The boat building program officially began as
a part of the Buffalo State College Design Department in 1988, recognizing
the importance of boat design, naval architecture, and the craft
of boat construction as important fields within the design disciplines.
The first courses were offered by Professor William Bartoo as an
outgrowth of the furniture program. Bartoo was soon joined by Design
Department Chair Richard Butz and design historian John Montague.
These events occurred at a critical moment in the international wooden
boat revival and the program quickly evolved into an academic minor,
including courses in the "history of naval architecture," "small
boat construction," and "traditional and experimental design."
With the generous help of WoodenBoat
Museum, and other established institutions, the program
rapidly evolved into what became the Center
for Watercraft Studies,
the first college-based academic program of its kind.