lasting traditions are the school colors, green and white, which are used by the athletics teams and commonly seen in the architecture and signage on campus. "Go Green" is not only an environmental slogan familiar to faculty and students concerned with the state of the planet, it's also a chant heard at basketball games.
Many of the campus traditions reside in some of the oldest buildings on campus, such as Hicks Hall and Cutler Hall, which were constructed in 1914; Horton Hall, which was named after D. Hart Horton, a Poultry Science professor; Knapp Hall, which once served as a residence hall and now houses the University Club; Conklin Hall, which was the location of the first heating plant; and Thompson Hall, which was originally the administration building.
At Farmingdale State, faculty and students get a glimpse of tradition every day just by strolling across an historic campus.
Cutler and Hicks Halls' WPA Murals
Hicks and Cutler Halls are home to four oil on canvas murals, painted in 1936, during the depression-era programs of the Works Progress Administration, by Frederick Marshall and C.E.Lessing. This program, later the Works Projects Administration (WPA), was intended to employ artists in creating highly visible public art. Commonly the murals showed American life in the local settings where the works would be permanently displayed. These murals depart from the pattern of showing local scenes. Featured below, the 6-foot-by-19-foot mural by Marshall depicts rice being harvested in a landscape dominated by a mountain looking much like Mount Fuji.
Cutler Hall, left wall of staircase. Frederick Marshall, rice harvesting, oil on canvas, 1936
Additionally, the buildings feature a 6 x 15 mural of a wheat-threshing scene. And even more curious, one of Marshall's murals in Hicks Hall, appears to show slaves picking cotton in the antebellum South, with a plantation mansion and a riverboat in the background. The Lessing mural in Cutler Hall, a 6 x 19 mural, shows a redwood forest that could only be on the West Coast.
Located outside Whitman Hall, the Memorial Oak was planted on June 4, 1921 to honor those who fought in World War I. Soils from every state and all Allied Nations were collected for the planting.
A plaque at the base of the Oak contains a dedication: This Oak, Planted June 4, 1921, Commemorates The Efforts, Sacrifices And Achievements Of All Americans Who Gave Their Lives In The World War.
Its Roots Rest in Soil From All The Allied Nations, From Every State And Dependency Of Our Country, From The Bloody Angle Of Gettysburg And From The Arc De Triomphe Of France.
"On Fames Eternal Camping-Ground Their Silent Tents Are Spread, And Glory Guards With Solemn Round The Bivouac Of The Dead."
This Tablet Is The Gift Of The Class Of 1927.
Thompson Hall Mosaic
In the vestibule of Thompson Hall, a mosaic depicts a shingled 1½ story cottage, similar to the style often seen on the East End of Long Island.
Built into the left side of the vestibule as you enter through the outside door, the mosaic is approximately 4 x 3 in size. Created with smooth, irregularly shaped tiles and with great attention to detail, it shows the side of a wooden house, separated from another house in the distance by a picket fence. Trees and peonies are in bloom, so the artist must have wanted to depict late May - early June on Long Island.
The artist who created this mosaic was John L. Northam, according to an article in the Press Wireless Signal of Queens, N.Y. A pressman at the Wireless, as well as a professor at NYU from 1925-28, Northam is described as a designer, painter, architect and artist. The article refers to the mosaic as "Home Sweet Home."
According to Northam's son, Basil, a resident of Southold, NY, Northam worked for the Works Project Administration during the Depression. Why "Home Sweet Home" was the chosen subject of the mosaic in Thompson Hall is not known.
Annual Garden Festival
The annual Garden Festival—a unique and widely-acclaimed campus tradition— attracts thousands of visitors from throughout the region. The event is one of the most well-known spring activities across Long Island, showcasing the horticultural talents and efforts of students and faculty. Funds from the sale of plants and flowers go to support Farmingdale’s Horticulture department, one of the College’s oldest and most revered academic programs. Tours of the College's Ornamental Teaching Gardens--one of the finest of its kind in the nation--are held for alumni as part of the festivities.
Farmingdale State Alma Mater
On the land between the waters
Where the wind blows from the sea
Stands our noble Alma Mater
For everyone to see.
We will raise her name to glory
As the years go rolling by
Her precepts stand before us now
Like stars up in the sky.
We salute thee Alma Mater
As we gather here today
All thy sons and all thy daughters
Will honor thee always.
As our voices swell the chorus
We will hold on high your light
Fling wide your banner over us
Fair hues of Green and White.
Farmingdale State's intercollegiate athletic teams are called the Rams, a tribute not only to the College's legacy as an agricultural institute, but also to the characteristics associated with rams: power, force, drive, energy, protection, and fearlessness. The use of a live ram mascot dates back as far as the 1940s. Today, a student wearing a ram costume serves in the role. The name of the mascot-"Ram-bo"- was chosen in an online contest in 2008, with the winning name outpolling other suggestions such as Ozzie, Doc, Roger, and Dale.