1976 – 2016: On the 40th Anniversary of the Division of Social Sciences

Come Fall 2016, the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership will celebrate 40 years since the founding of the Division of Social Sciences at the City College of New York. When the division was rebirthed as the Colin Powell School nearly three years ago, we were entrusted with protecting its legacy and building a vision for the next forty years and onward.
In the years preceding the formal establishment of the division, New York City was undergoing its own transition. The city where artists, intellectuals, and immigrants from around the world came to establish new lives was also a city on the brink of destruction, with crime rates up and its financial outlook grim. Talk of a possible bailout provided the New York Daily News with its front-page headline: Ford to New York City: Drop Dead. 
It was with this backdrop in mind that a number of educators across the City College campus came together to imagine a new division dedicated to the arts, humanities, ethnic and gender studies, economics, and sociological and political sciences. From the very first conversations about what this new division would mean to City College students, it was clear that the needs of the city and the needs of City College would remain intertwined for generations to come, just as they had been since the founding of City College 130 years earlier. 
With this understanding forming the basis for our research and planning, Colin Powell School staff and faculty will spend the Spring 2016 semester conducting interviews with alumni as well as current and former staff, community partners, donors, and students. These interviews will make up a four-decade oral history, which we will feature in a yearlong series of classroom lectures and public events celebrating our history and looking ahead to the future. 
Starting in September 2016 with a new Dean’s Pro-Seminar titled “1976 - 2016: City College, Social Science and the Vision of a Better New York,” we will present multiple events in the fall and spring semesters and the unveiling of a four-decade timeline installation in the North Academic Center, which will include a collection of oral histories. We are excited to document the growth of the academic programs, celebrate the generations of students who called CCNY home, and highlight the outstanding faculty who have taught in our classrooms. 
Over the next few months, we’ll be reaching out to our friends and partners from around the world and asking you to help us commemorate this milestone by sharing your stories and helping us connect our past to our present and future. We hope that, as we uncover stories about the founding and the past forty years, that you will each find news ways to remain connected to the work we do. 
For more information, please visit our website. If you have a story about the social sciences at City College to share, contact Dee Dee Mozeleski at 212.650.7396 or dmozeleski@ccny.cuny.edu