The College Student Personnel Association of New York State, Inc (CSPA-NYS) was originally founded as the New York State College Personnel Association (NYSCPA) in 1967.  NYSCPA was affiliated with the New York State Personnel and Guidance Association (NYSPGA) and chartered as a State Division of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) in 1968.  Dr. Daniel Bratton served as the first president of the new organization.  In 1977 another professional organization was founded, Student Personnel Association of New York State (SPA-NYS). Mike D’Attilio served as the initial president of this organization.

In 1981, NYSCPA made the decision to disaffiliate from the New York State Personnel and Guidance Association (NYSPGA). The membership of the NYSCPA felt that the interests of Student Affairs professionals were not being adequately addressed by the PGA organization.  Then in July of 1981 the memberships of NYSCPA and SPA-NYS approved a merger of the two organizations.  Dr. Carl Glenister served as the first president of newly incorporated CSPA-NYS, after winning a coin toss with Dr. Patrick Smith. The coin toss occurred on the grounds of Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center along the shores of Lake George.

Despite the organizational merger and formal state incorporation, CSPA-NYS retained their state charter, one of the first two, and their affiliated relationship with ACPA.  CSPA-NYS was known as a leader amongst the state organizations and was one of the most active of the ACPA state divisions, often recognized for its involvement within ACPA. The organization was honored with the Outstanding State Divisions National Award for Membership, Recruitment & Retention in 1983 and again in 2015. In addition, the Association was awarded the Innovative Program Award in 2001 for the Chief Student Affairs Officers Symposium, in 2002 for the Student Leadership Conference, in 2006 for the Annual Conference, in 2009 for the Next-Gen Program, and in 2010 for the Community College Institute. CSPA-NYS was also named Outstanding ACPA State Division for 1986, 1987, and once again in 1998! Five of our Presidents have been recognized by ACPA as Outstanding State Leaders; Dr. Patrick Smith (1982), Madison Boyce (1985), Dennis McDonald (1996), Christine Strong (2001), and Eileen Merberg (2015).  

A professional development conference is held during the fall of each year. The first conference was held at Ithaca College in 1981 with a total of 60 people in attendance. In 1982, 386 professionals and students attended the first conference held at Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center and a tradition was born. Silver Bay was the location of the conference every other year between 1983 and 2003, alternating with hotels around the state of NY.  Beginning in 2004 the annual conference has been held across the state at varying hotels and conference centers.  

With changes in federal tax laws came changes to the state charter relationships.  After deep organizational analysis and assessment, in 2014 the CSPA-NYS leadership and membership voted to disaffiliate from ACPA.  However, the organization continues to forge and maintain partnerships with ACPA and other professional student affairs organizations.  Concurrent with changes in tax laws and disaffiliation from ACPA, CSPA-NYS filed for tax-exempt status, officially becoming a 501c3 organization on August 20, 2014.  The tax-exempt status significantly benefits the organization and its’ members financially, affording more opportunity to support the professional development and growth of membership.

Bringing affordable and accessible quality professional development to the members all across NY State has always been at the core of the organization’s mission.  From regions with regional coordinators in the past to the more recent “Coffee and Conversation” and “Higher Ed Happy Hour” event series’ held all around the state, CSPA-NYS diligently tries to be present and supportive of all of its membership.  To this end, annual 1-day conference initiatives such as the Community College Institute, the Urban College Institute, and the partnership with the New York Leadership Educators Consortium were developed to meet the needs of our diverse membership.

CPSA-NYS is strong and vibrant and continues to thrive, working diligently to meet the needs of its’ diverse membership that stretches through all the corners of New York State and represents a wide sampling of student affairs students, researchers, faculty, and practitioners.  CSPA-NYS has a rich heritage and a legacy that continues to be lived today through its executive board, but most of all through its talented members.