The Academic Acropolis
The Venerable Institutions of Morningside Heights Transform in the New Century

June 10, 2022
Morningside Heights Neighborhood, NYC | 8:00 AM–4:45 PM

Access available session recordings and slides on the program page.


New York City’s Morningside Heights rapidly developed in the nineteenth century and boasts two historic districts and numerous landmarks. Situated high on a plateau, it was dubbed the “academic acropolis” by the numerous academic, religious, and nonprofit institutions who moved to the area. The neighborhood remains a unique community to this day, with a strong sense of place and long-standing institutional connections. Join us for this one-day symposium and learn about institutional histories, recent developments, the maintenance of historic campuses, and their climate transition plans.

The morning sessions will begin with a panel discussion of academic leaders from Morningside Heights, who will discuss how they cooperate and interact amongst themselves and participate in initiatives that benefit the greater community. Looking to the future, they will also share how their institutions are adapting to an ever-changing environment. Other sessions will focus on preserving historic treasures, campus expansion planning in tight urban environments, and sustainable approaches to historic buildings while moving towards net zero carbon goals.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the history of a university town and its role in a large urban setting.
  2. Discuss how to update historic campus buildings and spaces to incorporate new technology and pedagogy methods while respecting historic preservation values.
  3. Assess the best financial and planning strategies for incorporating campus expansion within a dense urban environment while respecting historic buildings and protecting community needs.
  4. Identify sustainable strategies for moving historic landmarks and buildings toward a net zero carbon future.

AIA LU 7.0 Unit (SCUPN22M1)
AICP CM 7.0 Unit

After the sessions, registrants will be offered a choice of walking tours that will examine Morningside Heights, its historic buildings and campuses, and special spaces discussed in the morning sessions. The tours will be led by institutional hosts, aided by SCUP volunteers.

The symposium will be held at Manhattan School of Music in the William R. and Irene D. Miller Recital Hall.

Featured Speakers

PresidentManhattan School of Music
PresidentUnion Theological Seminary
ChancellorThe Jewish Theological Seminary
Vice President, Facilities & Site OperationsInternational House
Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus SafetyManhattan School of Music
Assistant Vice President in the Office of Environmental StewardshipColumbia University
Associate Professor of Professional Practice Director, Campus Sustainability and Climate ActionBarnard College

North Atlantic Symposium Sponsors

Learn about sponsorship.