Class of 1973...

In 1973, City College had more Puerto Rican students than any other college outside of Puerto Rico, it had more Black students than the majority of Black colleges in America, and more Asian students than any American college outside of California.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, offered four new ethnic studies departments: Asian Studies, Black Studies, Jewish Studies and Puerto Rican Studies were created. A new program in humanities and the Institute for Medieval and Renaissance studies were established. New curricula were developed for the Schools of Nursing, Education, Architecture and Engineering to better prepare students for urban-related careers. The College also began plans to establish a Center for Urban and Environmental Problems.

The Class of 1973 was affected by the politics surrounding the 1972 US Presidential election and war in Vietnam. The prevailing sentiment on campus was that the Democratic Party presidential nominee, George McGovern was a better candidate for the country than Richard Nixon.

Hundreds of students turned up on the South Campus in September to hear Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden share their account of the war in Vietnam. Along with the protests against the Vietnam war, the ROTC program at the College attracted a great deal of protest. After 45 years on campus, in the spring of 1972, the ROTC program was quietly abolished as a result of dwindling enrollment numbers and the need to create additional room for the growing student body.

The need for more student space was altering the architecture of the College. In 1973, the College finished constructing a new 14-story, glass and cement modern building. The $32 million dollar Science and Physical Education Building was dedicated to CCNY President Robert E. Marshak. Through the generous support of Leonard Davis, an alumnus of the Class of '44, the College also began construction of the new Leonard Davis Center for the Performing Arts, a $7 million complex featuring a 750-seat proscenium theater, a 175-seat experimental theater and a 75-seat rehearsal studio-workshop.

Along with an expanded campus, the College attracted a number of prominent scholars and speakers. Feminist Bella Abzug and eyewitness reporter Geraldo Rivera spoke on campus. British author Anthony Burgess, who wrote A Clockwork Orange, arrived to teach a course on James Joyce, and make what seemed to be weekly contributions to the Sunday Times magazine on the life of the College. Fellow author, Elie Wiesel brought his wealth of knowledge of the Holocaust to the courses he taught as a member of the Jewish Studies Department. Sculptor George Segal and his ghostlike plaster people took up residence in Eisner Hall.

During the years of the Vietnam war, and during innumerable City University budget crises, students, faculty, and the administration found that they did agree on many things, and they could work together to accomplish common goals. Under revised governance policies, many academic departments established student committees that not only advised the Chairman and the faculty, but actually took a hand in planning curriculum and hiring and firing staff members.

Many of these class notes are excerpted from the 1973 Microcosm, Editor Howie Goldman

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