The City College of the City University of New York is a public senior college of the City University of New York in New York City. Located on a hill overlooking Harlem in Manhattan, City Colleges 35-acre Collegiate Gothic campus spans Convent Avenue from 130th to 141st Streets and it was initially designed by renowned architect George B. Post, and many of its buildings have achieved landmark status, affectionately known as the Harvard of the proletariat, the college has graduated more Nobel Prize winners than any other public university in the United States. Among these 10 alumni, the latest is a Bronx native, founded in 1847, City College was the first free public institution of higher education in the United States. It is the oldest of CUNYs 24 institutions of higher learning, the City College of New York was founded as the Free Academy of the City of New York in 1847 by wealthy businessman and president of the Board of Education Townsend Harris. A combination prep school and college, it would provide children of immigrants, in 1847, New York State Governor John Young had given permission to the Board of Education to found the Free Academy, which was ratified in a statewide referendum. Dr. Horace Webster, a West Point graduate, was the first president of the Free Academy. In 1847, a curriculum was adopted which had nine main fields, mathematics, history, language, literature, drawing, natural philosophy, experimental philosophy, law, and political economy. The Academys first graduation took place in 1853 in Niblos Garden Theatre, even in its early years, the Free Academy showed tolerance for diversity, especially in comparison to its urban neighbor, Columbia College, which was exclusive to the sons of wealthy families. The Free Academy had a framework of tolerance that extended beyond the admission of students from every social stratum, in 1854, Columbias trustees denied Oliver Wolcott Gibbs, a distinguished chemist and scientist, a faculty position because of Gibbss Unitarian religious beliefs. Gibbs was a professor and held an appointment at the Free Academy since 1848, later in the history of CCNY, in the early 1900s, President John H. Finley gave the College a more secular orientation by abolishing mandatory chapel attendance. This change occurred at a time when more Jewish students were enrolling in the College, in 1866, the Free Academy, a mens institution, was renamed the College of the City of New York. In 1929, the College of the City of New York became the City College of New York, the names City College of New York and City College, however, remain in general use. With the name change in 1866, lavender was chosen as the Colleges color, in 1867, the academic senate, the first student government in the nation, was formed. Having struggled over the issue for ten years, in 1895 the New York State legislature voted to let the College build a new campus. A four-square block site was chosen, located in Manhattanville, within the area which was enclosed by the North Campus Arches, like President Webster, the second president of City College was a West Point graduate. The second president, General Alexander S. Webb, assumed office in 1869, one of the Unions heroes at Gettysburg, General Webb was the commander of the Philadelphia Brigade. When the Union Army repulsed the Confederates at Cemetery Hill, General Webb played a role in the battle
Shepard Hall, rear entrance, looking east from Convent Avenue, City College of New York, 2010
City College of New York in 2010, North Campus, looking west. Wingate Hall on the left, Townsend Harris Hall in the background.
A view of the original entrance to Shepard Hall, the main building of the City College of New York, in the early 1900s, on its new campus in Hamilton Heights, from St. Nicholas Avenue looking up westward to St. Nicholas Terrace
Statue of General Alexander S. Webb (1835-1911), second president of CCNY (1869-1903)