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Class of 1985...



In his opening remarks in Microcosm, President Bernard W. Harleston heralded the “long-awaited opening of the North Academic Center, the $125-million complex that spreads along three full blocks on Convent Avenue.” He also cited advances in the College’s academic and research programs, as well as international outreach: “City College received over $10.7 million in research and other grants this year, the largest total in our history... You have also witnessed a major international thrust by the College with the establishment of a new International Studies Program and important new linkages with foreign institutions.”

Two CCNY alumni from the Class of 1937, Herbert A. Hauptman and Jerome Karle, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1985, “for their outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures.”

The Campus newspaper opened the academic year with a front page headline declaring, “Architecture Comes Home.” “A miracle has happened,” the article exclaimed! “The School of Architecture has finally moved to a new and better location in Shepard Hall after sixteen years of ‘temporary’ stay in what everyone from faculty to staff to students described as the dungeons, slums, garage,... Only to mention a few.” (Twenty-five years later, the school has moved into a beautiful new state-of-the-art building of its own, and is now known as The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture.)

With a presidential election happening in the fall, there was a politically charged atmosphere on campus at the start of the academic year. A “Defeat Reagan Rally” was held at the Holman Gymnasium on October 21, featuring the Communist candidates for President and Vice-President, Gus Hall and Angela Davis. And in April of 1985, a group of about 35 students and faculty joined a protest staged by students of Columbia University against that school’s business dealings in South Africa. The anti-apartheid protests by a group known as the Coalition for a Free South Africa included the takeover of Hamilton Hall at Columbia, to fortify the demand that Columbia divest some $34 million that it had invested in corporations doing business with South Africa, such as I.B.M. and General Motors.

The City College Alumni Association held the 104th annual Alumni Dinner at the Sheraton Centre on November 14, 1984. The dinner’s theme was a salute to the three sister colleges that joined with CCNY to form the City University in 1961. Dr. Donna Shalala, then President of Hunter College, spoke on behalf of Hunter, Brooklyn and Queens Colleges as part of the celebration of the City University of New York. (Dr. Shalala would later serve for eight years as the Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, January 1993 to January 2001.)

In sports, swimming team coach Marcelino (Marcy) Rodriguez earned a highly favorable profile in the newspaper for his excellent record from the previous year. In 1983-84 the men’s varsity swimming team won the Metropolitan Dual Meet Collegiate Championships and one swimmer, Pablo Valedon, became the first All-American swimmer in City’s history. For 1984-85, three members of the City College Women’s Basketball team and one member of the men’s squad were named to the All-City University Conference basketball teams. CCNY Women’s Basketball Coach Gary Smith was voted the CUNY Women’s Coach-of-the-Year for a second consecutive season after leading the team to a 10-0 record in the conference.

Nightwatch, the evening newspaper of City College, ran a photograph in March of “the last moments of south campus’s old student union, John Huston Finley Hall.” The teaser of an article noted: “The long anticipated demolition of Finley Hall is almost complete. This picture was taken just before the belfry atop old Finley mysteriously disappeared. Reliable administration sources allege that skulkers in the night somehow managed to abscond with the old belfry....but nobody knows for sure.”

The Class of 1985 dedicated its yearbook to Professor Haywood Burns, Vice Provost and Dean for Urban Legal Programs and Director of the Greenberg Center for Legal Education and Urban Policy. Professor Burns had a distinguished legal career prior to joining the City College of New York, including service as General Counsel to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. A founder of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, he was the first African-American dean of a New York law school, leading CUNY School of Law to full American Bar Association accreditation as its second dean. After Burns died in an automobile accident in South Africa in 1996, the Law School established a Chair in Civil Rights in his memory. The Chair is a visiting position that has enabled a succession of lawyers, scholars, and activists to bring their experiences, wisdom, and perspectives to the classrooms of CUNY Law.



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