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The City University of New York
MottoLatin: Eruditio populi liberi spes gentium
Motto in English
The education of free people is the hope of Mankind[1]
TypePublic university system
Established1961; 63 years ago (1961)[2]
Budget$3.6 billion[3]
ChancellorFélix V. Matos Rodríguez[4]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Campus25 campuses[7]

The City University of New York (CUNY, spoken /ˈkjuːni/, KYOO-nee) is the public university system of New York City. It is the largest urban university system in the United States, comprising 25 campuses: eleven senior colleges, seven community colleges, and seven professional institutions. In 1960, John R. Everett became the first chancellor of the Municipal College System of New York City, later known as the City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY, established by New York State legislation in 1961 and signed into law by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, was an amalgamation of existing institutions and a new graduate school.

The system was governed by the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York, created in 1926, and later renamed the Board of Trustees of the CUNY in 1979. The institutions merged into CUNY included the Free Academy (later City College of New York), the Female Normal and High School (later Hunter College), Brooklyn College, and Queens College. CUNY has historically provided accessible education, especially to those excluded or unable to afford private universities. The first community college in New York City was established in 1955 with shared funding between the state and the city, but unlike the senior colleges, community college students had to pay tuition.

The integration of CUNY's colleges into a single university system took place in 1961, under a chancellor and with state funding. The Graduate Center, serving as the principal doctorate-granting institution, was also established that year. In 1964, Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. extended the senior colleges' free tuition policy to community colleges.The 1960s saw student protests demanding more racial diversity and academic representation in CUNY, leading to the establishment of Medgar Evers College and the implementation of the Open Admissions policy in 1970. This policy dramatically increased student diversity but also introduced challenges like low retention rates. The 1976 fiscal crisis ended the free tuition policy, leading to the introduction of tuition fees for all CUNY colleges. The university enrolls more than 275,000 students and counts thirteen Nobel Prize winners and twenty-four MacArthur Fellows among its alumni.[8]



In 1960, John R. Everett became the first chancellor of the Municipal College System of the City of New York, later renamed CUNY, for a salary of $25,000 ($257,000 in current dollar terms).[9][10][11] CUNY was created in 1961,[12] by New York State legislation, signed into law by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. The legislation integrated existing institutions and a new graduate school into a coordinated system of higher education for the city, under the control of the "Board of Higher Education of the City of New York", which had been created by New York State legislation in 1926. By 1979, the Board of Higher Education had become the "Board of Trustees of the CUNY".[13]

The institutions that were merged to create CUNY were:[13]

  • The Free Academy – Founded in 1847 by Townsend Harris, it was fashioned as "a Free Academy for the purpose of extending the benefits of education gratuitously to persons who have been pupils in the common schools of the city and county of New York." The Free Academy later became the City College of New York.
  • The Female Normal and High School – Founded in 1870, and later renamed the Normal College. It would be renamed again in 1914 to Hunter College. During the early 20th century, Hunter College expanded into the Bronx, with what became Herbert Lehman College.[13]
  • Brooklyn College – Founded in 1930.
  • Queens College – Founded in 1937.

Accessible education[edit]

CUNY has served a diverse student body, especially those excluded from or unable to afford private universities. Its four-year colleges offered a high-quality, tuition-free education to the poor, the working class, and the immigrants of New York City who met the grade requirements for matriculated status. During the post-World War I era, when some Ivy League universities, such as Yale University, discriminated against Jews, many Jewish academics and intellectuals studied and taught at CUNY.[14] The City College of New York developed a reputation of being "the Harvard of the proletariat."[15]

As New York City's population and public college enrollment grew during the early 20th century and the city struggled for resources, the municipal colleges slowly began adopting selective tuition, also known as instructional fees, for a handful of courses and programs. During the Great Depression, with funding for public colleges severely constrained, limits were imposed on the size of the colleges' free Day Sessions, and tuition was imposed upon students deemed "competent" but not academically qualified for the day program. Most of these "limited matriculation" students enrolled in the Evening Sessions, and paid tuition.[16] Additionally, as the population of New York grew, CUNY was not able to accommodate the demand for higher education. Higher and higher requirements for admission were imposed; in 1965, a student seeking admission to CUNY needed an average grade of 92 or A−.[17] This helped to ensure that the student population of CUNY remained largely white and middle-class.[17]

Demand in the United States for higher education rapidly grew after World War II, and during the mid-1940s a movement began to create community colleges to provide accessible education and training. In New York City, however, the community college movement was constrained by many factors including "financial problems, narrow perceptions of responsibility, organizational weaknesses, adverse political factors, and other competing priorities."[18]

Community colleges would have drawn from the same city coffers that were funding the senior colleges, and city higher education officials were of the view that the state should finance them. It was not until 1955, under a shared-funding arrangement with New York State, that New York City established its first community college, on Staten Island. Unlike the day college students attending the city's public baccalaureate colleges for free, community college students had to pay tuition fees under the state-city funding formula. Community college students paid tuition fees for approximately 10 years.[18]

Over time, tuition fees for limited-matriculated students became an important source of system revenues. In fall 1957, for example, nearly 36,000 attended Hunter, Brooklyn, Queens and City Colleges for free, but another 24,000 paid tuition fees of up to $300 a year ($3,300 in current dollar terms).[19] Undergraduate tuition and other student fees in 1957 comprised 17 percent of the colleges' $46.8 million in revenues, about $7.74 million ($83,970,000 in current dollar terms).[20]

Three community colleges had been established by early 1961 when New York City's public colleges were codified by the state as a single university with a chancellor at the helm and an infusion of state funds. But the city's slowness in creating the community colleges as demand for college seats was intensifying and had resulted in mounting frustration, particularly on the part of minorities, that college opportunities were not available to them.

In 1964, as New York City's Board of Higher Education moved to take full responsibility for the community colleges, city officials extended the senior colleges' free tuition policy to them, a change that was included by Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. in his budget plans and took effect with the 1964–65 academic year.[21]

Calls for greater access to public higher education from the black and Puerto Rican communities in New York, especially in Brooklyn, led to the founding of "Community College Number 7," later Medgar Evers College, in 1966–1967.[17] In 1969, a group of black and Puerto Rican students occupied City College and demanded the racial integration of CUNY, which at the time had an overwhelmingly white student body.[18]

Student protests[edit]

Students at some campuses became increasingly frustrated with the university's and Board of Higher Education's handling of university administration. At Baruch College in 1967, over a thousand students protested the plan to make the college an upper-division school limited to junior, senior, and graduate students.[22] At Brooklyn College in 1968, students attempted a sit-in to demand the admission of more black and Puerto Rican students and additional black studies curriculum.[23] Students at Hunter College also demanded a Black studies program.[24] Members of the SEEK program, which provided academic support for underprepared and underprivileged students, staged a building takeover at Queens College in 1969 to protest the decisions of the program's director, who would later be replaced by a black professor.[25][26] Puerto Rican students at Bronx Community College filed a report with the New York State Division of Human Rights in 1970, contending that the intellectual level of the college was inferior and discriminatory.[27] Hunter College was crippled for several days by a protest of 2,000 students who had a list of demands focusing on more student representation in college administration.[28] Across CUNY, students boycotted their campuses in 1970 to protest a rise in student fees and other issues, including the proposed (and later implemented) open admissions plan.[29]

Like many college campuses in 1970, CUNY faced a number of protests and demonstrations after the Kent State massacre and Cambodian Campaign. The Administrative Council of the City University of New York sent U.S. president Richard Nixon a telegram in 1970 stating, "No nation can long endure the alienation of the best of its young people."[30] Some colleges, including John Jay College of Criminal Justice, historically the "college for cops," held teach-ins in addition to student and faculty protests.[31]

In April of 2024, CUNY students joined other campuses across the United States in protests against the Israel–Hamas war.[32][33] The student protestors demanded that CUNY divest from companies with ties to Israel and that CUNY officials cancel any upcoming trips to Israel and protect students involved in the demonstrations.[34]

Open admissions[edit]

Under pressure from community activists and CUNY Chancellor Albert Bowker, the Board of Higher Education (BHE) approved an open admissions plan in 1966, but it was not scheduled to be fully implemented until 1975.[17] However, in 1969, students and faculty across CUNY participated in rallies, student strikes, and class boycotts demanding an end to CUNY's restrictive admissions policies. CUNY administrators and Mayor John Lindsay expressed support for these demands, and the BHE voted to implement the plan immediately in the fall of 1970.[17]

All high school graduates were guaranteed entrance to the university without having to fulfill traditional requirements such as exams or grades. The policy nearly doubled the number of students enrolled in the CUNY system to 35,000 (compared to 20,000 the year before). Black and Hispanic student enrollment increased threefold.[35] Remedial education, to supplement the training of under-prepared students, became a significant part of CUNY's offerings.[36] Additionally, ethnic and Black Studies programs and centers were instituted on many CUNY campuses, contributing to the growth of similar programs nationwide.[17]

However, retention of students in CUNY during this period was low, with two-thirds of students enrolled in the early 1970s leaving within four years without graduating.[17]

Financial crisis of 1976[edit]

In fall 1976, during New York City's fiscal crisis, the free tuition policy was discontinued under pressure from the federal government, the financial community that had a role in rescuing the city from bankruptcy, and New York State, which would take over the funding of CUNY's senior colleges.[37] Tuition, which had been in place in the State University of New York system since 1963, was instituted at all CUNY colleges.[38][39]

Meanwhile, CUNY students were added to the state's need-based Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which had been created to help private colleges.[40] Full-time students who met the income eligibility criteria were permitted to receive TAP, ensuring for the first time that financial hardship would deprive no CUNY student of a college education.[40] Within a few years, the federal government would create its own need-based program, known as Pell Grants, providing the neediest students with a tuition-free college education. Joseph S. Murphy was Chancellor of the City University of New York from 1982 to 1990, when he resigned.[41] CUNY at the time was the third-largest university in the United States, with over 180,000 students.[42]

By 2011, nearly six of ten full-time undergraduates qualified for a tuition-free education at CUNY due in large measure to state, federal and CUNY financial aid programs.[43] CUNY's enrollment dipped after tuition was re-established, and there were further enrollment declines through the 1980s and into the 1990s.[44]

Financial crisis of 1995[edit]

In 1995, CUNY suffered another fiscal crisis when Governor George Pataki proposed a drastic cut in state financing.[45] Faculty cancelled classes and students staged protests. By May, CUNY adopted deep cuts to college budgets and class offerings.[46] By June, to save money spent on remedial programs, CUNY adopted a stricter admissions policy for its senior colleges: students deemed unprepared for college would not be admitted, this a departure from the 1970 Open Admissions program.[47] That year's final state budget cut funding by $102 million, which CUNY absorbed by increasing tuition by $750 and offering a retirement incentive plan for faculty.

In 1999, a task force appointed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani issued a report that described CUNY as "an institution adrift" and called for an improved, more cohesive university structure and management, as well as more consistent academic standards. Following the report, Matthew Goldstein, a mathematician and City College graduate who had led CUNY's Baruch College and briefly, Adelphi University, was appointed chancellor. CUNY ended its policy of open admissions to its four-year colleges, raised its admissions standards at its most selective four-year colleges (Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens), and required new enrollees who needed remediation to begin their studies at a CUNY open-admissions community college.[48]

2010 onward[edit]

CUNY's enrollment of degree-credit students reached 220,727 in 2005 and 262,321 in 2010 as the university broadened its academic offerings.[49] The university added more than 2,000 full-time faculty positions, opened new schools and programs, and expanded the university's fundraising efforts to help pay for them.[48] Fundraising increased from $35 million in 2000 to more than $200 million in 2012.[50]

As of Autumn 2013, all CUNY undergraduates are required to take an administration-dictated common core of courses which have been claimed to meet specific "learning outcomes" or standards. Since the courses are accepted university-wide, the administration claims it will be easier for students to transfer course credits between CUNY colleges. It also reduced the number of core courses some CUNY colleges had required, to a level below national norms, particularly in the sciences.[51][52] The program is the target of several lawsuits by students and faculty, and was the subject of a "no confidence" vote by the faculty, who rejected it by an overwhelming 92% margin.[53]

Chancellor Goldstein retired on July 1, 2013, and was replaced on June 1, 2014, by James Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska, and a graduate of the University of Nebraska and New York University School of Law.[54] Milliken retired at the end of the 2018 academic year and moved on to become the chancellor for the University of Texas system.[55][56]

In 2018, CUNY opened its 25th campus, the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, named after former president Joseph S. Murphy and combining some forms and functions of the Murphy Institute that were housed at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.[57]

On February 13, 2019, the board of trustees voted to appoint Queens College president Felix V. Matos Rodriguez as the chancellor of the City University of New York.[58] Matos became both the first Latino and minority educator to head the university. He assumed the post May 1.[59]

Enrollment and demographics[edit]

CUNY is the fourth-largest university system in the United States by enrollment, behind the California State University, State University of New York (SUNY), and University of California systems. More than 271,000-degree-credit students, continuing, and professional education students are enrolled at campuses located in all five New York City boroughs.[60]

The university has one of the most diverse student bodies in the United States, with students hailing from around the world, although most students live in New York City. The black, white and Hispanic undergraduate populations each comprise more than a quarter of the student body, and Asian undergraduates make up 18 percent. Fifty-eight percent are female, and 28 percent are 25 or older.[61] In the 2017–2018 award year, 144,380 CUNY students received the Federal Pell Grant.[62]

CUNY Citizenship Now![edit]

Founded in 1997 by immigration lawyer Allan Wernick, CUNY Citizenship Now! is an immigration assistance organization that provides free and confidential immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship.[63][64] In 2021, CUNY launched a College Immigrant Ambassador Program in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.[65][66]


Academic rankings

Component institutions[edit]

CUNY component institutions
Est. Type Name
1847 Senior College City College
1870 Senior College Hunter College
1919 Senior College Baruch College
1930 Senior College Brooklyn College
1937 Senior College Queens College
1946 Senior College New York City College of Technology
1964 Senior College John Jay College of Criminal Justice
1966 Senior College York College
1968 Senior College Lehman College
1970 Senior College Medgar Evers College
1976 Senior College College of Staten Island
2001 Honors College William E. Macaulay Honors College
1957 Community College Bronx Community College
1958 Community College Queensborough Community College
1963 Community College Borough of Manhattan Community College
1963 Community College Kingsborough Community College
1968 Community College LaGuardia Community College
1970 Community College Hostos Community College
2011 Community College Guttman Community College
1961 Graduate / professional CUNY Graduate Center
1973 Graduate / professional CUNY School of Medicine
1983 Graduate / professional CUNY School of Law
2006 Graduate / professional CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
2006 Graduate / professional CUNY School of Professional Studies
2008 Graduate / professional CUNY School of Public Health
2018 Graduate / professional CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

Management structure[edit]

Seal of the CUNY Board of Trustees

The forerunner of today's City University of New York was governed by the Board of Education of New York City. Members of the Board of Education, chaired by the president of the board, served as ex officio trustees. For the next four decades, the board members continued to serve as ex officio trustees of the College of the City of New York and the city's other municipal college, the Normal College of the City of New York.

In 1900, the New York State Legislature created separate boards of trustees for the College of the City of New York and the Normal College, which became Hunter College in 1914. In 1926, the legislature established the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York, which assumed supervision of both municipal colleges.

In 1961, the New York State Legislature established the City University of New York, uniting what had become seven municipal colleges at the time: the City College of New York, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Staten Island Community College, Bronx Community College and Queensborough Community College. In 1979, the CUNY Financing and Governance Act was adopted by the State and the Board of Higher Education became the City University of New York Board of Trustees.

Today, the City University is governed by the board of trustees composed of 17 members, ten of whom are appointed by the governor of New York "with the advice and consent of the senate," and five by the mayor of New York City "with the advice and consent of the senate." The final two trustees are ex officio members. One is the chair of the university's student senate, and the other is non-voting and is the chair of the university's faculty senate. Both the mayoral and gubernatorial appointments to the CUNY Board are required to include at least one resident of each of New York City's five boroughs. Trustees serve seven-year terms, which are renewable for another seven years. The chancellor is elected by the board of trustees, and is the "chief educational and administrative officer" of the City University.

The administrative offices are in Midtown Manhattan.[68]


CUNY employs 6,700 full-time faculty members and over 10,000 adjunct faculty members.[69][70] Faculty and staff are represented by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), a labor union and chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.[71]

Notable faculty[edit]

F. Murray Abraham
Hannah Arendt
John Ashbery
Michael Cunningham
Allen Ginsberg
Itzhak Perlman
Mark Rothko
Dr. Ruth
Elie Wiesel

Public Safety Department[edit]

Patch of the CUNY Public Safety Department

CUNY has a unified public safety department, the City University of New York Public Safety Department, with branches at each of the 26 CUNY campuses.[78] The New York City Police Department is the primary policing and investigation agency within the New York City as per the NYC Charter, which includes all CUNY campuses and facilities.

The Public Safety Department came under heavy criticism from student groups, after several students protesting tuition increases tried to occupy the lobby of the Baruch College. The occupiers were forcibly removed from the area and several were arrested on November 21, 2011.[79]

Antisemitism at CUNY[edit]

In recent years, there have been a number of antisemitic incidents on CUNY campuses, including:

  • In March 2014, Brooklyn College settled the Title VI complaint that the Zionist Organization of America ("ZOA") had filed against its antisemitic discrimination.[80]
  • In 2017, a CUNY admin was recorded saying that there were too many Jews on campus.[81]
  • In 2020, a CUNY student was arrested for spray-painting antisemitic graffiti on a campus building. [citation needed]
  • In 2021, a survey found that nearly one in four CUNY students had experienced antisemitism on campus. The survey also found that Jewish students were more likely to report feeling unsafe on campus than students of other faiths.[82]
  • In 2021, students and faculty at Hunter College disrupted two sessions of a required course by taking over the class to advocate for "the decolonization of Palestine."[83]
  • In May 2021, a student at John Jay posted a picture of Adolf Hitler on Instagram with a message saying "We need another Hitler today." A group of Jewish students met with Karol Mason, the President of the college, who refused to condemn the action publicly.[80]
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cited CUNY in 2021 for failing to protect a Jewish professor after the PSC discriminated against him and subjected him to a hostile work environment on the basis of his Jewish faith.[84]

CUNY has taken steps to address antisemitism on its campuses. In 2020, the university created a task force to combat antisemitism. The task force has developed a number of initiatives, including training for faculty and staff on how to identify and address antisemitism.[85]

In June 2024, the United States Department of Education concluded that CUNY has failed to protect Jewish students from discrimination following the October 7 attacks. CUNY's Hunter College also faced scrutiny for incidents dating back to 2021. In response, Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez stated that CUNY is dedicated to maintaining a discrimination-free and hate-free environment, and that new measures will ensure consistent and transparent investigation and resolution of complaints.[83]

City University Television (CUNY TV)[edit]

CUNY also has a broadcast TV service, CUNY TV (channel 75 on Spectrum, digital HD broadcast channel 25.3), which airs telecourses, classic and foreign films, magazine shows, and panel discussions in foreign languages.

City University Film Festival (CUNYFF)[edit]

The City University Film Festival is CUNY's official film festival. The festival was founded in 2009.

Notable alumni[edit]

CUNY graduates include 13 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 U.S. Secretaries of State, a Supreme Court Justice, several New York City mayors, members of Congress, state legislators, scientists, artists, and Olympians.[61][86]

CUNY notable alumni
The following table is 'sortable'; click on a column heading to re-sort the table by values of that column.
Name Grad. College Notable for
Kenneth Arrow 1940 City economist and joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics
Robert Aumann 1950 City mathematician and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics
Albert Axelrod City Olympic foil fencer
Herman Badillo 1951 City civil rights activist and first Puerto Rican elected to the U.S. Congress
Daniel Bukantz City Olympic foil fencer
Abram Cohen City Olympic foil, épée, and sabre fencer
Arlene Davila 1996 City author and Anthropology and American Studies professor at New York University
Rubén Díaz Jr. 2005 Lehman Bronx Borough President
Rubén Díaz Sr. 1976 Lehman NYC Council Member, Pastor
Jeffrey Dinowitz 1975 Lehman NYS Assembly Member
Jesse Douglas 1916 City mathematician and winner of one of the first two Fields Medals
Eliot Engel 1969 Lehman Member of the US House of Representatives, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Abraham Foxman City national director, Anti-Defamation League
Felix Frankfurter 1902 City U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Denise Galloway 1975 City Cancer researcher and medical academic
Harold Goldsmith 1952 City Olympic foil and épée fencer
Andy Grove 1960 City Chairman and CEO, Intel Corporation
Herbert A. Hauptman 1937 City mathematician and winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Letitia James 1982 Lehman NYS Attorney General
Barbara Joans 1974 anthropologist who researched biker culture
Jane Katz 1963 City Olympic swimmer
Henry Kissinger City U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor
Leonard Kleinrock 1957 City computer scientist, Internet pioneer
Guillermo Linares 1975 City New York City Council member, first Dominican-American City Council member and Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs
Nathaniel Lubell 1936 City Olympic foil, saber, and épée fencer
Samuel Lubell City pollster, journalist, and National Book Award for Nonfiction finalist
Lisa Nakamura 1993 1996 City Director and Professor of the Asian American Studies Program at the Institute of Communication Research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Charles Neider City Author, Scholar
Barnett Newman 1927 City abstract expressionist artist
John O'Keefe City 2014 Nobel laureate in Medicine
Colin Powell 1958 City Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State
Mario Puzo City novelist, Oscar-winning screenwriter for Best Adapted Screenplay (1972, 1974).
Faith Ringgold 1955 City feminist, writer and artist
Saul Rogovin City
Professional baseball player
A. M. Rosenthal 1949 City executive editor of The New York Times who championed the publication of the Pentagon Papers; Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist expelled from Poland in 1959 for his reporting on the nation's government and society
Rochelle Saidel City author, founder of the Remember the Women Institute
Jonas Salk 1934 City developed the first polio vaccine
Daniel Schorr 1939 City Emmy award winning broadcast journalist for CBS-TV and National Public Radio
Elliott Fitch Shepard 1855 City lawyer, banker, and a founder of the New York State Bar Association
James Strauch City Olympic épée fencer
Bernard Weinraub City journalist and playwright
Henry Wittenberg City Olympic champion wrestler
Egemen Bağış Baruch Turkish politician, government minister
Abraham Beame 1928 Baruch born Abraham Birnbaum; mayor of New York City
Robin Byrd Baruch host of public access program The Robin Byrd Show (dropped out)[87]
Barbara A. Cornblatt 1977 Baruch professor of psychiatry and molecular medicine at Hofstra University School of Medicine
Fernando Ferrer Baruch New York City mayoral candidate in 2001 and 2005
Sidney Harman 1939 Baruch founder and executive chairman of Harman Kardon
Marcia A. Karrow Baruch member of New Jersey General Assembly
James Lam 1983 Baruch author, risk management consultant
Ralph Lauren Baruch born Ralph Lifshitz; chairman and CEO of Polo Ralph Lauren (dropped out)
Dolly Lenz Baruch New York City real estate agent
Dennis Levine Baruch prominent player in the Wall Street insider trading scandals of the mid-1980s
Jennifer Lopez Baruch actress, singer, dancer (dropped out)
Craig A. Stanley Baruch member of New Jersey General Assembly since 1996.[88]
Tarkan Baruch Turkish language singer
Bella Abzug 1942 Hunter born Bella Savitzky; feminist; political activist; U.S. Representative, 1971–1977
Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick 1963 Hunter first Hispanic woman named to the New York State Court of Appeals
Robert R. Davila 1965 Hunter president of Gallaudet University and advocate for the rights of the hearing impaired
Ruby Dee 1945 Hunter Emmy-nominated actress and civil rights activist
Martin Garbus 1955 Hunter First amendment attorney
Florence Howe 1950 Hunter founder of women's studies and founder/publisher of the Feminist Press/CUNY
Audre Lorde 1959 Hunter African-American lesbian poet, essayist, educator and activist
Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou 1991 Hunter Foreign Minister of Mauritania and professor of international history at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva
Soia Mentschikoff 1934 Hunter first woman partner of a major law firm; first woman elected president of the Association of American Law Schools
Thomas J. Murphy Jr. 1973 Hunter three-term mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1994–2006
Pauli Murray 1933 Hunter first African-American woman named an Episcopal priest; human rights activist; lawyer and co-founder of N.O.W
Edward Thomas Brady John Jay (MA), trial attorney and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina
Jennings Michael Burch John Jay author of the 1984 best-selling memoir They Cage the Animals at Night
Marcos Crespo John Jay (BA), New York State Assemblyman representing district 85[89]
Edward A. Flynn John Jay Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department
Petri Hawkins-Byrd 1989 John Jay Judge Judy bailiff
Henry Lee 1972 John Jay forensic scientist and founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science
Miguel Martinez John Jay (BS), member of the New York City Council representing the 10th District in upper Manhattan's Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill areas until his resignation on July 14, 2009
Eva Norvind John Jay (MA), actor and director
Pauley Perrette John Jay actor best known for her role as Abby Scuito on NCIS
Ronald Rice John Jay New Jersey State Senator
Ariel Rios John Jay undercover special agent for the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), killed in the line of duty
Imette St. Guillen John Jay criminal justice graduate student murdered in February 2006. A scholarship was created in her name
Scott Stringer John Jay Comptroller, Borough president of Manhattan, and member of the New York State Assembly
Dorothy Uhnak John Jay (BA), novelist and detective for the New York City Transit Police Department
Bill Baird 1955 Brooklyn reproductive rights activist and co-director of the Pro Choice League
Barbara Aronstein Black 1953 Brooklyn Dean of Columbia Law School
Barbara Levy Boxer 1962 Brooklyn anti-war activist, environmentalist, U.S. representative, 1982–1993, and U.S. senator
Mel Brooks 1956 Brooklyn born Melvin Kaminsky; Academy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning director, writer, and actor
Shirley Chisholm 1946 Brooklyn first African-American U.S. Congresswoman, 1968–1982. Candidate for U.S. president, 1972
Bruce Chizen 1978 Brooklyn president & CEO, Adobe Systems
Manuel F. Cohen 1933 Brooklyn Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman
Paul Cohen 1953 Brooklyn Fields Medal-winning mathematician
Stanley Cohen 1943 Brooklyn biochemist and Nobel laureate (Physiology or Medicine), 1986
Robert A. Daly Brooklyn CEO of Warner Bros. and Los Angeles Dodgers
Alan M. Dershowitz 1959 Brooklyn Harvard Law School professor and author
Jerry Della Femina 1957 Brooklyn Chairman & CEO, Della Femina, Jeary and Partners
Dan DiDio 1983 Brooklyn comic book editor and executive for DC Comics
Benjamin Eisenstadt 1954 Brooklyn creator of Sweet'N Low and founder of Cumberland Packing Corporation
Sandra Feldman 1960 Brooklyn president, American Federation of Teachers
James Franco Brooklyn Golden Globe Award-winning actor
Nikki Franke 1972 Brooklyn Olympic foil fencer
Ralph Goldstein Brooklyn Olympic épée fencer
Sterling Johnson Jr. 1963 Brooklyn Senior United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Gata Kamsky 1999 Brooklyn chess grandmaster and five-time US chess champion
Saul Katz 1960 Brooklyn president of the New York Mets
Edward R. Korman 1963 Brooklyn Senior United States District Judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Marvin Kratter 1937 Brooklyn owner of the Boston Celtics
Don Lemon 1996 Brooklyn reporter, CNN
Leonard Lopate 1967 Brooklyn host of the public radio talk show The Leonard Lopate Show, broadcast on WNYC
Michael Lynne 1961 Brooklyn CEO of New Line Cinema
Marjorie Magner 1969 Brooklyn Chairman of Gannett
Marty Markowitz 1970 Brooklyn New York State Senator; Brooklyn Borough President
Paul Mazursky 1951 Brooklyn film director, writer, producer; actor
Frank McCourt 1967 Brooklyn Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis
Stanley Milgram 1954 Brooklyn social psychologist
Jerry Moss 1957 Brooklyn co-founder of A&M Records
Barry Munitz 1963 Brooklyn Chancellor of California State University
Gloria Naylor 1981 Brooklyn novelist; Winner National Book Award
Peter Nero 1956 Brooklyn born Bernard Nierow; pianist and pops conductor; Grammy Award winner
Harvey Pitt 1965 Brooklyn Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission
Rosemary S. Pooler 1959 Brooklyn United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Jason K. Pulliam 1995; 1997 Brooklyn United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
Barry Salzberg 1974 Brooklyn CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Bernie Sanders Brooklyn US senator representing Vermont
Steve Schirripa 1980 Brooklyn actor known for his role as Bobby Baccalieri on the HBO TV series The Sopranos
Irwin Shaw 1934 Brooklyn born Irwin Shamforoff; O. Henry Award-winning author
Timothy Shortell 1992 Brooklyn Writer, critic of religion
Joel Harvey Slomsky 1967 Brooklyn Senior United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Jimmy Smits 1980 Brooklyn Emmy Award-winning actor; NYPD Blue and L.A. Law
Maynard Solomon 1950 Brooklyn co-founder of Vanguard Records
Lisa Staiano-Coico 1976 Brooklyn president of City College of New York
Frank Tarloff Brooklyn Academy Award-winning screenwriter
Benjamin Ward 1960 Brooklyn first black New York City Police Commissioner, 1983–1989
Iris Weinshall 1975 Brooklyn Vice Chancellor at the City University of New York and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation
Jack B. Weinstein 1943 Brooklyn Senior Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Walter Yetnikoff 1953 Brooklyn CEO of CBS Records
Philip Zimbardo 1954 Brooklyn social psychologist
Joy Behar 1964 Queens comedian, television personality
Jerry Colonna Queens venture capitalist and entrepreneur coach
Joseph Crowley Queens member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1999–2019
Alan Hevesi Queens New York State Comptroller, New York State Assemblyman, Queens College professor
Cheryl Lehman 1975 Queens Professor of Accounting, Hofstra University
Helen Marshall Queens Queens Borough President
Donna Orender Queens WNBA president
Jerry Seinfeld 1976 Queens actor and comedian
Charles Wang Queens founder of Computer Associates, owner of the New York Islanders
Carl Andrews Medgar Evers New York state senator
Yvette Clarke Medgar Evers Congresswoman, member of the United States House of Representatives from New York's 11th and 9th congressional districts
Richard Carmona 1973 Bronx Surgeon General of the United States
Kid Chaos 1991 Bronx British rock Bassist and Guitarist who played in incarnations of hard rock bands such as The Cult
The Kid Mero Bronx Co-host of Desus & Mero
Annabel Palma 1991 Bronx NYC Council member, 2004–2017
Cardi B BMCC Rapper
Queen Latifah BMCC Singer-songwriter, rapper, actress, and producer
Adam Saleh BMCC YouTuber and boxer
Mirko Savone BMCC Italian voiceover actor
Assata Shakur BMCC Former member of Black Liberation Army, 1970–1981
Gabourey Sidibe BMCC American actress
Michael K. Williams BMCC American actor
Riddick Bowe Kingsborough Professional boxer, 1989-2008
Mauriel Carty Kingsborough Anguillan sprinter
Andrew Dice Clay Kingsborough Stand-up comedian, actor, musician and producer
Pete Falcone Kingsborough Professional baseball pitcher
Jeff Koinange 1989 Kingsborough Journalist and host of Jeff Koinange Live
Phillipe Nover Kingsborough Mixed martial artist
Larry Seabrook 1972 Kingsborough NYC Council member, 2002-2012
Aesha Waks Kingsborough Actress
Khandi Alexander Queensborough Dancer, choreographer, and actress
Sandra "Pepa" Denton Queensborough Rapper and songwriter, member of Salt-N-Pepa
Cheryl "Salt" James Queensborough Rapper and songwriter, member of Salt-N-Pepa
Nayan Padrai Queensborough Screenwriter, producer and director
Joe Santagato Queensborough YouTuber, comedian and podcaster
Elly Gross 1993 LaGuardia A holocaust survivor and author of several Holocaust related books of poetry and prose
DJ JP LaGuardia The official DJ to Pop Smoke
Reby Sky LaGuardia Professional wrestler and model
Elliot Wilson LaGuardia Journalist, television producer, and magazine editor

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Dunham, E. Alden. Colleges of the Forgotten Americans. A Profile of State Colleges and Regional Universities (McGraw Hill, 1969).
  • Freedman, Morris. "CCNY Days." The American Scholar (1980) 49#2 pp. 193–207. online
  • Gettleman, Marvin E. "John H. Finley at CCNY—1903–1913." History of Education Quarterly 10.4 (1970): 423–439; on his presidency. online
  • Gumport, Patricia J., and Michael N. Bastedo. "Academic stratification and endemic conflict: Remedial education policy at CUNY." Review of Higher Education 24.4 (2001): 333–349. online
  • Nelson, Adam R. "Higher Education and Human Capital and in the 'New York Bay Area': Historical Lessons from the City University of New York (CUNY)." in Higher education, innovation and entrepreneurship from comparative perspectives (Springer Nature Singapore, 2022) pp. 17–58. online
  • Rudy, S. Willis. The College of the City of New York: A History, 1847–1947 (The City College Press, 1949),
  • Van Nort, Sydney C. The City College of New York (Arcadia Publishing, 2007) online.

External links[edit]