People celebrate Farmingdale State College's 100th anniversary and view the...

People celebrate Farmingdale State College's 100th anniversary and view the items dug up from the 1987 time capsule. (April 12, 2012) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Farmingdale State College will increase enrollment, hire more professors and start offering graduate degrees -- part of a 10-point, 10-year plan the college's president detailed Thursday.

"We can't be complacent because everything around us is advancing," college president W. Hubert Keen said at a campus event celebrating the institution's 100th anniversary.

"If we just stay where we are," he said, "we will be slipping backward."

The afternoon event featured an invocation, full military color guard, rededication of a post-World War II oak tree and the opening of a 1987 time capsule.

The celebration capped a series of smaller events commemorating the college's inception on April 15, 1912.

Under the plan, called Farmingdale Forward, the college would admit 1,000 more students, bringing total enrollment to 8,400 by 2023. Over the same period, it would add 70 more tenure-track instructors, bringing the number of faculty to 270.

The first master of science program in engineering technology management will be offered as early as next spring. There will likely be at least five master's level programs at the school in 10 years, Keen said.

The expansion at Farmingdale comes at a time when demand for public education is rising, making the school more competitive, and the college is getting millions in private money to offset state budget cuts, officials said.

More than $2.1 million in research dollars and another $2 million in private fundraising this year will help fund the plan, said George LaRosa, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

In September 2011, alumna Theresa Patnode Santmann donated $1 million to enhance health science education.

Santmann graduated with a degree in nursing and built and operated Little Flower Nursing Home in East Islip and Petite Fleur Nursing Home in Sayville. The gift was the largest private donation in the college's history.

Students such as Anthony Bacchus, 22, a senior from East Islip, say the school is still a good value and the course offerings are attractive to young people with an eye on the job market.

Bacchus initially planned to major in anthropology at Stony Brook University, but transferred to Farmingdale because the engineering firm where he currently works offered to pay half his tuition.

He says he would consider graduate school.

"Seems like a lot of local businesses respect Farmingdale," he said.

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