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Class of 1961...


The class of 1961 dedicated its Microcosm yearbook to CCNY President Buell Gordon Gallagher for his service to the College. Dr. Gallagher, who announced his retirement as the College’s president, was extremely popular.

The years of the Gallagher administration brought the greatest expansion of the College since the early 1900s. The Manhattanville property, stretching along Convent Avenue from 130th Street until 135th Street, provided the College a real campus with a new library, buildings for the Arts and Humanities, a home for student activities, and a women’s gym. A technology building was also constructed, and plans were drawn up for future expansion. In addition to the physical expansion of the College, Dr. Gallagher was accredited for revising the academic curriculum by adding even more Honors programs and exemption exams.

According to Microcosm, Gallagher’s “outspokenness and leadership guided the College through the difficult days of McCarthyism, and provided opportunities for student-faculty cooperation in dealing with College problems. He, perhaps, more than any other person, was responsible for the organization of the municipal college system into the City University in 1961.”

In 1961, The City University of New York was established by action of the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York, and the Legislature, and the Governor of the State of New York. The movement led to the creation of The City University of New York from the seven colleges in New York City: City College, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Staten Island Community College, Bronx Community College, and Queensborough Community College. Under the new legislation, doctoral study was added to existing degree programs.

Similar to students across the nation, the members of the class of ’61 participated in the cultural and political movements that now define the sixties. A great deal of student activism centered on ending segregation in the South. In protest against segregation policies, four busloads of City College students (between 150-300 students) gathered with students from other schools in Washington, D.C. for the March for Integration. City College students also supported the Sit-In movement in the Southern cities, led by Southern Negro students. In New York, over 300 students congregated at Woolworth’s on 34th Street to protest the segregation policies of Woolworth stores in Southern states. In addition to segregation, more than 300 students gathered on the South Campus Lawn to protest an air-raid drill and the Vietnam War.

Concurrently with the rise of political activity on campus, there was an unprecedented rise in social fraternities. Defunct chapters were reactivated, many new chapters of national fraternities were started, and even house plans found it necessary to become a fraternity. According to Microcosm: “In as much as the primary function of all college fraternities is the nurturing of friendships and the perpetuation of relationships of social nature it is not surprising that they have witnessed an upsurge in number and total membership.”

In athletics, approximately 800 students competed in 21 Varsity and Freshman teams engaging in more than 200 contests with 50 different opponents during the 1960-1961season. The Lavender Mermen completed a highly successful 6-3 season highlighted and broke five CCNY records. The CCNY cross country team clinched the Municipal Championship—the first in since 1956, and finished with a 4-4 record. The Rifle team had their most successful season winning the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Rifle League title and finishing with an impressive 21-0 record.

Many of these class notes are excerpted from the 1961 Microcosm, Section Editors Grace Kolisch and Adrian Meppen for Intellect; Judith Graubard and Fredric Kleiner for Activities; Richard Lewis and Stephen Solomon for Athletics; Richard Lewis for Atmosphere; and Louis Vogel and Susan Smith for Seniors.


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