Still Making History

April 26, 2012 | Salute to Scholars, The University

A blend of venerable and cutting-edge architecture and programs add extra dimensions to the arts and sciences

AT LEHMAN COLLEGE, students can’t help but hear the history echoing through the walls of Davis Hall or the Old Gymnasium, two of the original buildings on campus. Before Lehman was established in 1968, the campus was the Bronx branch of Hunter College, known as Hunterin- the-Bronx.

During World War II, the U.S. Navy took over the campus and used it as a national training station for more than 80,000 WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). A ship’s bell from the USS Columbia, installed on campus by the Navy, commemorates that period. From March to August 1946, the newly formed United Nations used the Gymnasium Building on campus as interim headquarters for Security Council meetings.

The college is named after Herbert H. Lehman, a four-term New York governor and two-term U.S. senator who had directed the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, helping to save millions of refugees after World War II.

Situated on 37 acres along the Jerome Park Reservoir, the campus continues to be the intellectual, economic and cultural center of the northwest Bronx and the surrounding community. A senior college, Lehman offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and programs and almost 50 graduate degree programs, special programs and advanced certificates in areas such as nursing, teacher and counselor preparation, accounting, health sciences and social work. Lehman houses the CUNY doctoral program in the plant sciences and has a long-standing collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden. The college has operated a Speech and Hearing Center for the community as part of its speech-language pathology program since 1968. A new state-of-the-art clinic continues to serve area residents.

More than 12,000 students attend the college and most live in the Bronx or elsewhere in the city. In 2003, the High School of American Studies, one of New York City’s new specialized high schools and the only one to focus on American history, opened on campus and has consistently been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top 100 high schools.

The Lehman Center for the Performing Arts and the Lehman College Art Gallery are popular destinations. Hosting over 30 shows each year, the Performing Arts Center draws more than 200,000 visitors, and the Art Gallery has been organizing exhibitions showcasing local artists, free of charge, since 1984.

Even the architecture is worth a second look. The college’s original, gray stone Tudor-Gothic buildings were constructed in the 1930s as part of the federal Works Projects Administration and feature imposing turrets, graceful finials and decorative details. The Art Gallery and Shuster Hall were designed by renowned architect Marcel Breuer, and the modern APEX, designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Rafael Viñoly, is a world-class sports and recreation center with facilities for swimming, basketball, racquetball, weight training, track and field and dance.

Two years ago Lehman opened a $16 million Multimedia Center, featuring an all-digital newsroom, custom-built broadcasting studio, eight-room editing suite, production control facilities, computerized music studio, and graphic workstations. Currently Lehman is constructing CUNY’s first “green” science building. Designed by Perkins+Will, the 69,000-square-foot building will feature state-of-theart laboratories, a conference center and office space, and is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

QUICK FACTS
• A senior liberal arts college established in 1968
• More than 50 undergraduate majors and programs and almost 50 graduate degree programs, special programs and advanced certificates
• Ranking: Tier 1 and a Top 50 Public School (Regional Universities in the Northeast), U.S. News & World Report, 2010, 2011
• 69% female, 31% male; representing more than 90 nations
• 75% receive financial aid
• Alumni: Over 62,000 in law, medicine, teaching, business, the arts, social services and health care
• Accessibility: No. 4 and D subway lines, Metro North, nine Bronx buses including Nos. 2, 10, 22 and 28, and other buses from Manhattan and lower Westchester County.

THE HOT SPOTS A LEHMAN

1. Student Life Building: the hub of the college’s 44 student clubs, including
student government, the student newspaper and the campus radio station.
Students can relax in the lounge or TV room or over a game of table tennis, pool,
chess or air hockey.
2. The APEX: the world-class center for sports and recreation is a magnet for
many students, with its the 50-meter swimming pool, free-weight room and a
fitness center, which has the latest equipment and is staffed by an exercise physiologist.
3. The Underground Lounge: a student cafeteria in the Speech & Theatre
Building; renovated in 2010, the lounge seats 410, offers Wi-Fi and a bite to
eat.
4. Carman Café: located in Carman Hall, a popular hangout for students that
features a popular salad bar and Starbucks coffee.