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City University of New York

City University of New York

The City University of New York (CUNY /ˈkjuːni/) is the public university system of New York City. It is the largest urban university system in the United States. CUNY was founded in 1961 and comprises 26 campuses: eleven senior colleges, seven community colleges, one undergraduate honors college, and seven post-graduate institutions. The university enrolls more than 275,000 students, and counts thirteen Nobel Prize winners and twenty-four MacArthur Fellows among its alumni.[8]

The City University of New York
MottoLatin: Eruditio populi liberi spes gentium
Motto in English
The education of free people is the hope of humanity[1]
TypePublic university system
Budget$3.0 billion[3]
ChancellorFélix V. Matos Rodríguez[4]
Academic staff
New York City
New York
Campus24 campuses[7]
Websitecuny.edu [76]
City University of New York wordmark.svg



In 1960 John R. Everett became the first Chancellor of the Municipal College System of the City of New York, to be renamed CUNY, for a salary of $25,000 ($212,000 in current dollar terms).[9][10][11] CUNY was created in 1961, 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".[12]

The institutions that were merged in order to create CUNY were:[12]

  • 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.[12]

  • Brooklyn College – Founded in 1930.

  • Queens College – Founded in 1937.

Accessible education

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.[13] The City College of New York developed a reputation of being "the Harvard of the proletariat."[14]

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 the public colleges severely constrained, limits were imposed on the size of the colleges' free Day Session, 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 Session, and paid tuition.[15] 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 CCNY needed an average of 92, or A-.[16] This helped to ensure that the student population of CUNY remained largely white and middle-class.[16]

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 another competing priorities."[17]

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 wasn't 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, the community college students had to pay tuition fees under the state-city funding formula. Community college students paid tuition fees for approximately 10 years.[17]

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 – the equivalent of $2,413 in 2011.[18] Undergraduate tuition and other student fees in 1957 comprised 17 percent of the colleges' $46.8 million in revenues, about $7.74 million — a figure equivalent to $62.4 million in 2011 buying power.[19]

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, 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 Wagner in his budget plans and took effect with the 1964–65 academic year.[20]

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.[16] In 1969, a group of Black and Puerto Rican students occupied City College demanding the racial integration of CUNY, which at the time had an overwhelmingly white student body.[17]

Student protests

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.[21] 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.[22] Students at Hunter College also demanded a Black studies program.[23] 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.[24][25] 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.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28]

Like many college campuses in 1970, CUNY faced a number of protests and demonstrations after the Kent State shootings 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."[29] Some colleges, including John Jay College of Criminal Justice, historically the "college for cops," held teach-ins in addition to student and faculty protests.[30]

Open admissions

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.[16] 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.[16]

The doors to CUNY were opened wide to all those demanding entrance, assuring all high school graduates entrance to the university without having to fulfill traditional requirements such as exams or grades. This policy was known as open admissions and nearly doubled the number of students enrolling in the CUNY system to 35,000 (compared to 20,000 the year before). With greater numbers came more diversity: Black and Hispanic student enrollment increased threefold.[31] Remedial education, to supplement the training of under-prepared students, became a significant part of CUNY's offerings.[32]

Additionally, ethnic and Black Studies programs and centers were instituted on many CUNY campuses, contributing to the growth of similar programs nationwide.[16]

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.[16] Robert Kibbee was Chancellor of the City University of New York, the third-largest university in the United States, from 1971 to 1982.[33][34][35]

Financial crisis of 1976

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.[36] Tuition, which had been in place in the State University of New York system since 1963, was instituted at all CUNY colleges.[37][38]

Meanwhile, CUNY students were added to the state's need-based Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which had been created to help private colleges.[39] 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.[39] 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.[40] CUNY at the time was the third-largest university in the United States, with over 180,000 students.[41]

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.[42] CUNY's enrollment dipped after tuition was re-established, and there were further enrollment declines through the 1980s and into the 1990s.

Financial crisis of 1995

In 1995, CUNY suffered another fiscal crisis when Governor George Pataki proposed a drastic cut in state financing.[43] Faculty cancelled classes and students staged protests. By May, CUNY adopted deep cuts to college budgets and class offerings.[44] By June, in order 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.[45] 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.[46]

2010 onwards

CUNY's enrollment of degree-credit students reached 220,727 in 2005 and 262,321 in 2010 as the university broadened its academic offerings.[47] 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.[46] Fundraising increased from $35 million in 2000 to more than $200 million in 2012.[48]

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.[49][50] 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.[51]

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 University of Nebraska and New York University Law School.[52] Milliken is retiring at the end of the 2017-18 academic year and a search for a replacement was underway as of February 2018.[53]

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.[54] Matos became both the first Latino and minority educator to head the University. He assumed the post May 1.[55]

Enrollment and demographics

CUNY is the third-largest university system in the United States, in terms of enrollment, behind the State University of New York (SUNY), and the California State University system. More than 274,000-degree-credit students, continuing, and professional education students are enrolled at campuses located in all five New York City boroughs.

The university has one of the most diverse student bodies in the United States, with students hailing from around the world, but mostly from 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.[56]

Component institutions

Location of CUNY campuses within New York City.[[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Black_pog.svg/8px-Black_pog.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Black_pog.svg/12px-Black_pog.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Black_pog.svg/16px-Black_pog.svg.png 2x|Black pog.svg|h8|w8]] Black: Senior Colleges; [[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0c/Red_pog.svg/8px-Red_pog.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0c/Red_pog.svg/12px-Red_pog.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0c/Red_pog.svg/16px-Red_pog.svg.png 2x|Red pog.svg|h8|w8]] Red: Graduate and Professional Schools; [[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9d/Yellow_pog.svg/8px-Yellow_pog.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9d/Yellow_pog.svg/12px-Yellow_pog.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9d/Yellow_pog.svg/16px-Yellow_pog.svg.png 2x|Yellow pog.svg|h8|w8]] Yellow: Community Colleges.

Location of CUNY campuses within New York City.[[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Black_pog.svg/8px-Black_pog.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Black_pog.svg/12px-Black_pog.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Black_pog.svg/16px-Black_pog.svg.png 2x|Black pog.svg|h8|w8]] Black: Senior Colleges; [[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0c/Red_pog.svg/8px-Red_pog.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0c/Red_pog.svg/12px-Red_pog.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0c/Red_pog.svg/16px-Red_pog.svg.png 2x|Red pog.svg|h8|w8]] Red: Graduate and Professional Schools; [[INLINE_IMAGE|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9d/Yellow_pog.svg/8px-Yellow_pog.svg.png|//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9d/Yellow_pog.svg/12px-Yellow_pog.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9d/Yellow_pog.svg/16px-Yellow_pog.svg.png 2x|Yellow pog.svg|h8|w8]] Yellow: Community Colleges.

CUNY Component Institutions
1847Senior CollegeCity College
1870Senior CollegeHunter College
1919Senior CollegeBaruch College
1930Senior CollegeBrooklyn College
1937Senior CollegeQueens College
1946Senior CollegeNew York City College of Technology
1964Senior CollegeJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice
1966Senior CollegeYork College
1968Senior CollegeLehman College
1970Senior CollegeMedgar Evers College
1976Senior CollegeCollege of Staten Island
2005Honors CollegeWilliam E. Macaulay Honors College
1957Community CollegeBronx Community College
1958Community CollegeQueensborough Community College
1963Community CollegeBorough of Manhattan Community College
1963Community CollegeKingsborough Community College
1968Community CollegeLaGuardia Community College
1970Community CollegeHostos Community College
2011Community CollegeGuttman Community College
1961Graduate / professionalCUNY Graduate Center
1973Graduate / professionalCUNY School of Medicine
1983Graduate / professionalCUNY School of Law
2006Graduate / professionalCUNY Graduate School of Journalism
2006Graduate / professionalCUNY School of Professional Studies
2008Graduate / professionalCUNY School of Public Health
2018Graduate / professionalCUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

Management structure

Seal of the CUNY Board of Trustees

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.[57]

Chairs of the board

  • 1847 Townsend Harris

  • 1848 Robert Kelly

  • 1850 Erastus C. Benedict

  • 1855 William H. Neilson

  • 1856 Andrew H. Green

  • 1858 William H. Neilson

  • 1859 Richard Warren

  • 1860 William E. Curtis

  • 1864 James M. McLean

  • 1868 Richard L. Larremore

  • 1870 Bernard Smyth

  • 1873 Josiah Gilbert Holland

  • 1874 William H. Neilson

  • 1876 William Wood

  • 1880 Stephen A. Walker

  • 1886 J. Edward Simmons

  • 1890 John L.N. Hunt

  • 1893 Adolph Sanger

  • 1894 Charles H. Knox

  • 1895 Robert Maclay (merchant)

  • 1897 Charles Bulkley Hubbell

  • 1899 J. Edward Swanstrom / Joseph J. Little

  • 1901 Miles M. O'Brien

  • 1902 Edward Lauterback / Charles C. Burlingham

  • 1903 Henry A. Rogers

  • 1904 Edward M. Shepard

  • 1905 Henry N. Tifft

  • 1906 Egerton L. Winthrop, Jr.

  • 1911 Theodore F. Miller

  • 1913 Frederick P. Bellamy / Thomas Winston Churchill

  • 1914 Charles Edward Lydecker

  • 1915 Paul Fuller

  • 1916 George McAneny / Edward J. McGuire

  • 1919 William G. Willcox

  • 1921 Thomas Winston Churchill

  • 1923 Edward Swann / Edward C. McParlan

  • 1924 Harry P. Swift

  • 1926 Moses J. Strook

  • 1931 Charles H. Tuttle

  • 1932 Mark Eisner

  • 1938 Ordway Tead

  • 1953 Joseph Cavallaro

  • 1957 Gustave G. Rosenberg

  • 1966 Porter R. Chandler

  • 1971 Luis Quero-Chiesa

  • 1974 Alfred A. Giardino

  • 1976 Harold M. Jacobs

  • 1980 James Murphy

  • 1997 Ann Paolucci

  • 1999 Herman Badillo

  • 2001 Benno C. Schmidt Jr.

  • 2016 Bill Thompson


CUNY employs 6,700 full-time faculty members and over 10,000 adjunct faculty members.[58][59] Faculty and staff are represented by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), a labor union and chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.[60]

Notable faculty

  • André Aciman, writer

  • Ali Jimale Ahmed, poet and professor of Comparative Literature.[61]

  • Chantal Akerman, film director, City College of New York

  • Meena Alexander, poet and writer, Graduate Center and Hunter College

  • Talal Asad, anthropologist, at the Graduate Center

  • William Bialek, biophysicist, Graduate Center

  • Edwin G. Burrows, historian and writer, Brooklyn College

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer, journalist, and activist, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

  • Billy Collins, poet, U.S. Poet Laureate, Lehman College (retired)

  • Blanche Wiesen Cook, historian, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate Center

  • John Corigliano, composer, Graduate Center

  • Michael Cunningham, writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, Brooklyn College

  • Roy DeCarava, artist and photographer, Hunter College[62]

  • Carolyn Eisele, mathematician, Hunter College

  • Ruth Wilson Gilmore, geographer, Graduate Center

  • Allen Ginsberg, poet, Brooklyn College

  • Michael Grossman (economist), economist, Graduate Center

  • Kimiko Hahn, poet, winner of PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, Queens College

  • David Harvey, geographer, Graduate Center

  • bell hooks, educator, writer and critic, City College of New York[63]

  • Tyehimba Jess, poet, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, College of Staten Island

  • KC Johnson (born (1967),

  • Michio Kaku, physicist, City College

  • Jane Katz, Olympian swimmer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • Alfred Kazin, writer and critic, Hunter College and Graduate Center

  • Saul Kripke, philosopher, Graduate Center

  • Irving Kristol, journalist, City College

  • Paul Krugman, economist, Graduate Center

  • Peter Kwong, journalist, filmmaker, activist, Hunter College and Graduate Center

  • Nathan H. Lents, scientist, author, and science communicator, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • Ben Lerner, writer, MacArthur Fellow, Brooklyn College

  • Audre Lorde, poet and activist, City College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • Cate Marvin, poet, Guggenheim Fellowship winner, College of Staten Island

  • John Matteson, historian and writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • Stanley Milgram, social psychologist, Graduate Center

  • June Nash, anthropologist, Graduate Center

  • Itzhak Perlman, violinist, Brooklyn College[64]

  • Frances Fox Piven, political scientist, activist, and educator, Graduate Center

  • Graham Priest, philosopher, Graduate Center

  • Adrienne Rich, poet and activist, City College of New York[65]

  • David M. Rosenthal, philosopher, Graduate Center

  • Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., historian and social critic, Graduate Center

  • Flora Rheta Schreiber, journalist, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, literary critic,Graduate Center

  • Betty Shabazz, educator and activist, Medgar Evers College

  • Dennis Sullivan, mathematician, Graduate Center

  • Harold Syrett (1913-1984), President of Brooklyn College

  • Katherine Verdery, anthropologist, Graduate Center

  • Michele Wallace, women's studies and film studies, City College of New York and the Graduate Center

  • Mike Wallace, historian and writer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate Center

  • Elie Wiesel, novelist, political activist, City College

  • Andrea Alu, engineer and physicist, Graduate Center

Public Safety Department

CUNY has its own public safety force whose duties are to protect and serve all students and faculty members, and enforce all state and city laws at all of CUNY's universities. The force has more than 1000 officers, making it one of the largest public safety forces in New York City.

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.[66]

City University Television (CUNY TV)

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)

The City University Film Festival is CUNY's official film festival. The festival was founded in 2009 by Hunter College student Daniel Cowen.

Notable alumni

CUNY graduates include 13 Nobel laureates, a Fields Medalist, a U.S. Secretary of State, a Supreme Court Justice, several New York City mayors, members of Congress, state legislators, scientists and artists.[56][67]

CUNY Notable Alumni *The following table is 'sortable'; click on a column heading to re-sort the table by values of that column.*
NameGrad.CollegeNotable for
Kenneth Arrow1940CityAmerican economist and joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics
Robert Aumann1950Citymathematician and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics
Herman Badillo1951Citycivil rights activist and the first Puerto Rican elected to the U.S. Congress
Arlene Davila1996Cityauthor and Anthropology and American Studies professor at New York University
Jesse Douglas1916Citymathematician and winner of one of the first two Fields Medals
Abraham FoxmanCitynational director, Anti-Defamation League
Felix Frankfurter1902CityU.S. Supreme Court Justice
Andy Grove1960Cityformer chairman and CEO, Intel Corporation
Herbert A. Hauptman1937Citymathematician and winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Leonard Kleinrock1957Citycomputer scientist, Internet pioneer
Guillermo Linares1975CityNew York City Council member, first Dominican-American City Council member and Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs
Lisa Nakamura1993 1996CityDirector and Professor of the Asian American Studies Program at the Institute of Communication Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Barnett Newman1927Cityabstract expressionist artist
John O'KeefeCity2014 Nobel laureate in Medicine
Colin Powell1958Cityformer Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State
Mario PuzoCitynovelist, Oscar-winning screenwriter for Best Adapted Screenplay (1972, 1974).
Faith Ringgold1955Cityfeminist, writer and artist
A. M. Rosenthal1949Cityformer 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
Jonas Salk1934Citydeveloped the first polio vaccine
Daniel Schorr1939CityEmmy award winning broadcast journalist for CBS-TV and National Public Radio
Elliott Fitch Shepard1855Citylawyer, banker, and a founder of the New York State Bar Association
Bernard WeinraubCityAmerican journalist and playwright
Egemen BağışBaruchTurkish politician, government minister
Abraham Beame1928BaruchMayor of New York City
Robin ByrdBaruchhost of public access program The Robin Byrd Show (dropped out)[68]
Fernando FerrerBaruchNew York City mayoral candidate in 2001 and 2005
Sidney Harman1939Baruchfounder and executive chairman of Harman Kardon
Marcia A. KarrowBaruchmember of New Jersey General Assembly
James Lam1983Baruchauthor, risk management consultant
Ralph LaurenBaruchChairman and CEO of Polo Ralph Lauren (dropped out)
Dolly LenzBaruchNew York City real estate agent
Dennis LevineBaruchprominent player in the Wall Street insider trading scandals of the mid-1980s
Jennifer LopezBaruchactress, singer, dancer (dropped out)
Craig A. StanleyBaruchmember of New Jersey General Assembly since 1996.[69]
TarkanBaruchTurkish language singer
Bella Abzug1942Hunterfeminist; political activist; U.S. Representative, 1971–1977
Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick1963Hunterfirst Hispanic woman named to the New York State Court of Appeals
Robert R. Davila1965HunterPresident of Gallaudet University and advocate for the rights of the hearing impaired
Ruby Dee1945HunterEmmy-nominated actress and civil rights activist
Martin Garbus1955HunterFirst amendment attorney
Florence Howe1950Hunterfounder of women's studies and founder/publisher of the Feminist Press/CUNY
Audre Lorde1959HunterAfrican-American lesbian poet, essayist, educator and activist
Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou1991Hunterformer Foreign Minister of Mauritania and professor of international history at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
Soia Mentschikoff1934Hunterfirst woman partner of a major law firm; first woman elected president of the Association of American Law Schools
Thomas J. Murphy, Jr.1973Hunterthree-term mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1994–2006
Pauli Murray1933Hunterfirst African-American woman named an Episcopal priest; human rights activist; lawyer and co-founder of N.O.W
Edward Thomas BradyJohn Jay(MA), trial attorney and former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina
Jennings Michael BurchJohn Jayauthor of the 1984 best-selling memoir They Cage the Animals at Night
Marcos CrespoJohn Jay(BA), New York State Assemblyman representing district 85[70]
Edward A. FlynnJohn JayChief of the Milwaukee Police Department
Petri Hawkins-Byrd1989John JayJudge Judy bailiff
Henry Lee1972John Jayforensic scientist and founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science
Miguel MartinezJohn Jay(BS), former 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 NorvindJohn Jay(MA), actor and director
Pauley PerretteJohn Jayactor best known for her role as Abby Scuito on NCIS
Ronald RiceJohn JayNew Jersey State Senator
Ariel RiosJohn Jayundercover special agent for the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), killed in the line of duty
Imette St. GuillenJohn Jaycriminal justice graduate student murdered in February 2006. A scholarship was created in her name
Scott StringerJohn JayComptroller, former Borough president of Manhattan, and former member of the New York State Assembly
Dorothy UhnakJohn Jay(BA), novelist and detective for the New York City Transit Police Department
Bill Baird1955Brooklynreproductive rights activist and co-director of the Pro Choice League
Barbara Levy Boxer1962Brooklynanti-war activist, environmentalist, U.S. Representative, 1982–1993, and U.S. Senator
Shirley Chisholm1946Brooklynfirst African- American U.S. Congresswoman, 1968–1982. Candidate for U.S. President, 1972
Bruce Chizen1978BrooklynPresident & CEO, Adobe Systems
Stanley Cohen1943Brooklynbiochemist and Nobel laureate (Physiology or Medicine, 1986
Alan M. Dershowitz1959BrooklynHarvard Law School professor and author
Jerry Della Femina1957BrooklynChairman & CEO, Della Femina, Jeary and Partners
Dan DiDio1983BrooklynAmerican comic book editor and executive for DC Comics
Benjamin Eisenstadt1954Brooklyncreator of Sweet'N Low and the founder of Cumberland Packing Corporation
Sandra Feldman1960BrooklynPresident, American Federation of Teachers
Gata Kamsky1999Brooklynchess grandmaster and former US chess champion
Don Lemon1996Brooklynreporter, CNN
Leonard Lopate1967Brooklynhost of the public radio talk show The Leonard Lopate Show, broadcast on WNYC
Frank McCourt1967BrooklynPulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis
Marty Markowitz1970Brooklynformer New York State Senator; former Brooklyn Borough President
Paul Mazursky1951Brooklynfilm director, writer, producer; actor
Jerry Moss1957Brooklynco-founder of A&M Records
Gloria Naylor1981Brooklynnovelist; Winner National Book Award
Harvey Pitt1965Brooklynformer Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission
Steve Riggio1974BrooklynCEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Steve Schirripa1980BrooklynAmerican actor known for his role as Bobby Baccalieri on the HBO TV series The Sopranos
Timothy Shortell1992Brooklynanti-Christian activist
Jimmy Smits1980BrooklynEmmy Award-winning actor; NYPD Blue and L.A. Law
Benjamin Ward1960Brooklynfirst black New York City Police Commissioner, 1983–1989
Iris Weinshall1975Brooklynvice chancellor at the City University of New York and a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation
Jack B. Weinstein1943BrooklynSenior Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Joy Behar1964Queenscomedian, television personality
Jerry ColonnaQueenswell-known venture capitalist and entrepreneur coach
Joseph CrowleyQueensmember of the U.S. House of Representatives
Alan HevesiQueensformer New York State Comptroller, former New York State Assemblyman, former Queens College professor
Cheryl Lehman1975QueensProfessor of Accounting, Hofstra University
Ruth MadoffQueenswife of Bernard L. Madoff
Helen MarshallQueensQueens Borough President
Donna OrenderQueensWNBA president
Jerry Seinfeld1976Queensactor and comedian
Charles WangQueensfounder of Computer Associates, owner of the New York Islanders
Carl AndrewsMedgar EversNew York State Senator
Yvette ClarkeMedgar EversCongresswoman, member of the United States House of Representatives from New York's 11th and 9th congressional districts

See also

  • City University of New York Athletic Conference

  • CUNY Academic Commons

  • Education in New York City

  • Guide Association

  • State University of New York (SUNY) system.

  • The William E. Macaualay Honors College


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