William E. Macaulay Honors College
|Established||2001, graduated first class in 2005|
|Dean||Dr. Mary C. Pearl|
35 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10023,
|Colours||Red White Gray Black|
|Affiliations||City University of New York|
William E. Macaulay Honors College, commonly referred to as Macaulay Honors College or simply Macaulay, is a selective, co-degree-granting honors college for students at the City University of New York (CUNY) system in New York City. The college is known primarily for offering full-tuition scholarships to all of its undergraduates (or a substantial partial scholarship to out-of-state students). For the class of 2020, there were 6,272 applicants and the number of enrolled students was 537. The average high school GPA and SAT for the class of 2020 was 94.1 and 1414, respectively. Since 2016, the college has consistently received the highest rating for a public university honors college. Macaulay students have earned more than 250 prestigious awards including 37 Fulbright Fellowships, 5 Truman Scholarships and 28 National Science Foundation grants.
Founding and history
Macaulay was first conceived by Matthew Goldstein 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 amidst 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. Later on, Lehman College, College of Staten Island, and John Jay College were added. Commonly known as Macaulay Honors College University Scholars Program, its first class graduated in 2005.
The founding dean of Macaulay Honors College is Dr. Laura Schor, Professor of History at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, received her PhD in Modern European History at the University of Rochester in 1974. In July 2006, Dr. Ann Kirschner, a graduate of SUNY Buffalo, UVA, and Princeton University, was appointed Dean of Macaulay Honors College. 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 helped finance the purchase of 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. 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 Graduate Center. Beginning in Spring 2011, graduates became eligible to receive a dual degree from both their home college and Macaulay Honors College.
Macaulay's Foundation Board is chaired by Anthony E. Meyer, co-founder of real estate divisions for Trammell Crow Company and Lazard Frères & Co. Michael D. Grohman, co-managing partner of the New York office of law firm Duane Morris, serves as vice-chair and secretary. Thomas Brigandi, CFA, a 2012 graduate of the college, serves as treasurer. Other notable board members include: David Coulter, managing director of Warburg Pincus and former CEO of Bank of America; Eric Gioia, a managing director of JP Morgan and former New York City Councilmember; Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, assistant professor and head of MA in Liberal Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY; and Marcy Syms, president of the Sy Syms Foundation.
Each Macaulay student is designated a University Scholar and receives:
- A full-tuition scholarship (tuition-waiver) - Students must meet CUNY NYS residency requirements for in state tuition to receive the full tuition scholarship. Out-of-State Students receive tuition waiver in the amount of in-state tuition.
- Apple MacBook Air laptop
- Dedicated, specialized advisors through the Macaulay Advising Program (MAP)
- A NYC cultural passport card that offers free and/or discounted admission to "participating cultural institutions."
Macaulay Honors College students have won numerous local and national awards, such as the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the Rhodes Scholarship, Schwarzman Scholarship, the Intel Science Talent Search ($100,000 award), The Barry Goldwater, the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, Bienecke Fellowship, Salk Fellowship, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
Macaulay Honors College accepts applications from 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.
A 2020 study by Public University Honors comparing completion rates of leading honors colleges around the nation noted that Macaulay has the highest honors completion rate: 81.5% of its students fulfilled all honors requirements, a full 10 percentage points above the average completion rate of the top 18 rated honors programs.
According to a recent release of facts and figures, applications to Macaulay Honors College have increased exponentially since its founding in 2001. Between 2007 and 2008 alone applications increased a notable 20%. In fall 2015, Macaulay Honors College received 6,272 application, 15% ahead of the application volume in fall 2010 and a sizable 120% above fall 2006. For the fall 2019 freshmen class, the average high school GPA was 94.8, the mean SAT score was 1430, and the composite ACT score was 32.
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%.
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 in Manhattan's Upper West Side. The building is accessible by Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus (via the M10, M20, M66 and M104) or subway (via the 1 train at 66th Street–Lincoln Center station).
The building's renovation was completed Spring 2008 and dedicated under the new name of William E. Macaulay Honors College on April 17, 2008. 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.
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.
Most Macaulay alumni go on to pursue careers in major New York firms, such as BBC Worldwide Americas, Bloomberg, Google, and more. Macaulay graduates also go on to pursue graduate degrees at prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Caltech, Stanford, University of California, Berkeley, Cornell, Duke, and Oxford.
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- Anthony Volodkin (2007) - founder of The Hype Machine
- Brian Kateman (2011) - founder of the Reducetarian Foundation
- Carmen Boullosa - renowned Mexican poet, novelist, and playwright, featured as a visiting professor teaching the course The Mouth: Spanish-Speaking Women Writers from the 1500s to the 1970s.
- Edwin G. Burrows - research historian, Pulitzer Prize winning-author, distinguished professor at Brooklyn College (History Department).
- Nathan Lents - scientist and author, director of the John Jay College Macaulay Program.
- David Petraeus - visiting professor at Macaulay teaching a course called The Coming North American Decades.
- Harold Varmus - Nobel-prize winning scientist, former director of National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Health, teaches the seminar Science and Society.
- Ted Widmer - American historian, writer, and speechwriter who has taught seminars on Walt Whitman, democracy, and The People of New York.
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