Back to School: 10 of the Country's Ugliest College Campuses

UC Irvine
University of California-Irvine

Oh, the college visit, where young freshmen-to-be are introduced to the "cool" professors who hold their classes outside, the "nice" cafeteria with its taco nights and baked-potato bar, the "down-to-earth" kid who has figured out how to balance school, social life and the rowing team (he also belongs to some frat and plays piano), and, of course, the gorgeous neo-Gothic (or neoclassical, or Federal-style, or something particularly uppity-sounding) architecture of what you will declare to be your future campus.

They don't tell you the truth about college. That cool professor? Fired for smoking pot with his students. The nice cafeteria? There's an apple Nazi ready to pounce at the door if you carry your fresh fruit with you out of the building. The kid who seems to have it all figured out? He doesn't exist. The architecture? Well, the architecture is real, but you'll never have class in one of those gorgeous buildings. Instead, you'll find yourself 99.7 percent of the time inside a 1970s concrete monstrosity with mustard-yellow walls and no windows.

Sure, buildings are just buildings, and schools should be judged not by their architecture alone but by the level of thought that emanates from their walls. Still, there are some really ugly campuses out there, and we took to the Internet (our days of college visits are long over) to find them.

Here are ten of the ugliest/wackiest/huh? college campuses in America.

10. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

IUPUI Informatics Building

9. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona campus

Cal Poly Pomona CLA Building

My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
Troy Schulze
Troy Schulze

I went to SUNY Purchase, and when I saw this post I was thinking, "Please let it be number one." Late Modernist/Penitentiary/Third Reich.

jfc1
jfc1

I made the comment about the SUNY schools having good 50-meter pools & offering a good education . . . I have to agree with Ms. Uticone that there are beautiful SUNY campuses . . . I kind of like SUNY Oswego, because it's there on the big lake, Lake Ontario.

The photo of the University of California -- Irvine campus wasn't beautiful . . . it reminded me of a prison yard with picnic tables.

A lot of folks say that Cornell University has the most beautiful campus of any US college -- but I disagree. I think that it is built on a spectacular location, but that most of the buildings are poor to average. Except up on the SUNY (the Ag Quad) portion of the campus, which used to have beautiful old buildings in a friendly New York agricultural sort of style -- for example, the doors to some of the buildings had brass on the front of them that were engraved with sheaves of wheat. Unfortunately, many have been replaced by now.

ssd3
ssd3

Really? I think Cornell has a GORGEous campus (get it?)

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I think Cornell is really lovely, but Ithaca College is also a beautiful campus. They both definitely benefit from their beautiful surroundings in the Finger Lakes.

But maybe I'm biased, since I grew up just up the road. :)

Sarah Odom
Sarah Odom

I'm sad that Oral Roberts University didn't make the cut. :-(

jfc
jfc

Unfair! The SUNY campuses (that's State University of New York campuses) are on the whole NOT very attractive, but most of them have 50 meter indoor pools and they give a good education . . .

GreatDaneInHTown
GreatDaneInHTown

As a SUNY Albany grad living in Houston, I'm just happy you've heard of it down here.

scotter
scotter

I guess ugly is in the eye of the beholder. 

Designed by renowned American architect Edward Durell Stone, the SUNY Albany campus you viciously dissed was described by world renowned architectural critic Thomas A. Gaines in his "The Campus as a Work of Art" (Praeger Press, 1991), as "dazzling, one-of-a-kind" and "a formal masterpiece" and "a study in classical romanticism." 

That campus also happens to be the home of my alma mater, and a place of many cherished memories. 

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Good point, scotter! Albany is ugly, but the SUNY campus ain't bad. That said: lighten up, buddy! :)

SUNYschoolsAREugly
SUNYschoolsAREugly

I was going to toss in SUNY Purchase, my Alma, which was designed to be a prison in the 1970s. There were slight gaps under the doors in the event that police needed to toss knock-out gas at inmates.

Troy Schulze
Troy Schulze

Actually, there were prison architects involved in the design, specifically due to the campus riot of the '60s, but the site was meant to be a college. I remember that gap under my dormroom door. And the tunnels under campus were built to roll tanks through. 

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

YO, Caroline! I'm calling you OUT on this one. The big ones (Albany, Buffalo, Binghamton) are pretty ugly but there are beautiful ones, particularly the smaller ones. For example, SUNY Geneseo is one of the prettiest college campuses in NY! I should know--I went there! My husband's alma mater, SUNY Cortland isn't bad either. My brother went to SUNY Oswego which isn't GREAT .... but they have awesome bars :)

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Health & Beauty

Houston Event Tickets
Loading...