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Class of 1942...


“For four years the Class of 1942 has worked and struggled –along with the rest of the College—to prove that City College is an institution which the tax payers have every reason to be proud not ashamed, of; that is attended by loyal young men who are prepared to accept responsibilities of citizenship; that whatever else it may be, it is not “a little Red schoolhouse.” But for nearly four years all these counterclaims fell on ears that would not hear and eyes that would not see, the eyes and ears of the Hearsts, Rapps, Couderts, Manning and McGeehans of New York.”

Led by the Class of ’42 the College became one of the major centers of New York City’s war effort. On December 8, 1941 one of the largest student gatherings took place in Great Hall to listen to President Franklin D. Roosevelt request a declaration of war against Japan from Congress. This marked the beginning of an intense activity as the College immediately went on a war footing.

The CCNY Student Defense Council, one of the first in the country, selling more than $250,000 worth of stamps and bonds; this led the Red Cross to dedicate two City College days. In the Great Hall, the foreign minister of the Czechoslovak Republic, Dr. Masaryk, spoke at a United Nations rally on April 9, and, in the fall, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a “Win the War” lecture at the College.

Spurred by the emergency, and then by the actual entrance of the United States into the war, the City College unit of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps increased enrollment from a total of 1200 two years ago to over 2300, making it the largest ROTC unit in the country.

In the midst of the war effort, life at the College continued on. House plan, the social hub of the College, proved to be an ever-expanding circle in more ways than one. House plan grew older and bigger, not only in number of members and social events, but in physical proportions. The original building, 292 Convent Ave was joined with 294 in a simple fashion: by tearing down the wall.

The honorary society Sigma Alpha produced Ticker Tape, a publication compiled of stories from CCNY students stationed on military bases all over the world. Ticker Tape is mailed to 1,300 young men in the service.

The newly built cafeteria opened on campus. The construction of a new lunchroom meant the end of the alcoves.

CCNY’s fencing team had a successful season beating its long-standing rival NYU. Coach Nat Holman led CCNY’s basketball team to four consecutive victories over NYU in the ardently-fought series knotted 14-all. Baseball witnessed a new era with the appointment of Sam Winograns as coach. CCNY’s swim team won seventeen of twenty-six meets over the four years. Track runner, Dave Polansky set a new record for the 1/2 mile run. The cross country team had the most successful season in College history winning 2 out of 5 meets.

All in all, the Class of ’42 experienced a rollercoaster four-years: “They have been in the college for four years, in that period of time, world events—as distinguished from laboratory events—have rocked by with the blurring speed; as a result, the world into which they are entering on resembles in a few ways the one that existed in January and September 1938. This means that their place in the world is a changed one, a more responsible one. Four years ago words like unemployment and recession hung around their necks like millstones. Today, every single one of them is certain of a job. But a different kind of job that the sort that they had earlier been concerned with.”

Many of these class notes are excerpted from the 1942 Microcosm, Editor-in-Chief Saul David Zarwanitzer.


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