City College of New York

City College of New York
City College of New York
CCNY seal
Motto Respice, Adspice, Prospice
(Look back, look at, and look ahead)
Established 1847
Type Public
Endowment $131 million[1]
President Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico, (2010-)
Provost Dr. Martin Moskovits
Academic staff 508 (full time)
Admin. staff 401
Students 15,889
Undergraduates 12,541
Postgraduates 3,282
Location New York City, NY, USA
Campus Urban
Athletics 16 sports teams
Colors Lavender      and Black     
Mascot Beaver
Affiliations City University of New York

The City College of the City University of New York (known more commonly as the City College of New York or simply City College, CCNY, or colloquially as City) is a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning.[2] City College's thirty-five acre Manhattan campus along Convent Avenue from 130th Street to 141st Street[3] is on a hill overlooking Harlem; its neo-Gothic campus was mostly designed by George Browne Post, and many of its buildings are landmarks.

CCNY was the first free public institution of higher education in the United States[4] and also for many years has been considered the flagship campus of the CUNY public university system.[5]



Early history - 19th century

Shepard Hall, rear entrance, viewed the west from Convent Avenue, City College of New York, 2010.
City College of New York in 2010, North Campus, looking West. Wingate Hall on the left, Townsend Harris Hall in the background.

The City College of New York was originally founded as the Free Academy of the City of New York in 1847 by wealthy businessman and president of the Board of Education Townsend Harris.[6] A combination prep school and college, it would provide children of immigrants and the poor access to free higher education based on academic merit alone.

The Free Academy was the first of what would become a system of municipally-supported colleges. Hunter College, the second, was founded as a women's institution in 1870. Brooklyn College, the third, was established as a coeducational institution in 1930.

In 1847, New York State Governor John Young had given permission to the Board of Education to found the Free Academy, which was ratified in a statewide referendum. Founder Townsend Harris proclaimed, "Open the doors to all… Let the children of the rich and the poor take their seats together and know of no distinction save that of industry, good conduct and intellect."

Dr. Horace Webster, a West Point graduate, was the first president of the Free Academy. On the occasion of The Free Academy's formal opening, January 21, 1849, Webster said:

The experiment is to be tried, whether the children of the people, the children of the whole people, can be educated; and whether an institution of the highest grade, can be successfully controlled by the popular will, not by the privileged few.[7]

A view of the original entrance to Shepard Hall, the main building of City College of New York, in the early 1900s, on its new campus in Hamilton Heights, from St. Nicholas Avenue looking up westward to St. Nicholas Terrace.

In 1847, a curriculum was adopted which had nine main fields: mathematics, history, language, literature, drawing, natural philosophy, experimental philosophy, law, and political economy. The Academy's first graduation took place in 1853 in Niblo's Garden Theatre,[8] a large theater and opera house on Broadway, near Houston Street at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street.

Even in its early years, the Free Academy showed tolerance for diversity, especially in comparison to its urban neighbor, Columbia College, which then wasn't much more than a finishing school for wealthy young gentlemen. The Free Academy had a framework of tolerance that extended beyond the admission of students from every social stratum. In 1854, Columbia's trustees denied Oliver Wolcott Gibbs, a distinguished chemist and scientist, a faculty position because of Gibbs's religious beliefs. He was a Unitarian. Gibbs was a professor and held an appointment at the Free Academy since 1848.[9] (In 1863, Gibbs went on to an appointment at Harvard University, the Rumsford Professorship in Chemistry, where he had a distinguished career. In 1873, he was awarded an honorary degree from Columbia with a unanimous vote by its Trustees with the strong urging of President Barnard.[10][11]) Later in the history of CCNY, in the early 1900s, President John H. Finley gave the College a more secular orientation by abolishing mandatory chapel attendance.[12] This change occurred at a time when more Jewish students were enrolling in the College.

In 1866, the Free Academy, a men's institution, was renamed the College of the City of New York. In 1929, the College of the City of New York became the City College of New York.[5][13][14] Finally, the institution became known as the City College of the City University of New York when CUNY was formally established as the umbrella institution for New York City's municipal-college system in 1961. The names City College of New York and City College, however, remain in general use.

With the name change in 1866, lavender was chosen as the College's color. In 1867, the academic senate, the first student government in the nation, was formed. Having struggled over the issue for ten years, in 1895 the New York State legislature voted to let the College build a new campus. A four-square block site was chosen, located in Manhattanville, within the area which was enclosed by the North Campus Arches; the College, however, quickly expanded north of the Arches (see below).

Statue of Alexander S. Webb, second president of CCNY

Like President Webster, the second president of City College was a West Point graduate. The second president, General Alexander S. Webb, assumed office in 1869. One of the Union's heroes at Gettysburg, General Webb was the commander of the Philadelphia Brigade. When the Union Army repulsed the Confederates at Cemetery Hill, General Webb played a central role in the battle. Coddington[15] wrote about Webb's conduct during Pickett's Charge: "Refusing to give up, [Webb] set an example of bravery and undaunted leadership for his men to follow...." In 1891, while still president of City College, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism at Gettysburg. A full-length statue of Webb, in full military uniform, stands in his honor at the heart of the campus.[16]

The College's curriculum under Webster and Webb combined classical training in Latin and Greek with more practical subjects like chemistry, physics, and engineering. One of the outstanding Nineteenth Century graduates of City College was the Brooklyn-born George Washington Goethals, who put himself through the College in three years before going on to West Point. He later became the chief engineer on the Panama Canal. General Webb was succeeded by John Huston Finley in 1903. Finley relaxed some of the West Point-like discipline that characterized the College, including compulsory chapel attendance.[12] Delta Sigma Phi [5] was founded at CCNY in 1899 as a Jewish and Christian Fraternity, however the chapter did not last long due to Delta Sigma Phi becoming only Christian in 1914.

20th century

Education courses were first offered in 1897 in response to a city law that prohibited the hiring of teachers who lacked a proper academic background. The School of Education was established in 1921. The college newspaper, The Campus, published its first issue in 1907, and the first degree-granting evening session in the United States was started. Separate Schools of Business and Civic Administration and of Technology (Engineering) were established in 1919. Students were also required to sign a loyalty oath. In 1947, the College celebrated its centennial year, awarding honorary degrees to Bernard Baruch (class of 1889) and Robert F. Wagner (class of 1898). A 100 year time capsule was buried in North Campus.

Until 1929, City College had been an all-male institution. During that time, specifically in 1909, the first chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity was founded.[17] In 1930, CCNY admitted women for the first time, but only to graduate programs. In 1951, the entire institution became coeducational.

In the years when top-flight private schools were restricted to the children of the Protestant Establishment, thousands of brilliant individuals (including Jewish students) attended City College because they had no other option. CCNY's academic excellence and status as a working-class school earned it the titles "Harvard of the Proletariat", the "poor man's Harvard", and "Harvard-on-the-Hudson".[18]

Even today, after three decades of controversy over its academic standards,[citation needed] no other public college has produced as many Nobel laureates who have studied and graduated with a degree from a particular public college.[19] CCNY's official quote on this is "Nine Nobel laureates claim CCNY as their Alma Mater, the most from any public college in the United States."[20][21] This should not be confused with Nobel laureates who teach at a public university; UC Berkeley boasts 19.

In its heyday of the 1930s through the 1950s, CCNY became known for its political radicalism. It was said that the old CCNY cafeteria in the basement of Shepard Hall, particularly in alcove 1, was the only place in the world where a fair debate between Trotskyists and Stalinists could take place.[22][23] Being part of a political debate that began in the morning in alcove 1, Irving Howe reported that after some time had passed he would leave his place among the arguing students in order to attend class. When he returned to the cafeteria late in the day, he would find that the same debate had continued but with an entirely different cast of students.[22] Alumni who were at City College in the mid-20th century said that City College in those days made UC Berkeley in the 1960s look like a school of conformity.

The municipality of New York was considerably more conformist than CCNY students and faculty. The Philosophy Department, at the end of the 1939-1940 academic year, invited the British mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell to become a professor at CCNY. Members of the Catholic Church protested Russell’s appointment. A woman named Jean Kay filed suit against the Board of Higher Education to block Russell’s appointment on the grounds that his views on marriage and sex would adversely affect her daughter’s virtue, although her daughter was not a CCNY student. Russell wrote “a typical American witch-hunt was instituted against me.”[24] Kay won the suit, but the Board declined to appeal after considering the political pressure exerted.[25] Also see the Bertrand Russell Case.

Russell took revenge in the preface of the first edition of his book An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, which was published by the Unwin Brothers in the UK (the preface was not included in the U.S. editions). In a long précis that detailed Russell’s accomplishments including medals awarded by Columbia University and the Royal Society and faculty appointments at Oxford, Cambridge, UCLA, Harvard, the Sorbonne, Peking (the name used in that era), the LSE, Chicago, and so forth, Russell added, “Judicially pronounced unworthy to be Professor of Philosophy at the College of the City of New York.”

Many City College alumni served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Second World War. A total of 310 CCNY alumni were killed in the War. Prior to World War II, a large number of City College alumni—relative to alumni of other U.S. colleges—volunteered to serve on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. Thirteen CCNY alumni were killed in Spain.[26]

In 1945, Professor William E. Knickerbocker, Chairman of the Romance Languages Department, was accused of anti-semitism by four faculty members. They claimed that “for at least seven years they have been subjected to continual harassment and what looks very much like discrimination ....” by Knickerbocker.[27] Four years later Knickerbocker was again accused of anti-semitism, this time for denying honors to high-achieving Jewish students.[28][29] About the same time, Professor William C. Davis of the Economics Department was accused by students of maintaining a racially segregated dormitory at Army Hall.[28][30] Professor Davis was the dormitory’s administrator. CCNY students, many of whom were World War II veterans, launched a massive strike in protest against Knickerbocker and Davis.[28][31] The New York Times called the event "the first general strike at a municipal institution of higher learning."[31] Also see the Knickerbocker Case.

CCNY is the only team in men's college basketball history to win both the National Invitation Tournament and the NCAA Tournament in the same year, 1950. However, this accomplishment was overshadowed by a point shaving scandal in which seven CCNY basketball players were arrested, in 1951, for taking money from gamblers to affect the outcome of games.[32] The scandal led to the decline of CCNY from a national powerhouse in Division I basketball to a member of Division III and damaged the national profile of college basketball in general. The College currently fields nine men's and seven women's varsity athletic teams.[33]

In 1955, a City College student named Alan A. Brown founded the economics honor society, Omicron Chi Epsilon. The purpose of the society was to confer honors on outstanding economics students, organize academic meetings, and publish a journal. In 1963, Omicron Chi Epsilon merged with Omicron Delta Gamma, the other economics honor society, to form Omicron Delta Epsilon, the current academic honor society in economics.[34]

During a 1969 takeover of South campus,[35] under threat of a riot, African American and Puerto Rican activists and their white allies demanded, among other policy changes, that City College implement an aggressive affirmative action program.[6] At some point, campus protesters began referring to CCNY as "Harlem University." The administration of the City University at first balked at the demands, but instead, came up with an open admissions or open-access program under which any graduate of a New York City high school would be able to matriculate either at City College or another college in the CUNY system. Beginning in 1970, the program opened doors to college to many who would not otherwise have been able to attend college. The program, however, came at the cost of City College's and the University's academic standing as well as New York City's fiscal health.[6]

City College began charging tuition in 1976. By the 1990s, CCNY stopped admitting and offering remedial classes to students who did not meet its academic entrance requirements. CUNY then enrolled less well prepared students in its community colleges.

As a result of the 1989 student protests and building takeovers concerning tuition increases, a community action center was opened on the campus called The Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center located in the NAC building. The center was named after 1960s CCNY student activists Assata Shakur and Guillermo Morales.[36][37][38]

CCNY's new Frederick Douglass Debate Society defeated Harvard and Yale at the "Super Bowl" of the American Parliamentary Debate Association in 1996. In 2003, the College's Model UN Team was awarded as an Outstanding Delegation at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference, an honor that it would repeat for four years in a row.

The U.S. Postal Service issued a postcard commemorating CCNY's 150th Anniversary, featuring Shepard Hall, on Charter Day, May 7, 1997.

21st century

Engineering School

The City University of New York began recruiting students for the University Scholars program in the fall 2000, and admitted the first cohort of undergraduate scholars in the fall 2001. CCNY was one of five CUNY campuses, on which the program was initiated. The newly admitted scholars became undergraduates in the college's newly formed Honors Program. Students attending the CCNY Honors College are awarded free tuition, a cultural passport that admits them to New York City cultural institutions for free or at sharply reduced prices, a notebook computer, and an academic expense account that they can apply to such academic-related activities as study abroad. These undergraduates are also required to attend a number of specially developed honors courses. In 2001 CUNY initiated the CUNY Honors College, renamed Macaulay Honors College in 2007.[39] Both the CCNY Honors Program and the CCNY chapter of the Macaulay Honors College are run out of the CCNY Honors Center.

In October 2005, Dr. Andrew Grove, a 1960 graduate of the Engineering School in Chemical Engineering, and co-founder of Intel Corporation, donated $26 million to the Engineering School, which has since been renamed the Grove School of Engineering.[40] It is the largest donation ever given to the City College of New York.

In 2009, the School of Architecture moved into the former 'Y' Building.[41] The 'Y' building had been gutted and completely remodeled under the design direction of architect Rafael Viñoly. Also in 2009, school was renamed the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture in honor of the $25 million gift the Spitzers gave to the school.[42]

Campus history

The Free Academy at Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street in New York City in the 1800s.
The main City College building, Shepard Hall, looking West from St. Nicholas Avenue to Shepard Hall's main entrance on St. Nicholas Terrace (1907)


City College was originally situated in downtown Manhattan, in the Free Academy Building, which was CCNY's home from 1849 to 1907. The building was designed by James Renwick, Jr. and was located at Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street. According to some sources, it was the first Gothic Revival college building on the East Coast.[43] Renwick's building was demolished in 1928, and replaced in 1930 with a 16-story structure that is part of the present-day Baruch College campus.

North Campus

CCNY then moved to its current location in the upper Manhattan village of Manhattanville in 1906, when the Collegiate Gothic campus was erected.[44][45][46][47]

This new campus was designed by George Browne Post.

According to CCNY's published history, "The Landmark neo-Gothic buildings of the North Campus Quadrangle were designed by the noted architect George Browne Post. They are superb examples of English Perpendicular Gothic style and are among the first buildings, as an entire campus, to be built in the U.S. in this style. Groundbreaking for the Gothic Quadrangle buildings took place in 1903".

The original neo-Gothic buildings on the new upper Manhattan campus were:

  • Shepard Hall, standing on its own, across the street from the campus quadrangle on Convent Avenue
  • Baskerville Hall
  • Compton Hall
  • Harris Hall
  • Wingate Hall
Shepard Hall tower, seen from Harlem

Shepard Hall, the largest building and the centerpiece of the campus, was modeled after a Gothic cathedral plan with its main entrance on St. Nicholas Terrace.[48] It has a large chapel assembly hall called "The Great Hall" which has a mural painted by Edwin Blashfield called "The Graduate".[49][50][51]

Harris Hall, named in the original architectural plans as "the Sub-Freshman Building", housed City College's preparatory high school, Townsend Harris High School, from 1906 until it moved in 1930 downtown to the School of Business.[52]

Wingate Hall was named for George Wood Wingate (Class of 1858), an attorney and promoter of physical fitness. It served as the College's main gymnasium between 1907 and 1972.[53][54][55]

Baskerville Hall for many years housed the Chemistry Department, was also known as the Chemical Building, and had one of the largest original lecture halls on the campus, Doremus lecture hall.[56] It currently houses HSMSE, The High School for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering.

Compton Hall was originally designed as the Mechanical Arts Building.[57]

Five of these new Gothic campus buildings opened in 1906. The sixth, Goethals Hall,[58] was completed in 1930. The new building was named for George Washington Goethals, the CCNY civil engineering alumnus who, as mentioned above in the section on the history of the College, went on to become the chief engineer of the Panama Canal. Goethals Hall housed the School of Technology (engineering) and adjoins the Mechanical Arts Building, Compton Hall.

A stone grotesque on a CCNY building from 1906, holding a model of Shepard Hall.

The six Gothic buildings are connected by a tunnel, which closed to public use in 1969.[59]

Six hundred grotesques on the original Gothic buildings represent the practical and the fine arts.[60][61]

The North Campus Quadrangle contains four great arches on the main avenues entering and exiting the campus:

  • the Hudson Gate on Amsterdam Avenue[62]
  • the George Washington Gate at 138th Street and Convent Avenue
  • the Alexander Hamilton Gate at the northern edge of Convent Avenue
  • the Peter Stuyvesant Gate at St. Nicholas Terrace. (The Archway and north pedestrian arch over the north side of St. Nicholas Terrace was dismantled prior to March 25, 1927 when ground was broken for the soon to be completed Bowker Library fronting on St. Nicholas Terrace)

Lewisohn Stadium (demolished)

In the early 1900s, after most of the Gothic campus had been built, CCNY President John H. Finley wanted the College to have a stadium because the existing facilities for the College’s athletic teams were inadequate. New York City did not provide the money needed to build a stadium; however, the municipal government donated to the College two city blocks south of the campus which were open park land. Finley’s wish for a stadium moved forward when in 1912 businessman and philanthropist Adolph Lewisohn expressed interest in financing construction of the stadium. Lewisohn donated $75,000 for the stadium’s construction and Finley commissioned architect Arnold W. Brunner to design Lewisohn Stadium, which was influenced by Finley's memories of a small rock-hewn theatre in the Trastevere section of Rome.[63]

The former Adolph Lewisohn Stadium, now the site of the North Academic Center (1915)

Lewisohn Stadium was built as a 6,000-seat stadium, with thousands more seats available on the infield during concerts, and was dedicated on May 29, 1915, two years after Dr. Finley had left his post at the College and Dr. Sidney Edward Mezes had become CCNY's fourth president. The stadium's dedication was enhanced by a performance of "The Trojan Women", produced by Granville Barker and Lillian McCarthy. College graduation services were held in Lewisohn for many years.

Other demolished buildings

A separate library building originally planned in 1912 for the campus was never built but ground was broken on March 25, 1927 for a free-standing library to be built on St. Nicholas Terrace, between St. Nicholas & 141st St. Only 1/5 of the original library plan was constructed at a cost of $850,000, far above the $150,000 alumni had collected to establish a library at the original Amsterdam Avenue & 140th St. site. The Bowker/Alumni Library stood at the present site of the Steinman Engineering building until 1957.[64]

The Hebrew Orphan Asylum was erected in 1884 on Amsterdam Avenue between 136th and 138th Street, and was designed by William H. Hume.[65] It was already there when City College moved to upper Manhattan. When it closed in the 1940s, the building was used by City College to house members of the U.S. Armed Forces assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). From 1946 to 1955, it was used as a dormitory, library, and classroom space for the College. It was called "Army Hall" until it was demolished in 1955 and 1956.[66][67]

In 1946, CCNY purchased a former Episcopal orphanage on 135th Street and Convent Avenue (North campus), and renamed it Klapper Hall, after Paul Klapper (Class of 1904) Professor and the Dean of School of Education and who was later the first president of Queens College/CUNY (1937–1952). Klapper Hall was red brick in Georgian style and it served until 1983 as home of the School of Education.[68]

Postwar buildings

Steinman Hall, which houses the School of Engineering, was erected in 1962 on the north end of the campus, on the site of the Bowker Library and the Drill Hall to replace the facilities in Compton Hall and Goethals Hall, and was named for David Barnard Steinman (CCNY Class of 1906), a well known civil engineer and bridge designer.[69]

In 1963, the Administration Building was erected on the North Campus across from Wingate Hall. It houses the College's administration offices, including the President's, Provost's and the Registrar's offices. It was originally intended as a warehouse to store the huge number of records and transcripts of students since 1847.[70][71] In early 2007, the Administration Building was formally named The Howard E. Wille Administration Building, in honor of Howard E. Wille, class of 1955, a distinguished alumnus and philanthropist.[72]

In 1971, the Marshak Science Building was completed on the site of the former Jasper Oval, an open space previously used as a football field.[73][74] The building was named after Robert Marshak, renowned physicist and president of CCNY (1970–1979). The Marshak building houses all science labs and adjoins the Mahoney Gymnasium and its athletic facilities including a swimming pool and tennis courts.[75]

North Academic Center

In the 1970s, construction of the massive North Academic Center (NAC) was initiated. It was completed in 1984, and replaced Lewisohn Stadium and Klapper Hall. The NAC building houses hundreds of classrooms, two cafeterias, the Cohen Library, student lounges and centers, administrative offices, and a number of computer installations. Designed by architect John Carl Warnecke, the building has received criticism for its lack of design and outsize scale in comparison to the surrounding neighborhood.

Within the NAC, a student lounge space was created outside the campus bookstore, and murals celebrating the history of the campus were painted on the doors of the undergraduate Student Government.[76] Founded in 1869, it claims to be the oldest continuously operating student government organization in the country.

The first floor of the Administration Building was given a postmodern renovation in 2004. The first floor houses the admissions office and the registrar's office. The upper floors house the offices of the president and provost.

The New York Landmarks Preservation Commission made the North Campus Quadrangle buildings and the College Gates official landmarks in 1981. The buildings in the Quadrangle were put on the State and National Register of Historic Places in 1984. In the summer of 2006, the historic gates on Convent Avenue were restored.

South Campus

1950's aerial view of the old South Campus of City College, bought in 1953 from Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart. The photo is taken from the south looking northeast.

In 1953, CCNY bought the campus of the Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart (which, on a 1913 map, was shown as The Convent of the Sacred Heart), which added a south section to the campus. This expanded the campus to include many of the buildings in the area between 140th Street to 130th Street, from St. Nicholas Terrace in the east to Amsterdam Avenue in the west.

Former buildings of the Manhattanville College campus to be used by CCNY were re-named for City College's purposes: Stieglitz Hall, Downer Hall, Wagner Hall, the prominent Finley Student Center which contained the very active Buttenweiser Lounge, Eisner Hall, Park Gym, Mott Hall, and others.

As a result of this expansion, the South Campus of CCNY primarily contained the liberal arts classes and departments of the College. The North Campus, also as a result of this expansion, mostly housed classes and departments for the sciences and engineering, as well as Klapper Hall (School of Education), and the Administration Building.

In 1957, a new library building was erected in the middle of the campus, near 135th Street on the South Campus, and named Cohen Library, after Morris Raphael Cohen, an alumnus (Class of 1900) and celebrated professor of philosophy at the College from 1912 to 1938. When the Cohen Library moved to the North Academic Complex in the early 1980s, the structure was renamed the 'Y' building, and housed offices, supplies, the mail room, etc. The building was eventually gutted and renovated to become the home of the School of Architecture in 2009 (see below).

In the 1970s, many of the old buildings of the South Campus[77] were demolished, some which had been used by the Academy of The Sacred Heart. The buildings remaining on the South Campus at this time were the Cohen Library (later moved into the North Academic Center), Park Gym (now the Structural Biology Research Center[78]), Eisner Hall (built in 1941 by Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart as a library, later remodeled and housed CCNY's Art Department and named for the Chairman of the Board of Higher Education in the 1930s),[79] the Schiff House (former President's residence, now a child care center), and Mott Hall (formerly the English Department, now a New York City Department of Education primary school[80]).

Annotated 1950s aerial view of the main part of the old South Campus of City College, with many former CCNY buildings marked with their names. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Some of the buildings which were demolished at that time were Finley Hall (housed The Finley Student Center, student activities center, originally built in 1888-1890 as Manhattanville Academy's main building, and purchased in 1953 by City College),[81] Wagner Hall (housed various social science and liberal arts departments and classes, originally built as a dormitory for Manhattanville Academy, and was named in honor of Robert F. Wagner Sr., member of the Class of 1898, who represented New York State for 23 years in the United States Senate),[82] Stieglitz Hall, and Downer Hall, amongst others.

New buildings were erected on the South Campus, including Aaron Davis Hall in 1981, and the Herman Goldman sports field in 1993. In August 2006, the College completed the construction of a 600-bed dormitory, called "The Towers" [83][84][85] There are plans to rename The Towers after a distinguished alumnus or donor.

The building that formerly housed Cohen Library, i.e., the 'Y' Building mentioned above, became the new home for the School of Architecture, with the renovation headed by architect Rafael Viñoly. Near the 133rd Street gate, a new science building is under construction in order to relieve pressure from Marshak Hall, which had a beam collapse in 2005. Part of this project is the elimination of the Herman Goldman sports field, a controversial move which will dramatically alter the South Campus.

In 2007, two new buildings had been proposed for the South Campus site by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY). One was a four story City College of New York Science Building, to serve as an adjunct to the Marshak Science Building on the North Campus, and the other was a six story City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC).[86][87][88]

Campus location

The College is located between West 130th and West 141st Street in Manhattan, along Convent Avenue and St. Nicholas Terrace, between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenues. The campus is served by:

  • the 137th Street – City College subway station, served by the Broadway local 1 train
  • the 125th and 145th stations, served by the A, B, C, and D trains
  • numerous city buses and campus shuttle buses

The design of the three-faced college seal took its roots in the 19th century when Professor Charles Anthon was inspired by views of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces connect the past and the future. He broadened this image of Janus in three faces to show the student, and consequently, knowledge, developing from childhood through youth into maturity.

It was redesigned again in 1947 by Professor Albert P. d'Andrea (CCNY class of 1918) for the college's Centennial Medal.[89][90] Professor Albert P. d'Andrea came to the United States from Benevento, Italy in 1901. He was a faculty member of the City College of New York from 1918 to 1948 and Professor of Art and Chairman of the Art Department from 1948 to 1968.

In 2003, the college decided to create a logo distinct from its seal, with the stylized text "the City College of New York."[91]


  • City College was ranked [92] by Shanghai Jiao Tong University as 89-117 nationally and 203-304 internationally in 2007 and 115-139 nationally, 303-401 internationally in 2008 and 90-121 nationally, 340-451 internationally in 2009. It should be noted however that the study focuses heavily on institutions with strong hard science backgrounds, as the rating is based on a number of factors including articles published in scientific journals and Nobel laureates.
  • The 2008 America's Best Colleges ranked by placed City College at #355.[93]
  • U.S. News and World Report ranks City College 62 in the master's universities of the North category. [6]

In popular culture


  • Marty (1955) - the main character, Marty, says that he filled out an application and was accepted to City College, but had to turn it down after his father died.[94]
  • Love Story (1970) - The Harvard graduation was in the Great Hall in CCNY's Shepard Hall.
  • Bananas (1971) - the character Nancy, who is taking signatures for a petition in Fielding Mellish's apartment building, is a student at CCNY
  • Serpico (1973) - Al Pacino's character has a meeting at Lewisohn Stadium, which also shows the Marshak building and North Campus at the time.
  • Fast Break (1979) - Gabe Kaplan's character, David Greene, wears a City College sweatshirt during the movie.
  • Wall Street (1987) - Michael Douglas's character, Gordon Gekko, tells Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) that his accomplishments are "not bad for a City College boy. I bought my way in; now all these Ivy League schmucks are sucking my knee caps."
  • Crossing Delancey (1988) - Sam is wearing a City College of New York sweater when playing handball
  • Cocktail (1988) - the character Brian Flanagan was studying business at CCNY
  • Reversal of Fortune (1989) - The CCNY campus was used to depict Harvard for this 1990 movie. Many of the scenes taking place in the law school, including the office of Professor Alan M. Dershowitz and several classroom scenes, were filmed in late 1989 at the CCNY School of Architecture, located in Shepard Hall.
  • The Substance of Fire (1996) - Scenes in the publishing firm run by Isaac Geldhart (Ron Rifkin's character), a Holocaust survivor, were shot in Shepard Hall.
  • Habit (1997) - A horror film by Larry Fessenden. Scenes at the beginning of the film take place at City College as well as St. Nicholas Park behind CCNY.
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) - Shepard Hall's tower can be seen in the opening montage of this film as the young Richie Tenenbaum releases his eagle. Much of the film was shot at or near CCNY.
  • 25th Hour (2002) - Most scenes were shot in Shepard Hall, when Monty Brogan (Edward Norton's character) visits (and reminisces about the past) his old high school and friend Jacob Elinsky (Philip Seymour Hoffman's character) who teaches at a fancy private high school.
  • City Island (2009) - Protagonist Vince Rizzo says, "Anyway I had 75 hundred bucks in my pocket that I had earned, you know, working at my father's boat here on City Island, I was gunna use it to go to City College, but I gave it to her instead."

Television shows

  • Mad Men - Anna's niece, Stephanie, asks Don Draper where he went to college, he responds “I strung together several non-consecutive years in night school—City College.”
  • Law & Order - various scenes from Law & Order have been filmed on the City College campus.
  • The West Wing - It is stated on occasion that Toby Ziegler attended City College.
  • Gossip Girl - Some scenes from the Gossip Girl show have been filmed on the City College campus.
  • Weeds - Shane Botwin obtains admission to CCNY during the seventh season by lying about his nation of origin.


  • Allen Ginsberg - Allen Ginsberg referenced CCNY in multiple poems.
  • Langston Hughes - Langston Hughes referenced CCNY in multiple poems, such as in "Theme for English B" as " ... to this college on the hill above Harlem."[95][96]
  • Thomas Pynchon - Thomas Pynchon referenced CCNY in his roman V. On p. 132, it speaks of Esther Harvitz who was an honors graduate of CCNY.[97]
  • Woody Allen - Sidney Kugelmass, the protagonist of Allen's short story "The Kugelmass Episode," is stated to be a professor of humanities at CCNY.


(source: The Adolph Lewisohn Plaza of Honor website - archived copy)

Distinguished alumni and other notables associated with the College

See also


  1. ^ "Best Colleges 2010: CUNY--City College CUNY--City College", U.S. News & World Report
  2. ^ CUNY's list of its 23 institutions
  3. ^ CCNY campus map which shows the lower section extending to 130th St. where the new Towers dormitory is, and up north to 141st St. where Steinman Hall ends and CCNY Alumni House stands.
  4. ^ "... the founding, in 1847, of the Free Academy, the very first free public institution of higher education in the nation.", Baruch College history website. [1]
  5. ^ a b Rudy,Willis, The College of the City of New York: A History 1847-1947, City College Press 1949. Also issued as a thesis by Columbia University. Reprinted in 1977 by the Arno Press.
  6. ^ a b c Traub, James. City on a Hill: Testing the American Dream at City College. Addison-Wesley, 1984.
  7. ^ Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Report of the Commission on the Future of CUNY: Part I Remediation and Access: To Educate the "Children of the Whole People", 1999. [2]
  8. ^ "Niblo's Garden" - Demolished Theatres,
  9. ^ Cf. Bender, pp. 271-273
  10. ^ Cf. Bender, p. 273, footnotes.
  11. ^ "The Wolcott Gibbs Affair at Columbia, 1854". Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  12. ^ a b Cf. Bender, pp. 291-292
  13. ^ Minutes, Trustees, Board of Higher Education, 1929, p. 194
  14. ^ Subway College, in Time magazine, October 28, 1946.
  15. ^ Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg campaign; a study in command, Scribner's, 1984.
  16. ^ The statue is on the east side of Convent Avenue near both Shepherd Hall and the Administration Building.
  17. ^ "Historical Information". Sigma Alpha Mu. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  18. ^ Robert Sobel (1994-11-21). "Review of City on a Hill: Testing the American Dream at City College by James Traub". Electronic News. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  19. ^ see article Nobel Prize laureates by university affiliation
  20. ^ "CCNY - An Experiment in Democracy Going Strong Over 160 Years Later" - CCNY website press information
  21. ^ "Nine graduates of City College have won the Nobel Prize", CCNY website press information
  22. ^ a b "Arguing the World" - PBS documentary, 1997.
  23. ^ "Finding My Way to the Alcoves" - Joseph Dorman, film director of "Arguing the World".
  24. ^ Bertrand Russell, The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell: The Middle Years: 1914-1944. Bantam, 1969, p. 320.
  25. ^ Thom Weidlich. Appointment Denied: The Inquisition of Bertrand Russell. Prometheus Books, 2000.
  26. ^ Memorial plaques providing the numbers and honoring those who gave their lives can be found in the second floor rotunda of the NAC building on the CCNY campus.
  27. ^ Morris Freedman, The Knickerbocker Case, Commentary, August 1945.
  28. ^ a b c Feinberg, Alexander (April 12, 1949). "City College Students Clash with Police in ‘Bias’ Strike". New York Times: pp. 1, 36. 
  29. ^ This Wiki writer’s personal communication with a 1949 student striker, 1989.
  30. ^ "William C. Davis, Educator, Is Dead". New York Times: p. 33. August 16, 1948. 
  31. ^ a b Goodman, Walter E. (April 16, 1984). "C.C.N.Y. Alumni Recall 1949 Strike". New York Times: p. B10. 
  32. ^ Explosion: 1951 scandals threaten college hoops
  33. ^ CCNY Athletics page
  34. ^ Omicron Delta Epsilon - The International Economics Honor Society
  35. ^ Reitano, Joanne R., "The Restless City: A Short History of New York from Colonial Times to the Present", CRC Press, 2006. ISBN 0415978491. Cf. page 176.
  36. ^ "Shakur - Morales Student & Community Center Under Attack at City College of New York", Left Spot, December 12, 2006.
  37. ^ "FOX Facts: Student Group Statement on Morales/Shakur Community Center", FOX News, Tuesday, December 12, 2006
  38. ^ Wise, Daniel, "First Amendment Violation Claim Proceeds Against College Over Removed Plaque", New York Law Journal, April 8, 2010
  39. ^ "History: Macaulay Honors College", CUNY website
  40. ^ Grove School of Engineering Video Coordinates: 40°49′10″N 73°57′00″W / 40.8194°N 73.9500°W / 40.8194; -73.9500
  41. ^ Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York.[3]
  42. ^ Hughes, C. J. (April 22, 2009). City College’s Architecture School Snares $25 Million Gift. Architectural Record. [4]
  43. ^ "Free Academy Building (1849-1927)", The "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past, CCNY Libraries
  44. ^ "Early CCNY picture", CCNY in Souvenirs, 1900-1947, CCNY Libraries
  45. ^ "Early CCNY picture postcard", CCNY in Souvenirs, 1900-1947, CCNY Libraries
  46. ^ "General View of The College of the City of New York (c.1906)" (archived 2006)
  47. ^ "Panoramic View of The College of The City of New York" (c.1906)" (archived 2006)
  48. ^ "Early CCNY picture postcard: Shepard Hall", CCNY in Souvenirs, 1900-1947, CCNY Libraries]
  49. ^ "Great Hall CCNY", NYC Chapter of the American Guild of Organists website
  50. ^ Weiner, Mina Rieur, (editor), Edwin Howland Blashfield: Master American Muralist, New York : W.W. Norton, 2009. ISBN 9780393732818
  51. ^ "New Book on Edwin Blashfield features CCNY Mural", Press Release, City College of New York, Thursday, Sep 17, 2009
  52. ^ "Old Photograph of Townsend Harris Hall" (archived 2008)
  53. ^ "Modern View of Wingate Hall entrance"
  54. ^ "Modern Photograph of Wingate Hall" - CCNY website
  55. ^ "Old postcard of Wingate Hall/Harris Hall"
  56. ^ "Old Postcard: College of the City of New York: Chemical Building (Baskerville Hall)" (archived 2008)
  57. ^ "Old Postcard: College of the City of New York: Mechanical Arts Building (Compton Goethals Hall)" (archived 2008)
  58. ^ "Compton Goethals Hall Remodeling Project", Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects website
  59. ^ Kadinsky, Sergey (November 23, 2005). "The Hidden Architecture of CCNY". CCNY Campus Newspaper. Retrieved November 23, 2005. 
  60. ^ "Image of a stone grotesque on a CCNY building from 1906, holding a model of Shepard Hall", CUNY Matters magazine, Spring 2006
  61. ^ Rosenfeld, Neill S., Architectural JANUS: CUNY Preserves the Past, Builds for the Future", CUNY Matters magazine, Spring 2006, pp.7-11
  62. ^ "Old Postcard: Entrance to Campus Grounds: CCNY 138th Street Gates"
  63. ^ "Old Postcard: (Lewisohn) Stadium of the City College of New York", CCNY Libraries exhibitions website
  64. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: The Bowker/Alumni Library (1929-1957)", CCNY Libraries exhibitions website
  65. ^ "Biography of William H. Hume", Society of Architectural Historians biographies website
  66. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: Army Hall (1883-1956)", CCNY Libraries exhibitions website
  67. ^ Gray, Christopher (August 31, 1997). "An Orphan Asylum and a Fifth Avenue 'Farmhouse'". New York Times. 
  68. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: Paul Klapper Hall (1905-1983)", CCNY Libraries exhibitions website
  69. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: Architectural model of David B. Steinman Hall by Lorimar and Rose", CCNY Libraries exhibitions website, and Archives, City College of New York
  70. ^ "Administration Building CCNY"- CCNY website
  71. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: The Administration Building which was constructed on the northern portion of Jasper Oval", CCNY Libraries exhibitions website
  72. ^ "Administration Building Named for Howard E. Wille, ‘55", 138@Convent, CCNY newsletter, Volume 2, n.1, February 1, 2007, Office of Communications of The City College of New York.
  73. ^ "Old Postcard: CCNY Athletic Field"
  74. ^ "Old View of CCNY from the Street"
  75. ^ "Marshak Science Building CCNY" - CCNY website
  76. ^ "Sergey Kadinsky: Murals: Dec. 2004: Doors to Knowledge Series: located at The Undergraduate Student Government at CCNY"
  77. ^ "Aerial view of the South Campus, or Manhattanville Campus, taken prior to 1952"
  78. ^ Structural Biology Research Center website
  79. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: Mark Eisner Hall", CCNY Libraries Exhibitions website
  80. ^ Mott Hall School website
  81. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: John H. Finley Hall", CCNY Libraries Exhibitions website
  82. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: Wagner Hall", CCNY Libraries Exhibitions website
  83. ^ CCNY Towers website
  84. ^ Fernandez, Manny (August 26, 2006). "Going to College, and Living There, Too". New York Times. 
  85. ^ Photos of the residence hall at the City College of NY
  86. ^ "Dormitory Authority of the State of New York: The City College of New York Science Building and The City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center: Phases I and II Project", 2007.
  87. ^ "Draft Environmental Impact Statement for The City College of New York Science Building and The City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center Project, Borough of Manhattan, New York County, New York (December 21, 2007)", The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, December 21, 2007.
  88. ^ "Fall 2009 CCNY Campus Map with proposed additions", Integrated Global Water Cycle Observations (IGWCO) Workshop and Meeting, Feb 23-26, 2010 at CCNY.
  89. ^ Townsend Harris Medal Winners, CCNY website. Cf. Albert P. D'Andrea entry.
  90. ^ "Albert P. D'Andrea: sculpted relief portrait of Townsend Harris", CCNY Exhibitions website.
  91. ^ CCNY new 2003 logo
  92. ^ "The Academic Ranking of World Universities" - 2007, published by the Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  93. ^ "America's Best Colleges". Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  94. ^ "Marty" script - Internet Movie Script DataBase
  95. ^ Hughes, Langston, "Theme for English B"
  96. ^ Hughes, Langston; Rampersad, Arnold (ed.), The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, Vintage; 1st Vintage classics ed edition (October 31, 1995). ISBN 9780679764083. Cf. p.675
  97. ^ Pynchon, Thomas, "V.". "And the next day she [Rachel] would read in the paper where Esther Harvitz, 22, honors graduate of CCNY, has taken a Brody off some bridge, overpass, or high building."
  98. ^ "CUNY Board Appoints Dr. Robert E. Paaswell Interim President of CCNY", News from the Chancellor, September 29, 2009
  99. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W., "City College Names a CUNY Alumna President", The New York Times, April 26, 2010
  100. ^ "Temple University Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico Appointed President of The City College of New York", CUNY Announcement, April 26, 2010


  • Bender, Thomas. New York Intellect: A History of Intellectual Life in New York City, from 1750 to the Beginnings of Our Own Time, Knopf, 1987. ISBN 0394550269
  • Howe, Irving. A Margin of Hope: An Intellectual Autobiography, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982. ISBN 0-15-157138-4. Cf. Chapter 3, "City College and Beyond", pp. 61–89
  • Pearson, Paul David. The City College of New York: 150 years of academic architecture, 1997.
  • Roff, Sandra S., et al. From the Free Academy to Cuny: Illustrating Public Higher Education in New York City, 1847-1997, 2000.
  • Rudy, Willis. College of the City of New York 1847-1947, The City College Press, 1949. Reprinted in 1977 by the Arno Press.
  • Traub, James. City on a Hill: Testing the American Dream at City College, Addison-Wesley: 1994.
  • Van Nort, Sydney C. The City College of New York, Arcadia Press, February 2007. ISBN 0738549304.

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