Established by the SUNY Board of Trustees in 1966, "Upper Division College at Herkimer-Rome-Utica" began offering graduate education classes to 300 students in 1969 using classrooms at West Frankfort Elementary School. In May 1971, the college began operating in the former Globe Mill building in West Utica. The former mill was gradually remodeled into classrooms, offices, and a library.
In 1973, the college was granted authority to offer bachelor's degree programs; the first 58 full-time undergraduates began attending classes in the fall. With growing enrollment, the institution leased three additional buildings in West Utica and one in Rome, and adopted a new name in 1977: the State University of New York College of Technology at Utica-Rome.
In 1981, groundbreaking ceremonies were held in Marcy for the new campus. The first building, Kunsela Hall, was completed in 1984, and the college operated two campuses during a transitional period. In the 1987 fall semester, entering students attended all classes at the new campus; in 1988-89, the college name was changed to the “State University of New York Institute of Technology at Utica-Rome.” Other buildings followed: Donovan Hall, the Campus Center, a service building, Adirondack Residence Hall, Mohawk Residence Hall, and the Cayan Library. As part of a substantial expansion in campus infrastructure, a $13 million student center, a $20 million field house and a $23.5 million residence hall were completed in 2011. The next major construction project planned is a technology complex comprising the $27.5 million Center for Advanced Technology and Computer Chip Commercialization Center.
Building on its undergraduate and graduate degree programs in technology and professional studies, SUNYIT continued to expand its academic offerings from 2000-2010, adding two MBAs and several undergraduate programs including electrical and computer engineering, network and computer security, and biology. In 2003, SUNYIT accepted its first freshmen; the first class was graduated in May 2007, completing SUNYIT’s transition from transfer institution to four-year college.