William E. Macaulay Honors College

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William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY
Type Public
Established 2001, graduated first class in 2005
Dean Dr. Ann Kirschner
Students 1,882
Undergraduates 1,882
Location New York City, New York, United States
Campus Urban
Colours Red      White      Gray      Black     
Nickname Macaulay
Affiliations City University of New York
Website www.macaulay.cuny.edu

William E. Macaulay Honors College in the City of New York, commonly referred to as Macaulay Honors College, is a co-degree-granting college for high-achieving students at The City University of New York.[1] Drawing upon the resources of CUNY and New York's cultural, scientific, political, and business communities, Macaulay Honors College aims to provide a broad-based and rigorous liberal arts education.[2]

Founding and history[edit]

The brainchild of CUNY chancellor Matthew Goldstein, CUNY Honors College was first conceived as an independent institution within The City University of New York. The aim of its creation was to increase educational standards and foster university-wide collaboration and excellence. However, support for existing honors programs at CUNY colleges and institutional opposition resulted in its launch in 2001 as CUNY Honors College in collaboration with a number of CUNY's senior colleges. Initially, there were five college partners--Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter, and Queens Colleges; Lehman College, College of Staten Island, and John Jay College were added later. Commonly known as the Macaulay Honors College University Scholars Program, its first class graduated in 2005. The program attracts students with a mean high school GPA of 93.5 and SAT Verbal and Math scores of 1402 for the Class of 2014.[3]

In July 2006, Dr. Ann Kirschner, a graduate of SUNY Buffalo, UVA, and Princeton University, was appointed Dean of Macaulay Honors College after a nationwide search. Graduating high school students with Ivy League-caliber academic records have given Macaulay a closer look as a result. Rising standards have had a trickle-down effect on improving the image of CUNY as a whole, which, prior to the inception of Macaulay Honors College, had been criticized as "an institution adrift" by the Giuliani administration.

Later, in September 2006, The City University of New York received a $30,000,000 gift from philanthropist and City College alumnus, William E. Macaulay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Reserve Corporation. It is the largest single donation in the history of CUNY and has been used to buy a landmark building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that has become the permanent home of Macaulay Honors College, and will add support to its endowment.[2][4][5] A new governance plan, approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees in late April 2010, provided Macaulay Honors College with degree-granting authority through CUNY's University Center. Beginning in Spring 2011, graduates became eligible to receive a dual degree from both their 'home college' and Macaulay Honors College.[5]


After building completion in 1904, 35 West 67th Street subsequently housed the Swiss Benevolent Society for numerous years. In 1999, it became known as the Steinhardt Building after undergoing extensive restoration and renovation under the direction of philanthropist Michael Steinhardt. Following the completion of the Steinhardt Building's refurbishment, the 92nd Street Y received the building as a donation in 2001 from Steinhardt.

The Gothic revival building was purchased with the donation of the Macaulay family and underwent extensive renovations to prepare it for students and staff. Renovations are now complete and the building is in use by the students and staff of Macaulay Honors College.[2][4]



Each Macaulay student is designated a University Scholar and receives:

  • A full-tuition scholarship (tuition-waiver)
  • Eligible for $7,500 grant from Opportunities Fund to pursue global learning, internships, and other service and learning opportunities
  • Apple MacBook Air laptop
  • Cultural Passport providing free or reduced-price admission to arts, cultural and educational institutions throughout New York City
  • Dedicated, specialized advisors through the Macaulay Advising Program (MAP)[6]


Macaulay Honors College accepts applications from high-achieving high school seniors applying for the first time to be freshman immediately following their senior year. Macaulay does not accept transfer students or applicants applying for mid-term entry. The college advises applicants to research the eight CUNY senior colleges which participate in Macaulay prior to submitting an application, which is available online. Applicants to Macaulay are then considered for acceptance to the undergraduate degree program at the CUNY campus designated on their applications. All applicants must apply by December 1.[7]


According to a recent release of facts and figures, applications to Macaulay Honors College have tripled since its founding in 2001. Between 2007 and 2008 alone applications increased a notable 20%. In fall 2013, Macaulay Honors College received 5,672 application, 39% ahead of the application volume in fall 2010 and a sizeable 130% above fall 2006. For the admitted freshmen class of 2013, the average high school GPA was 93.6 and average SAT score (combined math and verbal) was 1405. Information about enrolled students and the overall acceptance rate is unknown. Around 5,700 students apply, and around 500 enroll.

Demographic statistics for 2008 showed applications coming from 477 high schools around the nation including 275 different New York City high schools. New York City's Stuyvesant High School had a 6% increase in applications to Macaulay over the previous year; Bronx Science applications increased by 4.6%.[3]


Located at 35 West 67th Street, Macaulay Honors College is half a block from Central Park and three blocks from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and considered a part of Manhattan's Upper West Side. The building is accessible by MTA bus or subway. The building's renovation was completed Spring 2008 and dedicated under the new name of William E. Macaulay Honors College on April 17, 2008.[8] Inside, the ground floor houses a commons area replete with a stage for student concerts, readings, guest lectures, and other events. The main floor consists of a reading room, the Wall of Fame, and a large multi-purpose lecture hall. The reading room contains a small library of books donated to Macaulay by students, faculty, staff, NYC dignitaries, and friends of Macaulay, available for in-house reading. On the second and third floors are classrooms, meeting rooms, informal gathering spaces, visiting professor offices, the dean's office, and a fully equipped film screening room with traditional movie theater seats for seventy-two viewers. Also, the building centers on a three story open-roof, internal courtyard, painted bright red after the college's colors. The courtyard is open to all and serves as a multi-purpose space within the college; it has been the site for gatherings and events, student theatre performances, and a temporary visiting artist-student collaborative installation. The fourth floor houses the staff offices. The campus is equipped with Wifi throughout the building.[9]


Macaulay Honors College students have won numerous local and national awards, such as the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the Rhodes Scholarship, the Intel Science Talent Search[10] ($100,000 award), The Barry Goldwater, the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, Bienecke Fellowship, Salk Fellowship, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.[8]

Macaulay graduates have also been admitted to top graduate programs. Law schools attended by Macaulay graduates include Yale, Harvard, NYU, Penn, Duke, Georgetown, Cornell, Fordham, Vanderbilt, and George Washington. Medical schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Drexel School of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, SUNY Upstate Medical Center, Temple University School of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and Weill Cornell Medical College.[11]

Notable alumni[edit]


Former faculty[edit]

Advisory board[edit]

Macaulay's Advisory Board includes Anthony E. Meyer, co-founder of real estate divisions for Trammell Crow Company and Lazard Frères & Co..


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°46′26″N 73°58′49″W / 40.7738°N 73.9802°W / 40.7738; -73.9802