Central YMCA College

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Central YMCA College was a college operated by the YMCA in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It was founded prior to or in 1922.[1] and was accredited in 1924.[2] It was closed in 1945 after the university president and a large majority of the faculty and students left to form what became Roosevelt University.

Central YMCA Community College opened in the fall of 1961 and operated until June 1982. It was sometimes called Central YMCA College for short, but had no formal connection to the earlier institution.

Closing of the school[edit]

In 1945, Edward J. Sparling, then president of the College, refused to provide the Central YMCA College board with the demographic data of his student body. He feared it would provide the basis for a quota system to limit the numerous blacks, Jews, immigrants, and women enrolled at the school. When Sparling was fired, most of the faculty and students left with him; they voted to start a new college with a vote of 62 to 1 for faculty and 488 to 2 with the student body.[3][4][5]

This College was originally called Thomas Jefferson College. After the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the college was renamed in his honor. It later achieved university status.[6] In August 1945, Central YMCA college closed down.[2][7]


  • Edward J. Sparling (September 1936-April 14, 1945)[8]

1944 racial and religious counts[edit]

In November 1944, of the approximately 2500 students at Central YMCA College, ethnic and religious minorities included the following:[8]

Student activities[edit]

The College did not offer student athletics due to racial discrimination, as there were restrictions on Negro usage of YMCA athletic facilities.[8]

The school newspaper was the Central YMCA College Central News.

Central YMCA Community College[edit]

Central YMCA Community College, which is sometimes called Central YMCA College, was founded in Fall of 1961.[9] It closed in June 1982.[10]


  1. ^ DR. A. F. GILMAN, CHEMIST FORTY YEARS, RETIRES;Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); Jun 28, 1942; pg. W3
  2. ^ a b North Central Association quarterly, Volumes 63-64, p1544
  3. ^ Roosevelt University - Our History
  4. ^ Roosevelt University History
  5. ^ Tempo; Barbara Sullivan; Chicago Tribune Apr 4, 1985; pg. D1
  6. ^ Ben Segal, "Color and the Chicago YMCA", The Crisis, Jul 1945, pg 197
  7. ^ American Council on Education, College Study in Intergroup Relations, Volume 1, Council on Cooperation in Teacher Education, p 156
  8. ^ a b c Oral history - Interviews with Edward J. Sparling[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Central Y Buys New Building, Expands Program Chicago"; Daily Defender (Daily Edition) (1960-1973); Jan 28, 1965; pg. 8
  10. ^ Jack Houston, "MacCormac assuming Y's English classes", Chicago Tribune; May 27, 1982; pg. N2

External links[edit]