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SUNY Brockport’s eclipse celebration offers “once in a lifetime” experience for college community

By Sarah Prentice

Brockport, NY – A total solar eclipse took place in Western New York during the afternoon of Monday, April 8 and Brockport, New York was one of the towns located right on the eclipse’s line of totality.

In order to celebrate the rare astronomical phenomenon, SUNY Brockport hosted an event titled “Total Eclipse of the Port” that brought out a crowd of over 1,000 people.

The event featured food trucks, lawn games, a live band, and plenty of unique spots to take photos and hang out with loved ones during the eclipse.

SUNY Brockport President Heidi MacPherson said her favorite moment from the event was seeing smiles on the faces of so many students and community members. She also hoped students would “savor” the moment of experiencing a total solar eclipse.

“I just want the community to come together and have an excellent time right here on the centerline, where we get extra seconds of totality,” said MacPherson. “...I hope they will always remember their time at Brockport because they got to experience this. It’s not going to come back again in our lifetimes, not here anyway.”

Both students and SUNY Brockport alumni attending the event mentioned feeling in awe of how they were able to experience a “once in a lifetime” event.

“With this eclipse, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Normally we don’t see this kind of thing for a 100 years in the same location,” said SUNY Brockport freshman and meteorology major, Lucas. “So it's really special to be here, right now, in the moment… All I can do is stand and marvel at how beautiful it's going to be.”

“Well I've never seen a total solar eclipse before. And like a Bills superbowl, I want to see that before I die,” said Brockport alum Dennis Thompson with a giant smile on his face.

He is now a resident of San Diego, but he made sure to be back in Brockport for the total solar eclipse.

Thompson added that “Brockport never really leaves you.”

SUNY Brockport alum Andrew Fink, who graduated in 1993 and now lives in New York City with his family, echoed the same sentiment.

“Just the energy that the college has,” Fink explained. “The enthusiasm the administration, the students have, just all the positivity the college brings to the community…really showcases what Brockport is.”

Apart from bringing together SUNY Brockport students and alumni, the event also attracted high school students, New York State residents, and even out-of-staters to celebrate the unique experience on Monday.

SUNY Brockport was the only university in the U.S. to be located exactly on the centerline of the 2024 eclipse.

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