Baltimore City College

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The Baltimore City College
Baltimore City College logo.png
3220 The Alameda; also geographically:
Thirty-third Street and The Alameda

Baltimore, Maryland, 21218
School type Exam school
IB World School
Preparatory school
Public school
Selective school
magnet school
formerly single-sex education, (1839-1980)
Motto "Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat"
("Honor to one who earns it" (literally: "Let him who earns it, bear the palm"))
Founded Authorized: March 7th, 1839, opened October 20th, 1839 (Authorized: March 7th, 1839, opened October 20th, 1839), current (eighth building) constructed 1924 – April 1928, with annexes in 1958 (Music/Industrial Shops), 1979 (Gymnasium/Physical Education)
School district Baltimore City Public Schools
Superintendent Gregory Thornton, ("Chief Executive Officer")
School number 480 (previously #408)
Principal Cynthia (Cindy) Harcum
Grades 912
Enrollment 1,289[1] (2014)
Area Urban, Park-like
Color(s) Black      and Orange     
Athletics MPSSAA Class 3A, East region, District 9 (Baltimore City League)
Mascot The Black Knight
Team name The Black Knights (after 1950)
The Knights (after 1950)
The Collegians (before 1950 and after)
The Castlemen (alternative)
The Alamedans (alternative)
Newspaper The Collegian (est. 1929)
Yearbook The Green Bag (est. 1896)
Budget $8,970,340 (projected)

Baltimore City College, colloquially referred to as "City College", "City", "The Castle on the Hill", its initials of "B.C.C.", and derisively by rival Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, The Dump on the Hump, is a Baltimore City Public School with both "International Baccalaureate World School" and "Advanced Placement" programs. The magnet school's curriculum features the "IB Middle Years Programme" and the "IB Diploma Programme" and emphasizes study in the classics, humanities, social studies and the liberal arts. Founded in 1839, The Baltimore City College is one of the oldest public college-preparatory magnet schools in the United States. Admission to City College is competitive. Applicants from Baltimore City and the five suburban counties in the surrounding metropolitan area are evaluated for admission using a combination of academic grades and standardized test scores. City College admits fewer than 20 percent of students who apply for matriculation, and its college acceptance rate is 99 percent.[3][4] The school celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2014.[3]

"U.S. News & World Report" magazine ranked Baltimore City College among the top four percent of all public secondary schools in its annual "Best High Schools in the United States" report in 2014. City College earned a "Silver Medal" award and was rated as one of the top public high schools in Maryland in the same "U.S. News" report.[5] Baltimore City College was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education in 2000.[6] The B.C.C. was also named by the Maryland State Department of Education, a "Maryland Blue Ribbon High School" (2000), a "Maryland Character Education High School of the Year" (1999), and a National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) "Breakthrough High School" honoree (2004).[7]

Authorized by the Baltimore City Council in March 1839, as the new capstone of the decade-old Baltimore City Public Schools system, and established on October 10 of the same year as an all-male institution initially known as "The High School", City College is listed among the oldest high schools in the United States, specifically as the third oldest public high school in continuous use in America.[8][9][10] The school has been located in seven different downtown Baltimore buildings over its 175-year history, finally relocating on April 10, 1928, to its current location. The "Castle" sits on "Collegian Hill", the former site of Canton Iron Works industrialist, Horace Abbott with its Victorian-styled twin mansions known as "Abbottston" and "Woodlands" built in the 1870s and later known as the "Gilman-Cate Estate" in the early 20th Century when it passed to his children. Nearby also was the historic "Montebello" estate of the 1790s of General Samuel Smith, (1752-1839), a noted American Revolutionary War hero and officer in the later War of 1812 in the Battle of Baltimore, commanding the Maryland state militia forces against the British Army and Royal Navy attack. Smith also served as a local merchant, elected U.S. Representative, and Senator, and near the end of his remarkable eight-decades life, served as the Mayor of Baltimore. The stone City College building is centered on an expansive, tree-shaded 38-acre hill-top campus which includes an enormous grassy front lawn with large ancient trees remaining from the old estates, along with athletic fields for baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse. Tennis courts, a gymnasium, and Alumni Field, the school's football stadium with grandstands on the south and west sides (153,781 m2), complete the extensive athletic complex on the campuses' south and west sides facing the Loch Raven Boulevard. The main front lawn faces the north towards the intersection at 33rd Street and The Alameda, in the northwestern sector of the City in postal zone 21218.

Baltimore City College has long maintained a strong academic tradition. Upon successful completion of the school's academic program, students are awarded the Baltimore City College Certificate in addition to the diploma conferred by the Maryland State Department of Education. More than 90% of Baltimore City College seniors attend four-year colleges and universities following gradation. The list of post-secondary institutions at which City College graduates have matriculated in recent years includes of those outside the State of Maryland: Amherst, Brown, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), Morehouse, New York University (NYU), Pomona, Princeton, Spelman, Stanford, Swarthmore, Tufts, Virginia, Washington (St. Louis), Wesleyan, and Yale, along with those in-state of The Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland, Frostburg State University and the University of Maryland at College Park.[11] The school has many notable alumni including a "Nobel Prize Laureate", a "Wolf Prize" recipient, "Pulitzer Prize" winners, and many city, state and national political leaders. Three current members of the United States Congress are B.C.C. alumni, including a U.S. Senator and two U.S. Representatives. Also several Mayors of Baltimore, many City Councilmen, along with several Governors of Maryland and one Lieutenant Governor graduated from the Castle, including many members of the General Assembly of Maryland in the 175 years of the high school's history. history[12][13][14]


Print of the Central High School of Baltimore (later B.C.C.), c.1869, old "Assembly-Rooms" building on northeast corner of Holliday and East Fayette Streets, occupied 1843–1873

The creation of a high school "in which the higher branches of English and classical literature should be taught exclusively" was unanimously authorized by the Baltimore City Council on March 7, 1839.[15] Accordingly, the Board of School Commissioners rented a townhouse structure on a small narrow by-way of what was then called Courtland Street (now on the east side of Saint Paul Street/Place. The High School, as it was first called, opened its doors on October 20, 1839, with 46 students and one teacher/professor, Nathan C. Brooks (1809–1898), who also served as first principal. The school moved several times and was housed in three different locations in its first three years before returning again to the original townhouse building on Courtland Street. Finally, in 1843, the City Council allocated $23,000 to acquire the vacant old landmark Assembly Rooms structure at the northeastern corner of East Fayette and Holliday Streets for the school. The famous Assembly Rooms also served as the intellectual and educational center of town, with the upper floors holding rooms where the new Library Company of Baltimore and the later Mercantile Library were located for several years. In 1850, the City Council granted the Board of School Commissioners the right to confer graduates of the decade old high school with certificates of graduation, and the following year the school held its first commencement ceremony.[16]

In 1865, in accordance with a recommendation from the Board of Commissioners of the Baltimore City Public Schools, the school began offering a five-year track,[17] as part of a process aimed at elevating the school to the status of a college so that it could grant its graduates baccalaureate degrees. The following year, on October 9, 1866, as another part of this process, the school was renamed "The Baltimore City College" (BCC) by the City Council. The Council failed to take any further action, and although the school changed nominally, it was never granted the power to confer Bachelor of Arts degrees.[18]

The building on Fayette and Holliday Streets had been in a state of decline for two decades. It was not until 1873, when a fire spread from the Holliday Street Theater to the "Assembly Rooms", that the City Council dedicated the resources to erect a new building for City College. A lot was acquired on North Howard Street opposite West Centre Street and the Council allocated $150,000 for the construction of the new building designed by Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind.[19] The new English Gothic revival-styled building faced east on Howard Street and was dedicated on February 1, 1875. The school moved in the following week.[20]

B.C.C's campus and main building in summer 2014.
"Castle on the Hill", Baltimore City College's snow-covered upper campus facing 33rd Street, 2010; constructed 1926–1928

The Tudor Gothic building which housed the school was undermined, in 1892, by the construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tunnel from Camden Street Station to Mount Royal Station and collapsed.[21] In 1895, a new larger structure, designed in the Romanesque style by the noted local architects Baldwin & Pennington, was erected on the same site, only facing the Centre Street northern side. This new building quickly became overcrowded and an annex was established on 26th Street. The addition did not help with the increase in school-aged youth beginning to attend City College by World War I. During the 1920s, alumni began a campaign to provide the school with a more suitable building, and, in 1926, ground was broken for a massive Collegiate Gothic stone castle on Collegian Hill at 33rd Street and The Alameda. This new structure cost almost $3 million and officially opened April 10, 1928.[22]

The school began admitting African American students following the landmark ruling Brown v. Board of Education. In September 1954, 10 African-American students enrolled at City College.[23] The school board also sent two African American men, Eugene Parker and Pierre H. Davis, to teach at the school in 1956. Parker taught at City College for 30 years. Davis taught for one year, but returned as the school's first black principal in 1971.[24]

In 1978, at the urging of concerned alumni, City College underwent its first major capital renovations. When the campus reopened, the high school welcomed women for the first time. The all-male tradition did not end easily; alumni had argued for the uniqueness of a single-sex educational system and convinced the task force studying the issue to vote 11–6 in favor of keeping the all-male tradition. The Board of School Commissioners, in a reversal, voted to admit women citing constitutional concerns.[25]


Baltimore City College high school
The tower portion of the school's main building.

City College stands on a 38-acre (153,781 m2) campus in northeast Baltimore at the intersection of 33rd Street and the Alameda.[26] The campus consists of two buildings: the Gothic-style edifice known locally as the "Castle on the Hill" that sits in the center of the campus, and the power plant building east of the castle. In addition to providing the building's utilities, the power plant originally housed five workshops: an electrical shop, a mechanical shop, a metal shop, a printing shop, and a wood shop.[27] It currently houses the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello community corporation headquarters. Only the main building is in academic use by the school. Both buildings were designed by the architecture firm of Buckler and Fenhagen. Just south of the main building is Alumni Field, the school's stadium, which serves as home to the football, boys and girls lacrosse and track teams. During a major building renovation in 1978 a modern gymnasium was added to the southwest corner of the main building.

On June 30, 2003, the current building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the result of an Alumni Association initiative.[28] The listing of the building coincided with its 75th anniversary. The previous location of the school on Howard Street is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[29] On April 24, 2007, the Castle on the Hill earned the additional distinction of being a Baltimore City Landmark. This new status means that the building's exterior cannot be altered without approval of the city Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.[30] On June 21, 2007, City's alumni association received a historic preservation award from Baltimore Heritage for its leadership role in preserving the building as an historic Baltimore landmark.


Throughout most of the 20th century the college preparatory curriculum at City College was divided into two tracks: the "A" course and the "B" course. Though both tracks were intended to provide students with the skills necessary for college, the "A" course was intended to be more rigorous, enabling students to complete sufficient college-level courses to enter directly into the second year of college. In the early 1990s, Principal Joseph Antenson removed the two-tier system because he believed it to be racially discriminatory.[31] In 1998, the academic program took on the general form in which it exists today, when Principal Joseph M. Wilson introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB Program) into the 11th and 12th grade curricula.[32] The IB Program is a comprehensive, liberal arts program that must be completed in students' junior and senior years. Students now have the option to pursue a standard college preparatory curriculum, the IB Program, or a combination of the two.

In 2007, opposition to the continuation of the IB Program arose. Members of the Baltimore City College Alumni Association argued that the IB Program diverts a significant percentage of the school's resources to benefit a fraction of the student population.[33] Approximately 30 students were in the full IB Diploma Program at City College at that time. Alumni also argued that the rigidity of the program did not give students enough coursework scheduling flexibility. Citing these concerns, the alumni association encouraged the school to replace the IB Program with the "A course", which was discontinued in the 1990s, and expand the number of Advanced Placement courses offered to students.[33] The alumni association's recommendation, though non-binding, was intended to persuade the school to terminate the IB program and replace it with what it believed to be a more equitable and flexible curriculum. Dispute alumni opposition, school administrators proceeded with plans to expand the school's IB Program by incorporating the IB Middle Years Program into the 9th and 10th grade curricula.[31]

Today, International Baccalaureate is an inclusive academic program required of all underclassmen at City College. In grades 9 and 10, IB is intended to teach students to understand how core subjects are interrelated, how to master critical thinking processes, and to increase intercultural awareness. In grades 11 and 12, students engage in the rigorous two-year IB curriculum that requires a comprehensive study of world topics, literature, languages, science, and math. City's IB Certificate and Diploma programs provide upperclassmen access to thirty advanced studies courses, which often translate into credit hours at colleges and universities world-wide.[34]

In addition to the IB courses, the school's academic program offers six Advanced Placement courses. Both programs have contributed to the academic ranking of the school. In the 1999–2000 academic year, City College was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School.[35] In June 2005, the Johns Hopkins Magazine reported that Johns Hopkins University had awarded full-time, four-year scholarships to ten seniors.[36] In the May 2007 Newsweek report of the nation's top 1200 schools, City College was ranked 258[37] and in the 2006 report the school was ranked 206.[38] In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baltimore City College among the top 4% of all public secondary schools in its annual "Best High Schools in the United States" report. City College earned a Silver Medal award in the same U.S. News report.[5]

Baltimore City College Certificate[edit]

Students who successfully complete the school's required curriculum sequence also earn the Baltimore City College certificate upon graduation. Requirements for the City College certificate, which has been granted by B.C.C. since 1851, surpass the requirements needed to earn the high school diploma conferred by the Maryland State Department of Education.[39]

Requirements for the Baltimore City College Certificate:

  • Successful completion of a minimum of one IB Diploma- or Certificate-level course, or AP course
  • Successful completion of the IB Personal Project
  • Physics or an advanced-level IB/AP science
  • Two Fine Arts courses (requirement waived for IB Diploma candidates)
  • Successful completion of the College Writing seminar (requirement waived for IB Diploma candidates and students enrolled in IB English IV)
  • Minimum cummulative GPA of 1.5 (70%)
  • Submit admission applications to a minimum of four colleges (including FAFSA submission)
  • Take the SAT or ACT at least two times
  • 75 hours of documented Service Learning activity


Admission to Baltimore City College is selective but is open to residents of Baltimore City and the surrounding metropolitan area, though non-city residents must pay tuition. New students wishing to enroll at the school must meet all requirements for promotion to ninth grade as determined by the Maryland State Department of Education. Additionally, applicants must earn a minimum composite score of 610, calculated by Baltimore City Public Schools.[40] Generally, new students must have a 3.0 overall numeric grade average (B letter grade; 80 or better percentage grade), have at least a 80% average in both Mathematics and English, rank in the 65th percentile or better among all Maryland students in Math and English on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA), and have 90% or better attendance rate. Due to the highly competitive nature of the City College admissions process, successful applicants typically exceed the aforementioned minimums. Seth Hedderick is the school's current Director of Admissions.[11]


Baltimore City College Student Enrollment
1839: 46 1851: 287 1900: 600 1928: 2500
1945: 1422 1964: 3880 1967: 3088 1997: 1279
2007: 1353 2009: 1319 2011: 1315 2013: 1297

There were 1,297 students enrolled at Baltimore City College in 2013. Of those students, 42% were male and 58% were female. 85% of the total student body identifies as African-American. 10% of students at the school identify as Caucasian. Roughly 2% of City College students identifies as Hispanic. 1% of the total student population identifies as Asian.[41]


The Baltimore City College varsity letter

Interscholastic athletics at Baltimore City College date back over 120 years. Though varsity sports were not formally organized until 1895, interscholastic athletics became a fixture at the school earlier in the 19th century.[42] In the late-1890s, City competed in the Maryland Intercollegiate Football Association (MIFA), a 9-member league consisting of colleges in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.[43] City College was the lone secondary school among MIFA membership. The 1895 football schedule included St. John's College, Swarthmore College, the United States Naval Academy, University of Maryland, and Washington College.[44] Between 1894 and 1920, City College regularly faced off against the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays and the Navy Midshipmen in lacrosse.[45][46]

Baltimore City College began competing against other secondary schools in 1919 when it was invited to join the Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) as a founding member.[47] After 75 years of governing Baltimore-metro area boys high school athletics, the Maryland Scholastic Association dissolved in 1993 when its 15 public school members, including City College, withdrew from the league to join the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA).[48] The Knights currently compete with other public secondary schools in the MPSSAA [Class 3A, East region, District 9 (Baltimore City League, Division I)], but routinely schedule contests against area private schools in various sports.

The current City College varsity athletic program consists of 18 sports: six for boys, seven for girls, and five coeducational teams. The boys sports includes baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, and wrestling. The girls sports are badminton, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, and volleyball. The five co-ed sports are cross country, indoor track and field, swimming, outdoor track and field, and tennis. Girls sports were added to City's athletic department in the Fall of 1978 when the school became coeducational for the first time in its then-139-year-old history.

Much of City College's athletic history involves boys sports, but it was the girls basketball team that won the school's first MPSSAA state championship in 2009.[49] Hours after the Lady Knights were crowned state champions, City College's boys basketball team won the 2009 MPSSAA state championship by beating Douglass High School (Prince George's County) at the Xfinity Center in College Park, MD.

Former City College forward C. J. Fair prepares for a free throw during a game in 2008. Fair later became an All-Atlantic Coast Conference and All-American player at Syracuse University.

Boys basketball[edit]

Basketball has been played at Baltimore City College for more than a century. One of the earliest recorded results in program history is a one-point overtime road loss to the University of Maryland Terrapins (then known as the Maryland Agricultural College Aggies) on January 25, 1913.[50] The most successful head coach in school history was George Howard “Jerry” Phipps, who led the Knights to a record of 133-27, four Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) championships, and a streak of forty straight games without a loss spanning two seasons between 1960-1968.[51] In all, the school won fourteen MSA basketball titles.[51]

Baltimore City College currently competes in District 9 (Baltimore City League) of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA).[52] Since 2007, City College has earned berths in every MPSSAA state tournament and has posted seven 20+ win seasons. The Knights have won three MPSSAA state championships (2009, 2010, and 2014), one of just five schools in Maryland that have won three or more boys basketball state titles since 2000.[53][54][55] City has advanced to the MPSSAA state tournament semifinals six times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2009, 2010, and 2014), third most all-time among Baltimore City League teams.[56][57] The Knights won the Division I Baltimore City championship in 2014.[58]

City College ranked third among all Baltimore-area high schools—public, private, and parochial—with five former players on current NCAA Division I rosters in 2013.[59] The Knights rank second among all Baltimore-area high schools with eight first-team Baltimore Sun All-Metro selections since 2007. In 2014, three players were selected to the All-Metro first team, a single-season school record.[60]

With a record of 27–0 in 2014, City College posted the third perfect season in school history and became the first Baltimore City League team since 2008–2009 to finish undefeated.[55] The Knights ended the 2014 season as the No. 18-ranked team in the country in the final USA Today Super 25 and Student Sports Fab 50 national boys basketball polls and as the top-ranked team in the final Baltimore Sun metro boys basketball poll, the school's second No. 1 final ranking since 2010.[61][62] Daryl Wade is the current City College boys basketball head coach. Coach Wade was named All-Metro Coach of the Year in 2014.[63]


The Baltimore City College football program began in the mid-1870s, has competed in more than 1,000 contests, and has won more than 20 Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) and Baltimore City League championships. The Knights primarily faced collegiate competition throughout the 1880s and 1890s because few secondary schools existed in Maryland at the time.[44] The team began competing against other high schools at the beginning of the 20th century.

A City College football player carries the ball against Poly (November 2006), M&T Bank Stadium

City College holds the record for most consecutive games played without a loss in MSA and MPSSAA history. The Knights played 54 consecutive games without a loss between 1934–1941.[64] Harry Lawrence, who guided the Knights to a 38-game undefeated streak between 1936 and 1940 (including 35 wins, three ties, and four MSA championships), remains City College's most successful head football coach.[65]

In 1959, George Young, a faculty member in the History department, became head football coach. Young guided the Knights to six Maryland Scholastic Association championships. Young left the program after the 1967 season to become an offensive line coach for the Baltimore Colts and would later become the general manager of the New York Giants. One of his star City players was quarterback Kurt Schmoke, who later became States' Attorney for Baltimore City and served two terms as the Mayor of Baltimore, the first elected African-American mayor in the history of Baltimore City.[66]

In 1975, George Petrides, BCC '67, became head football coach and has remained in this position for over 35 years.[67] During his tenure, Petrides has posted a 29-game winning streak and won two Maryland Scholastic Association championships in 1991 and 1992.[68] Coach Petrides guided City College to appearances in the semifinals of the MPSSAA state football tournament in 1996, 2001, and 2005.

City–Poly rivalry (1889–present)[edit]

The City-Poly football rivalry is the oldest American football rivalry in Maryland, and one of the oldest public school football rivalries in the United States.[69] The rivalry began in 1889, when City College met the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly) at Clifton Park for a football scrimmage in which City's freshman team beat Poly.[69][70] City remained undefeated in the series until 1908.[71]

In the 1920s, the rivalry had gotten so fierce that riots erupted on the streets of downtown Baltimore on the day before "The Game" when opposing parades clashed resulting in the sons of both the Mayor of Baltimore and the Governor of Maryland were arrested in 1928. By the 1930s a "Peace Pact" was sworn annually and signed by student government leaders of both schools before the cameras of the press in the Mayor's Ceremonial Office in City Hall. Several student disturbances at games or on transit buses afterwards in the late-1960s and early-1970s threatened to put an end to the athletic tradition reflecting the tense tenor of the times, but goodwill eventually prevailed again by the quieter 1980s. By the 1950s, it had become a Baltimore tradition that after a morning of church services, parades and rallies, the two Catholic high school football powers of Loyola High School (Loyola Blakefield) and Calvert Hall College would play on Thanksgiving Day morning at 10 a.m., followed at 2 p.m. by City-Poly as the two public school rivals at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street. That evening's TV news and sports casts led off with the scores and highlights of "The Game" and half-time shows and parades. Next day's The Sun and The News-Post and American had special sections and stories covering all facets of the day before.

One of the most memorable City-Poly games occurred on Thanksgiving Day 1965, at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, with some 25,000 fans in attendance. City beat Poly 52–6, and completed a 10–0 season with the team finishing the season ranked eighth in the nation by a national sports poll.[72] City's 52–6 victory over Poly in that game is the largest margin of victory in the history of the series.[73] Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke was the quarterback and Maryland Delegate Curt Anderson was the captain. The game is no longer played on Thanksgiving or at Memorial Stadium, but is now located at the home of the Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, at Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore. City College won the 126th meeting between the two schools in 2014. Poly now leads the series 62–57–6.

Girls basketball, 2009 MPSSAA state tournament championship game vs. River Hill. The Lady Knights went on to win the state championship.

Girls basketball[edit]

The Baltimore City College girls basketball program was formed in the fall of 1978 when the school became co-educational for the first time in its then-139-year-old history.[74] The Lady Knights won the MPSSAA state championship in 2009. City College's girls team also advanced to the state semifinals in 2004 and 2005.[56] In 2014, the Lady Knights played in the Division I Baltimore City League championship game, but fell to arch-rival Poly.[75] City entered the 2014 MPSSAA Class 3A state girls basketball tournament as the second seed in the east region.[76]


Baltimore City College boasts the oldest high school lacrosse program in the State of Maryland and is the among the oldest high school lacrosse programs in the United States.[77] The informal playing of lacrosse began at City College in 1879 when a group of students fielded two intramural teams.[78] Lacrosse became a permanent part of the school's athletic program in 1902. During the program's early years, the Knights played against collegiate teams, including Hopkins and Maryland. Between 1895 and 1920, City College faced off against the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays and the Navy Midshipmen a combined 11 times in lacrosse.[45][46] In 1941, eight of the 26 student-athletes on Johns Hopkins University's lacrosse roster were City College graduates.[79] At least 10 alumni of the City College boys lacrosse program are in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

It was not until City's arch-rival Poly fielded a lacrosse team in 1912 that the school competed against other secondary schools.[78] Baltimore City College lacrosse competed in the Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) from 1919 to 1993. The Knights have been members of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) since 1993. In all, the Knights have won 16 boys lacrosse championships.[80]

Anthony Ryan is the current City College boys lacrosse head coach. In 2001, Coach Ryan inherited a team that was winless the previous year. In his first season with the program, he guided the Knights to a 2–11 record. Between 2003 and 2010, Coach Ryan led City College boys lacrosse to a 69–5 record, three Baltimore City League championships, and, at one point, a 44-game inter-league winning streak.[81][82] Tracy Smith, a City College lacrosse attackman and team captain, was featured in the May 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated following a five-goal performance in a Knights win over defending City League champion and previously unbeaten Poly.[83]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

City College offers more than 20 student clubs and organizations. These activities include chapters of national organizations such as the National Honor Society (established at City in 1927) and Quill and Scroll. Service clubs include the Red Cross Club and Campus Improvement Association.[84] Other activities include Drama which holds the annual play, Art, Model UN, Band, Dance, and One City One Book, an organization that invites the entire school community to read one book selected by faculty and invites the author of the book for a reading, discussion, and question and answer period.[84] In 2007, Pulitzer Prize winner, MacArthur Fellow, and novelist Edward P. Jones discussed his book Lost in the City. The school store is operated by students and managed by the Student Government Association. One of City College's most notable academic teams is the It's Academic team which participates on It's Academic, a local television show.[84]

Speech and debate/literary and debating societies[edit]

The Baltimore City College debate team has a long and storied tradition that dates back over 150 years. The speech and debate teams are formally referred to as the Bancroft and Carrollton-Wight Literary Societies. The school's first formal debate team within a literary society was established in 1876 as the "Bancroft Literary Association", when B.C.C. was located in its fourth location, the first new building of English Gothic/Tudor Revival/Jacobethan architecture, especially built for it at the southwest corner of North Howard and West Centre Streets, on the southwest edge of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood, and northwest of the downtown central business district.[85] In 1878, a second competing society, the "Carrollton Literary Society", was later formed, named for Maryland's famous longest-living signer of the Declaration of Independence, the only Roman Catholic member, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, (1737-1832).[85] That Society was later renamed the "Carrollton-Wight Literary Society", in honor of its first adviser, Professor Charles Wight, a celebrated member of the B.C.C. Faculty during the 1870s. The two societies (Bancroft with a symbolic banner of red and black, Carrollton-Wight with its standard of green and gold), competed for the next century through to the early 1970s, noted throughout the city for their annual debates between the two organizations, unfortunately, by the mid-1970s, both Bancroft and Carrollton-Wight became dormant, prior to the reorganization/renovation of the School in 1978-1980.[86] Under the leadership of former faculty member, Prof. Donald Koch, the two societies were resurrected by 1997 as the "Baltimore City College Speech and Debate Team" to participate in an Abell Foundation (endowed by the "The Baltimore Sun" newspaper's former owning families) program to reestablish public speaking and debating skills and programs throughout the Baltimore City Public Schools.[87] The speech team retained the name of the old Bancroft Society and the debate team retained the name of the old Carrollton-Wight Society. "Mock trial" legal and court reenactments were not a traditional part of the old traditional literary societies, but it has been incorporated into B.C.C.'s modern speech and debate program.[87]

The schools' debate program competes against teams throughout Maryland and routinely travels around the United States to compete on the "national circuit". The team currently participates in four competitive debate leagues: the "Baltimore Catholic Forensic League",[88] the Baltimore Urban Debate League,[89] the Chesapeake region of the National Catholic Forensic League,[90] and the National Forensic League.[91] Several community partners, including the Abell Foundation and the Baltimore Community Foundation, which endowed the Gilbert Sandler Fund for Speech and Debate (to commemorate well-known Baltimore Sun writer/columnist and author of several books on Baltimore history) in 2008, support the program financially.[92]

The program has become one of the most well-regarded in the nation under Patrick Daniels, the school's current Director of Speech and Debate. In 2012, City College won the Baltimore Urban Debate League championship. In the same year, the school hosted the 61st National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament in Baltimore and earned a 3rd place national finish.[93] In recent years, the team has advanced deep into the Harvard Invitational Tournament and the National Forensic League National Tournament. Baltimore City College debate has earned multiple bids to the Tournament of Champions, the most elite high school debate competition in the United States. In 2013, City's Speech and Debate beat Chicago's top-ranked Whitney Young Magnet High School to win the prestigious National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) policy debate national championship.[94]

School orchestra/marching band[edit]

Baltimore City College Marching Knights' halftime show at M&T Bank Stadium, November 10, 2007. Head Drum Major 2007–2008 Marquise White leads the Knights.

The marching band at City College was created in the late 1940s. At the time, the instrumental music program consisted of the orchestra, concert band and marching band. The director who brought the band to prominence was Dr. Donald Norton. In 1954, while on sabbatical, he was replaced by Professor Charles M. Stengstacke. The 65 member concert band doubled as a marching band in the fall. During halftime performances at home the band would form the shape of a heart or a car, but always ending the performance by forming the letters C-I-T-Y.[95]

In the 1980s, under James Russell Perkins, these groups grew in size and changed styles, adding "soulful" dance steps. Perkins's groups toured and traveled the east coast. They received superior ratings at district and state festivals. Perkins is responsible for the creation of the City College Jazz Band, the "Knights of Jazz".

In 1994, Alvin T. Wallace became Band Director. During his tenure, a wind ensemble was added and the marching band grew to include over 150 members. In 1999, the band swept the top categories in the Disney World high school band competition.[35] In 2006, the wind ensemble received a grade of superior at the district adjudication festival and marched in the Baltimore Mayor's Christmas Day Parade.[96]


The choir performing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the school's 2006 Hall of Fame Assembly

The City College choir was founded in 1950 by Professor Donald Regier. Originally a co-curricular subject with only 18 members, by 1954 it had developed into a major subject of study with 74 students enrolled.[97] Under the direction of Linda Hall, today's choir consists of four groups: the Mixed Chorus, the Concert Choir, the Singin'/Swingin' Knights, and the Knights and Daze Show Choir.[98] The Mixed Choir is opened to all students at City College and currently has a membership of approximately 135 students. The Concert Choir is a more selective group consisting of about 50 students, who must audition for their places in the choir. The Singin'/Swingin' Knights is an even more selective group composed of 25 students. The Knights and Daze Show Choir is a group of students, who perform a choreographed dance routine while they sing. With the exception of the Knights and Daze Show Choir, which performs jazz and pop music, the choir's repertoire consists of gospel music, spirituals,[98] and Classical works by composers such as Handel and Michael Praetorius.

The choir has traveled to Europe on several occasions; its first trip was in 1999, after receiving an invitation to perform at the Choralfest in Arezzo, Italy.[99] In 2003, the choir returned to Italy to perform at the annual Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.[98] The choir has also performed in France and Spain.[98]

On October 2, 2007, the Weill Institute of Music at Carnegie Hall announced that the City College choir was one of four high school choirs selected to participate in the National High School Choral Festival on March 10, 2008. The four choirs will perform Johannes Brahms' A German Requiem under the direction of Craig Jessop, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Director. The choirs will also be led by their own directors in performing choral selections of their choosing.[100]

Student publications[edit]

The 1967 Green Bag

The Green Bag[edit]

The Green Bag is the senior class annual at the Baltimore City College. Published continuously since 1896, The Green Bag is the oldest publication still in existence at the school and one of the oldest high school or college yearbooks in America.[101] G. Warfield Hobbs Jr. (later an Episcopal priest), president of the 1896 senior class and first editor-in-chief of The Green Bag, gave the publication its name in recognition of the role of City College graduates in political leadership. Historically, the famous green "carpet bag" in the 19th century containing the lists of political appointees (also known as "patronage") of the Governor of Maryland to be approved by the General Assembly of Maryland has long been known as the "green bag", though the derivation of the term is unknown. So the term became synanmous with "good news" and "glad tidings", such as could be applied to the feelings that recent graduates felt when seeing and reading their new yearbooks published soon after their graduations.[102] The first yearbooks contained sketches of faculty and seniors, and included recollections, anecdotes, stories, and quotes significant to the student body. Underclassmen were included for the first time with individual portraits in the growing student body in 1948. In 2007, The Green Bag released its first full-color edition, one of the most colorful since color printing of photographs was first introduced in The Bag in 1963 and again in 1967. For many years the annual was printed by the local well-known printer/publisher of H.G. Roebuck and Son, owned by a B.C.C. alumnus up to 1970[103]

The most controversial issue of The Green Bag was published in 1900 when members of the senior class used the annual to make fun of their professors. The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners attempted to censor the edition by requiring The Green Bag to be reviewed by Principal Francis A. Soper. The yearbook had already been printed, and in defiance of the school board, the editors refused to have the edition censored and reprinted. The School Board responded by withholding the diplomas of six of the editors and the business manager and by preventing the school from holding a public commencement ceremony. One of the boys expelled, Clarence Keating Bowie, became a member of the School Board himself in 1926. The infamous cartoon was later printed for the first time in a "Bag" in an opening segment on school history in 1972.[104]

The Collegian, Vol. 77.1

The Collegian[edit]

The Collegian has been the school student newspaper of City College since its first publication as a bi-weekly newspaper in 1929.[105] Though several other publications existed in 1929, such as the student magazine The Oriole since 1912, The Collegian is the only publication other than The Green Bag still printed. Originally, the paper was both managed and printed by students. During the 1930s, The Collegian won numerous awards including second place in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's annual contest for five years in a row.[105] In recent years, the publication has waned. Budget cuts have reduced the number of issues printed. Citing the decline of The Collegian and increasing disorder in the school, 2 underground publications were started, the first entitled Knights' Voice by Marshall Troutner and the second entitled "Omnibus" by Leah Goldman and Maia Gottlieb in May 2007. Goldman and Gottlieb later went on to revive The Collegian, going to print in 2008. The Collegian is still being published quarterly at the school, often with a bonus issue around the time of the City-Poly game.

Alumni Association[edit]

2007 Hall of Fame ceremony

The Baltimore City College Alumni Association Inc. (BCCAA) was established in 1866 as a support network for City College. The BCCAA holds an annual meeting at the school every November and its Board of Governors meets the first Monday of each month at the school.

The BCCAA publishes the class reunion guide, established and maintains a life membership endowment fund, presents Golden Apple Awards annually to faculty members, sponsors the Hall of Fame selection and induction, publishes a semi-annual newsletter, maintains an alumni database, and assists with projects designed to enrich student life and improve the school's facilities.

Trustees of the Baltimore City College Scholarship Funds[edit]

The Trustees of the Baltimore City College Scholarship Funds, Inc., was established and incorporated in 1983, and replaced a similar entity that was established in 1924. The Trustees manage endowments, most of which provide annual scholarships to graduating seniors based on criteria stipulated by the donors. Combined endowment assets are currently valued at or around $1.68 million (adjusted for inflation) covering thirty-four annual scholarships.[106] To recognize the custodianship provided by the Trustees, the BCCAA has placed a bronze plaque in the main hall of the school which carries an individually cast nameplate for each of the thirty-four permanent endowments held by the Trustees.[107]

Baltimore City College Hall of Fame[edit]

The Baltimore City College Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held annually in October. Alumni that have demonstrated extraordinary service to the school, city, state, country, or world are elected to the Hall of Fame, with former inductees, alumni, and students attending the two-hour ceremony. Inductees included Vice-President at Goldman Sachs Robert Hormats in 2007,[108] and Maryland State delegate Curt Anderson in 2013.[109]

Notable alumni[edit]

Many City College alumni have become civil servants, including three of the 10 individuals currently representing the state of Maryland in the U.S. Congress—Congressman Elijah Cummings, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, and Senator Ben Cardin.[8] Among graduates with significant military service are two Commandants of the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Frederick C. Billard[110] and Admiral J. William Kime,[111] as well as 2nd Lieutenant Jacob Beser,[112] the only individual to serve on both the Enola Gay when it dropped Little Boy and Bocks Car when it dropped Fat Man. In addition, three City College alumni are recipients of the Medal of Honor.[113][114]

The list of alumni includes prominent scientists, such as theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler,[115] who coined the term black hole and received the 1997 Wolf Prize in Physics, Martin Rodbell,[116] who received the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of G-proteins, and Abel Wolman,[117] the "father" of chlorinated drinking water and a National Medal of Science recipient. Notable writers such as Leon Uris,[118] author of the Exodus, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Karl Shapiro,[119] and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist Russell Baker are also alumni. Businessmen, who have graduated from the school, include David M. Rubenstein,[120] co-founder of The Carlyle Group, and David T. Abercrombie,[110] namesake and co-founder of Abercrombie & Fitch.

Notable faculty members[edit]

Coach Eugene Parker, 1984


Principal Cindy Harcum and basketball Captain Bond at ceremony in the House of Delegates, March 2014


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  • Daneker, David C., editor (1988). 150 Years of the Baltimore City College. Baltimore: Baltimore City College Alumni Association. 
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°19′32″N 76°35′50″W / 39.325663°N 76.597338°W / 39.325663; -76.597338