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Class of 1949...



Seven hundred vets registered for the fall 1945 term. Their numbers were steadily increasing as more ex-students became ex-GI’s.

Enrollment figures skyrocketed upward when College statisticians reported that 32,000 students registered for Spring ’47. The influx of veterans led to the launch of a new student publication, Observation Post, jointly sponsored by the American Veterans Committee and the Veterans Association. A Centennial Week was held from April 13 to April 19. Men who had been graduated from the College years ago - Senator Robert Wagner, statesman Bernard Baruch, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter – came back to revive old memories, say a few words, and receive honorary degrees.

September registration in 1947 threatened to swamp the College: 33,000 signed up for some learning, 8,000 in uptown day session. President Wright submitted a $7,000,000 budget request in the Spring term of ’48 but, in what was to be a recurring trend, the Mayor’s Budget Committee reduced it - by only $127,000 after protests helped to restore $58,000 from the original cut.

City College’s School of Business and Civic Administration held its Senior Prom on the evening before the blizzard of December 1948, with approximately 250 students celebrating the conclusion of their four years at City College in the Roosevelt Hotel. The other City College Senior Prom took place on January 27, 1949, with more than one hundred fifty couples attending the party at the Hotel Astor Roof. Freshman Coralye Isaacs was selected as Miss Subways, conclusively demonstrating, according to Microcosm, “that our girls can hold their own in the beauty and charm, as well as brains departments.” The College’s Centennial Fund Drive benefitted that spring from the proceeds of a special concert presented at Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra,conducted by Maestro Arturo Toscanini and assisted by stars from the Metropolitan Opera.

Controversy that had been simmering for years reached a boiling point when Judge Hubert Delany resigned from the chairmanship of a special committee set up to investigate discrimination at the College. Charging that the Administration was not really interested in ending discrimination, the jurist’s resignation sparked a student referendum vote that led to a student strike beginning on April 11, 1949. Police and strikers clashed, and eighteen students were arrested. At the center of the turbulence were two professors, William Knickerbocker, Chairman of the Romance Languages Department, and Economics Professor William Davis, whom the administration refused to dismiss, despite evidence of discriminatory practices. Although the strike did not bring about conclusive results, it gained considerable publicity and made clear that a better rapport between Administration and students would have to be forthcoming, or future demonstrations would occur.

Following the interruption of classes due to the strike, students caught up with their studies and seniors prepared for graduation. The ceremony took place in Lewisohn Stadium, with some 2,500 students in cap and gown. For the first time in four years, it did not rain on graduation day, presaging a bright future for the Class of ’49.


Many of these Class notes are excerpted from the 1949 Microcosm, Editor-in-Chief Bernard Radack, and Lexicon 1949, Editor-in-Chief Harry Berner .




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