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“Open the doors to all.” The Free Academy, which became The City College of New York, was founded by Townsend Harris

One of America’s great democratic experiments – and one of its great democratic achievements – City College was founded to provide a free, rigorous university education to “the children of the whole people.” Its visionary curriculum combined both classical and vocational education, giving pre-professional and scholastic study equal value for the first time.


Class in civil engineering is required of all students


George Washington Goethals, United States Army General and civil engineer best known as the Chief Engineer of the Panama Canal, enters City College at age 14, where he spends three years before accepting an appointment to West Point.


David Barnard Steinman - leading proponent of long-span suspension bridges, responsible for the design of more than 400 bridges, graduates. His name now graces Steinman Hall at the Grove School of Engineering.


Evening Session established to serve the needs of students who worked during the day


President Sydney Edward Mezes, establishes “junior civil engineer” degree. Chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering degrees were added in 1917.

These programs were part of the Division of Vocational Subjects and Civic Administration, and given only in CCNY’s Evening Session.



The City College School of Technology is established

Offering five-year programs leading to the degrees of "Chemical Engineer", "Civil Engineer”, Electrical Engineer", and "Mechanical Engineer”, consisting of two years of general college study, and three years of study in the School of Technology. After the fourth year, students were awarded Bachelor of Engineering degree.


SOT offers a number of practical, not-for credit civil engineering courses in the Evening Session only

Examples of these not-for credit courses include "Reinforced Concrete", "Heating and Ventilation", "Use of Surveying Instruments" and  "Inspection of Materials in Building Construction.”

Jacob Rabinow – who earned a total of 229 U.S. patents on a variety of mechanical, optical and electrical devices – graduates with a Bachelor and Master of Electrical Engineering

SOT Benchmarks (Day Session only):

FACULTY:  10 professors, 17 instructors, 19 assistants


PROGRAMS:  chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical

GRADUATES: Bachelor of Science in Engineering – 77
Bachelor of Engineering:  56  


SOT degree programs refined and split into bachelor’s and master’s of engineering in chemical, civil, electrical or mechanical engineering


Women first admitted to the School of Technology Evening Session


Women are admitted to the School of Technology Day Session Programs

SOT Benchmarks (Day Session only) – School doubles in size

FACULTY:  24 professors, 36 instructors and tutors

Total credits:
chemical – bachelor’s 143; master’s 35
civil – bachelor’s 134; master’s 33
electrical – 135; master’s 32
mechanical – 139; masters 31


PROGRAMS:  chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical


Adin Falkoff, co-inventor with Kenneth Iverson of the APL language interactive system, graduates with a Bachelor’s of Chemical Engineering

APL’s central datatype is the multidimensional array, which uses a large range of special graphic symbols to represent most functions and operators, leading to very concise code. It has been an important influence on the development of concept modeling, spreadsheets, functional programming, and computer math packages.  It has also inspired several other programming languages, and is still used today for certain applications.


Mathematician Cecile Froehlich appointed instructor in department of electrical engineering, the first woman faculty member in the department.

In 1954 Dr. Froehlich became the first woman to attain the rank of full professor at City College, and in 1955 she became the first to become chair of a department when she was elected chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering.


Alfred Gessow – pioneer in the field of helicopter aerodynamics and aerospace engineering - graduates with BCE


Society of Women Engineers established at City College

The man whose research made color television commercially available, Albert Matcovsky graduates with a Bachelor of Engineering degree.

The recipient of over 150 patents and author of more than 200 technical articles, his innovations include the single-tube color camera and real-time phased array imaging for ultrasound; he also made significant contributions to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized axial tomography (CAT scans) and digital radiography.

Julius Blank graduates with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering

Semiconductor pioneer and one of the “Traitorous Eight” who were instrumental in the establishment of Silicon Valley graduates with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering.


Dorothy Schnabel, pioneering engineer at IBM, graduates with a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering.

Seymour Moskowitz, specialist in counter-terrorism technology and national defense, graduates from the School of Technology with a Bachelor of mechanical engineering in 1954.


Elected Chair of department of Electrical Engineering, Froehlich becomes first woman to chair a department of electrical engineering in the U.S.


Faculty members Morris Kolodny, Chemical Engineering, and Harry Soodar – both of whom worked on the Manhattan Project – arrange to bring nuclear reactor to the College, which was originally located in the stands of Lewinsoln Stadium.  Nuclear engineering program lasts until 1972.


Andrew Grove -Co-founder of INTEL and one of the fathers of the Information Age - graduates at the top of his class with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering

School of Technology Benchmarks (Day Session only) – growth slows

FACULTY:  63 professors, 81 instructors, lecturers and tutors

ENROLLMENT:  2392 (including25 women)

PROGRAMS:  chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical


SOT Benchmarks (Day Session only) – growth resumes

FACULTY:  63 professors, 81 instructors, lecturers and tutors

ENROLLMENT:  2392 (including 25 women)

PROGRAMS:  chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical


Lester Gerhardt, an aerospace pioneer who worked on the first lunar module to put men on the moon, graduates with a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering.

School of Engineering buys its first computer – a used Librascope Royal McBee LGP – for $30,000
School of Technology offers five-year Bachelor of Architecture





School of Technology renamed The School of Engineering and Architecture

Daniel Saul Goldin – who became the longest-serving NASA Administrator in history – graduates with Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering.


PhD programs introduced in all engineering programs

Given under the auspices of the CUNY Graduate School, but taught at CCNY by CCNY professors


Richard Gitlin – co-inventor of DSL at Bell Labs – graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering


SOEA split into the School of Engineering and the School of Architecture

Bachelor and Master degree programs in computer science added


Bachelors and masters degrees in biomedical engineering added


SOT Benchmarks (Day Session only) – renewed growth

FACULTY:  94 professors, 82 instructors, lecturers and tutors

PROGRAMS:  chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering plus computer science


Vincent del Toro becomes first Hispanic engineering faculty member


Edgar T. Lynk – first African American faculty member – joins School of Engineering faculty


Charles Watkins becomes first African American dean of engineering at City College.

Second woman – Carol Steiner – becomes a faculty member in chemical engineering depart, 40+ years after Cecile Froelich broke the glass ceiling


Richard D. Gitlin ’61 BEE, co-invents DSL at Bell Labs, making it possible to bring high-speed internet access to millions of households

When he retired after a 32-year career at Bell Labs (which became Lucent Technologies) where he also invented multi-code CDNA used in 3D Wireless, he was Senior VP for Communications and Research, leading a team of more than 500 professionals.


Recent grad Milovan Blair ’90 EE – now a Senior Vice President at Consolidated Edison – is selected from among 1000 interviewees for prestigious Con Ed internship. There he climbed to the top.


Arnold F. Stancell ’58 ChE - Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech and retired Vice President for Exploration and Production at Mobile Oil – Named African American Engineer of the Year.


NOAA-CREST Cooperative Science Center established to advance the research goals of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and produce STEM scientists with $15.5M five year grant

Renewed every five years (the last time in 2016) the Center has received more than $60M  The lead NOAA institute in remote sensing, CCNY has produced more than half of the program’s 486 graduates since its inception – including 61 PhDs, 98 ME/MS recipients and 112 undergraduates, the majority from underrepresented groups.

Defense expert Marvin Sambur ’68EE is appointed Asst. Secretary of the U.S. Air force for Acquisition in the wake of 9/11.


Sheldon Weinbaum – Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering at the Grove School and a member of the National Academies of Science and Engineering and the National Institute of Health – is awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.



The School of Engineering is renamed the Grove School of Engineering in honor of Andrew Grove’s transformative gift of $26 million

Robert Elliot Kahn ’60 EE – co-inventor of the fundamental communications protocols at the heart of the Internet – is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Leonard Kleinrock ’57 EE – the man who sent the first message between two computers on the precursor of the Internet – is awarded the National Medal of Science.


Harvey Kalie ’60 EE, a “microwave legend,” gifts $3M to Grove for annual entrepreneurship program.


Gilda Barabino appointed Dean of the Grove School of Engineering

Dr. Barabino becomes the first African American woman to lead a school of engineering that is not in a historically African American college or university

Joel Engel ’57 EE, is awarded the National Academy of Engineering’s Charles Stark Draper Prize – “the Nobel Prize in engineering” for his pioneering work on  the architecture of mobile phone technology


Neville Parker ’88, Herbert G. Kaiser Professor of Civil Engineering, receives award from the Council of University Transportation Centers for his distinguished contributions to transportation and Research.


Grove School receives $5.2 million grant from U.S Department of Education for Initiative to Promote Academic Success in STEM (CiPASS) to increase the number of students receiving STEM degrees – particularly those from underrepresented groups

Program includes bridge program to increase academic success, real-time academic assessment and individualized tutoring from the beginning of class, and the creation of a 3,000 sq. ft. “makerspace” in the Grove School that provide students access to a range of resources for making real products with practical applications, and internships from the sophomore year onwards.


Grove School researchers receive $1.5M to build social media platform for STEM students, targeting Hispanic students to improve retention and graduation rates of underrepresented minorities.


Dean Gilda Barabino is elected to National Academy of Engineering


Alexander Couzis, Professor of Chemical Engineering is appointed Interim Dean of The Grove School of Engineering.


Last Updated: 01/21/2021 18:07