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October 2001

Campuses Mobilize After Terrorist Attack

CUNY's "Success Express" Highlights Grads
Freshman Enrollment Rises at CUNY
First Festival Presented by Gotham Center
CUNY TV enhances recruiting outreach
U.S. Cheers Poet Laureate: Prof. Billy Collins
A Dream of Food On Washington Mall
Navy League Award to Hunter Physicist
Nine Leading Scholars Named Distinguished Professors
Haitian First Lady, CCNY Alumna, Feted
Baruch College Opens Vertical Campus
Historic Matters
Baruch Center Confronts Quality of Urban Life
Hunter College Historian Communes with the Saints
A Displaced Person Discovers His Place on Campus
CUNY Students Vault into Poll Work
Double Play for CUNY Broadcasters
Historic Matters

Original Design Receives Trustees Seal of Approval

outlined seal of approvalThe University’s Board of Trustees has recently returned to its iconographic roots. The Board has reverted from the more schematic line-drawing of the seal, which has been in use since 1979, to the more distinguished and detailed design that was originally approved in 1926.

The main difference is that the wording in the outer circle then read “Seal of the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York—1926.” And therein hangs a brief history of the CUNY Board of Trustees, as related by its current Secretary Genevieve Mullin (her association with the Board began in 1971).

In 1926 the New York State legislature required every city with a population of more than one million to establish a Board of Higher Education. New York was the only such city in the state at the time, and the first Board consisted of the Boards of Trustees of City College and Hunter College, plus three mayoral appointees. Pressure from thebronze seal of approval burgeoning Borough of Brooklyn soon began for a college of its own, and the future City University consortium began to form.

Up to 1974, all Board of Higher Education appointees were named by the Mayor. After 1974, the number of Board members was set at ten, with seven mayoral and three governor’s appointees. According to Mullin, the present constitution of the Board (17 members: ten gubernatorial, 5 mayoral, two ex officio) grew out of reorganization during the 1976 New York City fiscal crisis, and it was in 1979 that the Board of Higher Education was renamed the Board of Trustees.

The Latin motto in the seal—Eruditio populi liberi spes gentium—can be translated, “The education of free people is the hope of humanity.””



WAVEs of the Past on Old Hunter Campus

women at trainingDuring World War II, some 86,000 WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) were trained by the Navy at the U.S. Naval Training Station on the Bronx campus of Hunter College, now occupied by Lehman College. Among them was the 2nd Platoon, of the Eighth Regiment’s Company 813, seen here on the campus ( photo courtesy of Roberta Silvester Stahley, WAVES Memorabilia, Lehman College Library).

Dubbed the “U.S.S. Hunter,” the Station was formally commissioned on February 8, 1943, as a “boot camp” for the training of reserve women for onshore naval duty. The site was particularly well-suited for the Navy’s purposes due to its four well constructed buildings, gymnasium facilities, large grassy fields, and proximity to excellent transportation facilities. The location also gave high visibility to the Navy’s local recruitment efforts.

Over a six- to eight-week period, women at the Training Station learned about naval organization and administration, ships and aircraft, and history. They also underwent an intensive program of marching drills and calisthenics, medical exams, and a battery of aptitude tests. At the completion of their orientation, these women were directly assigned to positions or otherwise sent for training in a specialty. WAVES served as parachute riggers, pharmacist’s mates, instrument trainers, storekeepers, clerks, dispatchers, decoders, and navigators, freeing male personnel for combat.

The station was decommissioned on February 1, 1946. A ship’s bell left by the Navy and a stained glass window given by Waves National to the College are tangible reminders on campus today of the special use made of the Lehman site during World War II.

Readers interested in the full story may consult “Making WAVES in the Bronx,” an article published by Lehman Professor and Special Collections Librarian Janet Butler Munch in The Bronx County Historical Society Journal (Spring 1993).


Literati Queue Up for Queens College Evening Readings

russel banksQeens College Evening Readings promise another year of literary luminaries reading from their newest works and interviews by Director Joe Cuomo. Joan Didion, whose Political Fictions is due this fall, will appear on Oct. 16. Others scheduled for the series on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. are V.S. Naipaul, Booker Prize- winning author, whose most recent book, Half a Life, is forthcoming this fall (joan didionOct. 30); Margaret Atwood, also a Booker Prize-winner, whose newest book is The Blind Assassin (Nov. 13); Stanley Crouch, author of fiction and non-fiction including Don’t the Moon Look Lonesome, Daily News columnist and commentator for 60 Minutes, and Danzy Senna, author of Caucasia (both on Dec. 4).

margaret atwoodThe spring semester will include: novelist Russell Banks, whose books Affliction and The Sweet Hearafter were adapted into major Academy Award-nominated films (Feb. 26); Adam Zagajewski, widely regarded as one of the greatest poets in the Polish language (March 19); and Javier Marias, considered Spain’s greatest living novelist, whose newest Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me will be published this fall (April 16). The final program (April 30) features poet and essayist Anne Carson, whose books include The Beauty of the Husband, and former Queens College Professor and award-winning poet Marie Ponsot, whose most recent book Springing: New and Selected Poems 1946- 2002, will be published next spring.