Draper Hall was opened in September 1909 as the Administration Building, one of three buildings (with the Science Building and the Auditorium) on the original Western Avenue (Downtown) Campus. The exteriors of the three original buildings were designed by Albert Randolph Ross, architect, and the interior by State Architect George Lewis Heins. The total cost for the three buildings was $366,000, not including the land. On December 12, 1927 the Administration Building was renamed Draper Hall. A major addition to the building facing Washington Avenue, known at the time as the Draper Annex or the Commerce Building, was opened in September 1951 at a cost of $800,000. The addition was designed by Harold O. Fullerton, architect, in 1946, and by the State Architect Cornelius J. White. Draper Hall is currently the home of the School of Criminal Justice and the School of Information Science and Policy, the Center for Women in Government, and the Michael J. Hindelang Research Center.
Andrew Sloan Draper (1848-1913), politician and educator, was twice chairman of the New York State Normal School/Normal College's Executive Committee/Board of Trustees, and twice responsible for changing its academic mission. In 1890 Draper, with President Milne, changed the New York State Normal School, which trained common or elementary school teachers, into the New York State Normal College (1890-1914), a strictly pedagogical school whose mission included the training of high school teachers and administrators. In 1905 Commissioner of Education Draper transformed the school into a four-year liberal arts college for teachers whose mission was restricted to training high school teachers. Thanks to Commissioner Draper, who insisted that Albert R. Ross be hired to design the exterior, the Western Avenue (Downtown) Campus, has a beautiful classical Georgian facade.