1921: NYSTRS officially begins operating on August 1, 1921 out of the State Education Building in Albany, and 19,000 NYS public school teachers become members that first year. The System’s “superannuation plan” combines a defined benefit pension with an annuity component based on required member contributions. System investments initially consist entirely of bonds (government, municipal, state); investments in stocks, mortgages and real estate were permitted later.
1930: The System moves to the Standard Building at 112 State St. in downtown Albany.
1931: Active membership totals 42,000. Net worth totals $46 million. There are 2,800 retirees receiving $1 million in annual benefits.
1935: NYSTRS moves to 152 Washington Ave., Albany.
1940: A revised NYS Constitution goes into effect which includes an amendment guaranteeing state public pension benefits. Article V, Section 1, says: "After July 1, 1940, membership in any pension or retirement system of the state or of a civil division thereof shall be a contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired."
1941: System assets pass the $100 million mark.
1948: A hand-operated adding machine is used to print teacher service and retirement records, replacing handwritten records for the first time.
1949: The state enacts a prior service bill which allows members with 20 years of service to purchase enough uncredited prior service to make them eligible for retirement.