Southampton College, the easternmost campus of Long Island University, opened with great promise in 1963 and closed in 2005 amidst great acrimony. Located in an idyllic environmental setting on the Atlantic shore of Long Island, it had a nationally recognized marine science program that produced an unprecedented number of Fulbright awards and an impressive number of alumni who went on to careers in prestigious universities and research centers.
David Steinberg, the president of Long Island University since 1985, referred to Southampton as “the jewel in the university crown.” However, an accumulating yearly deficit led Steinberg and the Long Island Board of Trustees to view the campus as an “albatross around the university neck.”
Based on extensive interviews of faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and staff, Running on Empty: The Rise and Fall of Southampton College, 1963–2005 (SUNY Press, 2013) by John A. Strong is both a celebration of a college beloved by those who were part of the campus community and a cautionary tale of an educational institution struggling to survive without a sufficient endowment.
John A. Strong is Professor Emeritus at Long Island University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Unkechaug Indians of Eastern Long Island: A History.
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