On October 5, 1903, “a volunteer General Committee” of “gentlemen” met in the Syracuse home of Professor John Edson Sweet “for the purpose of making plans for the creation of a professional and social organization among the engineers of Syracuse.” Thus was born the Technology Club of Syracuse, incorporated in 1907, and now doing business as the Technology Alliance of Central New York (TACNY) since 2002. Subsequent to this meeting, Professor Sweet was elected the Club’s first President (list of all presidents). Charter members paid five dollars in dues, equivalent to approximately $150 today. Current members pay nothing to join and/or participate.
In addition to his position as Professor of Practical Mechanics at Cornell University, Sweet was an inventor, and president of the Straight Line Engine Company. Recognizing the need for trained technicians, he founded The Artisan School in Syracuse. As this need was more widely recognized, and alternative education made available, the assets of The Artisan School were transferred into a Sweet Lecture Fund to be used by the Club. Beginning in 1913, Sweet Lectures were very popular, with attendance as high as 1,000. Over the years, Sweet lecturers have included Herbert Hoover, Willis Carrier, Jacques Cousteau, R. Buckminster Fuller, Igor Sikorsky, Louis Leakey, and many others. TACNY continues to present a minimum of six Sweet Science presentations annually. All are free and open to the public.
In 1946, founding member and former Technology Club president Simon Storer gifted land in the Town of Onondaga along West Seneca Turnpike, Rt. 175, to the Club. Storer was an electrical engineering pioneer in the transmission of power from Niagara Falls to Syracuse. In 1953, a seismographic facility was built on the land to be used as an educational facility. When Onondaga Community College opened in 1973 adjacent to the property, ownership of about 25 acres was transferred to the College, including the seismograph station. In return, TACNY has a permanent home on the campus, and a 400 seat auditorium, located in the then technical arts wing of Ferrante Hall, was named after Storer.
Although mostly catering to individuals, several technical societies were also members of the Technology Club. In 1963, a separate Technical Societies Council of Greater Syracuse merged with the Technology Club, with the Club named chair of a new Technical Societies Council. Various technical societies collaborate with TACNY on programs, including the Celebration of Technology Awards, and the Engineering Expo.
Also in the 1960’s, the Tech Club was promoting the need for a science museum in Syracuse, and joined the Metropolitan Council of Arts and Sciences. The Club was asked to participate in the planning and implementation of a museum, and committed a half million dollars towards the project, but local sources of additional funding did not respond sufficiently and the idea dropped. In 1977, the Club was asked to team with the Junior League of Syracuse and the Syracuse chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, and in 1981, the Discovery Center of Science and Technology, now the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology, opened on Clinton Street. TACNY continues to provide support to the Museum.
In recent years, new programs have been added, while still staying true to the original intent of a “professional and social organization.” Award banquets were first introduced in 1989, when we began to annually recognize outstanding K-12 STEM educators in Central NY. In 1999, we created the Celebration of Technology Awards that recognizes outstanding individual, project, and company technology achievement, as well as for outstanding STEM outreach and college STEM educators. In 2017, the teacher awards were combined into the Celebration. In 2005, the TACNY Junior Café Scientifique began offering monthly presentations intended for a middle/junior high school audience. In 2022 we debuted TACNY STEM Trekkers, a two day summer program for middle/junior high school students interested in robotics. We also provide both volunteer and financial support to a number of community STEM events hosted by our Technical Society Council partners.
Technology Club of Syracuse Founded
Land in Town of Onondaga donated by Simon Storer
Co-founded Discovery Center of Science & Technology