Examples of
DISTINGUISHED CUNY ALUMNI’S COMMITMENT TO FREEDOM
Alphabetical order by last name.
BELLA ABZUG
BELLA ABZUG

Hunter College 1942,
feminist; political activist; U.S. Representative, 1971–1977.

ERIC ADAMS
ERIC ADAMS

New York City College of Technology 1987 and John Jay College,
State Senator and co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.

CARMEN ARROYO
CARMEN ARROYO

Hostos Community College 1978,
the first Puerto Rican woman as well as the first Hispanic woman in the New York State Assembly.

HERMAN BADILLO
HERMAN BADILLO

City College 1951,
civil rights activist and the first Puerto Rican elected to the U.S. Congress.

 

BILL BAIRD

Brooklyn College 1955,
reproductive rights activist and co-director of the Pro Choice League.

CHARLES BARRON

New York City College of Technology 1976,
New York City Council member and community activist.

MARTHA DESAUSSURE BENTON

New York City College of Technology 1987,
first black legal secretary in the New York State Appellate Division’s Second Department, and has spearheaded the hiring of minority women throughout the court system.

AMANDA BERNAL

Graduate Center,
educator; founder, Hostos Cultural and Medicinal Plant Garden; co-founder, Hostos Honors Program.

PHILIP ALFONSO BERRY
PHILIP ALFONSO BERRY

Queens College and Borough of Manhattan Community College,
Vice President, Colgate-Palmolive and a leader in creating workplace diversity.

BARBARA LEVY BOXER
BARBARA LEVY BOXER

Brooklyn College 1962,
anti-war activist, environmentalist, U.S. Representative, 1982–1993, and U.S. Senator.

JEANNETTE BROWN

Lehman College 1969,
chemist and winner of the American Chemical Society’s Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.

MARIA CAMPANELLA

Kingsborough Community College,
community activist and supporter of local charities, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Liberty Medal awarded by the New York Post.

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RICHARD CARMONA
RICHARD CARMONA

Bronx Community College,
U.S. Surgeon General, public health advocate and decorated Vietnam veteran.

CAROL CEA

College of Staten Island 1986,
advocate for people with disabilities and associate director of the Developmental Disabilities Project, Fordham University Center for Ethics Education.

SANJEEV CHATTERJEE

Brooklyn College,
1989 documentary filmmaker with focus on the Indian Diaspora and director of the Knight Center for International Media at the University of Miami.

SHIRLEY ST. HILL CHISHOLM
SHIRLEY ST. HILL CHISHOLM

Brooklyn College 1946,
first African- American U.S. Congresswoman, 1968–1982. Candidate for president, 1972.

CARMEN BEAUCHAMP CIPARICK

Hunter College 1963,
first Hispanic woman named to the New York State Court of Appeals.

UNA CLARKE
UNA CLARKE

New York City College of Technology,
first Jamaican in the New York City Council.

ADRIAN RELU COMAN
ADRIAN RELU COMAN

CUNY B.A.,
program manager, International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission of New York, executive director, ACCEPT Romania. JULIE DASH, City College 1974, writer, producer, and director, “Daughters of the Dust,” the first feature length film by a black woman to receive a national commercial release.

ROBERT DAVILA
ROBERT DAVILA

Hunter College 1965,
president of Gallaudet University and advocate for the rights of the hearing impaired.

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RUBY DEE

Hunter College 1945,
Emmy-nominated actress and civil rights activist.

MARIA DEL TORO

York College 1972,
vice president, public affairs, Y.M.C.A. of Greater New York.

ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ

Brooklyn College 1959,
Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and influential civil liberties lawyer.

RICOT DUPUY

Brooklyn College 1981,
founder of Radio Soleil, prominent activist in Brooklyn’s Haitian community, and advocate for democracy and justice in Haiti.

YAFFA ELIACH

Brooklyn College 1967,
Graduate Center 1973, Holocaust survivor; founder, Tower of Life Collection, The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; professor and founder of the Center for Holocaust Studies in Brooklyn and currently the director and founder of the Shtetl Foundation in Israel.

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IRWIN ENGELMAN

Baruch College 1955,
endowed the Ackerman Chair in Social Justice at Baruch College.

SUSAN FARKAS
SUSAN FARKAS

CUNY B.A.,
journalist, winner of six Emmy Awards, chief of Television and Radio, United Nations.

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DEADRIA FARMER-PAELLMANN

Brooklyn College 1988,
slavery reparations activist and pioneer of the corporate restitution effort that seeks compensation from companies that have benefited from slavery in their past.

SANDRA ABRAMOWITZ FELDMAN

Brooklyn College 1960,
civil rights activist, president, American Federation of Teachers.

DICK FLACKS

Brooklyn College 1958,
UC Santa Barbara professor, co-author of the Port Huron Statement (1962), the manifesto of the Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.).

MOE FONER

Brooklyn College 1936,
union leader, activist, and founder of Bread and Roses, the cultural organization of Local 1199, Service Employees International Union.

MICHELE FORSTEN
MICHELE FORSTEN

City College 1976,
co-founder, New York City Lesbian Cancer Support Consortium.

ABRAHAM FOXMAN

City College,
national director, Anti-Defamation League.

MIRIAM FRANCIL

Medgar Evers College 1975,
prominent New York City artist; member, Committee of Descendants of the Afrikan Ancestral Burial Ground, which fought to preserve part of the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan.

FRED FRANCIS

Brooklyn College 1971,
co-founder of disability rights group S.O.F.E.D.U.P. and disability activist.

FELIX FRANKFURTER
FELIX FRANKFURTER

City College 1902,
U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

DEBRA FRASER-HOWZE

Hunter College,
president/CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

MURRAY FRIEDMAN

Brooklyn College 1948,
vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1986–1990.

TONYA GONNELLA FRICHNER

CUNY Law School 1986,
organizer of the First Annual American Indian Law Symposium and founder, American Indian Law Alliance.

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MARTIN GARBUS

Hunter College 1955,
first amendment attorney.

EDWARD I GEFFNER

Brooklyn College 1959,
president and c.e.o. of Project Renewal, advocate for the homeless.

DOUGLAS GLASGOW

Brooklyn College 1959,
former official with the National Urban League and author of “The Black Underclass,” the seminal work on the causes of blacks’ entrapment in poverty.

FRED GOLDHABER

Brooklyn College 1968,
gay activist and first teacher hired at New York’s Harvey Milk High School, the first all-gay high school in the United States.

DEBORAH GLICK
DEBORAH GLICK

Queens College 1978,
the first openly gay New York State Assembly member and a leader in the passage of the Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Act.

ANDREW GOODMAN
ANDREW GOODMAN

Queens College,
civil rights activist murdered during Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964.

CAROLYN GOODMAN

M.A. 1953,
civil rights and anti-war activist.

DANIEL L. GREENBERG

Brooklyn College 1966,
president and attorney-in-chief/ c.e.o. of The Legal Aid Society of New York, which provides legal support to New York City’s urban poor.

WILLIAM HALLETT GREENE
WILLIAM HALLETT GREENE

City College 1884,
the first black graduate of City College and first black member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

ELLY GROSS

LaGuardia Community College 1997,
author and lecturer on the Holocaust.

ALAN GUSKIN

Brooklyn College 1958,
and JUDITH GUSKIN, Brooklyn College 1959, organizers of a student group while in graduate school at the University of Michigan that inspired John F. Kennedy to establish the Peace Corps.

BEVERLY L. HALL

Brooklyn College 1970,
superintendent of public schools, Atlanta, Ga., and in the forefront to improve public education in urban areas.

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E. Y. “YIP” HARBURG

City College 1918,
lyricist who wrote the lyrics to the anthem of the Great Depression, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”

RITA HAUSER

Hunter College 1954,
attorney involved with international conflict resolution, security and human rights.

FRED HELLERMAN

Brooklyn College 1949,
folk singer, songwriter, and member of the Weavers. Blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

RAMONA HERNANDEZ
RAMONA HERNANDEZ

Lehman College 1979,
Graduate Center 1997, director, Institute for Dominican Studies, City College of New York.

FLORENCE HOWE
FLORENCE HOWE

Hunter College,
a founder of women's studies and founder/publisher of the Feminist Press/CUNY.

BISI IDERABDULLAH

Brooklyn College 1974,
founder of Imani House, an organization that assists low-income youth, immigrants and families in Brooklyn and Liberia, West Africa.

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AUGUSTA KAPPNER
AUGUSTA KAPPNER

Hunter College,
education innovator and the first African-American president of a CUNY college.

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VERA PISTRAK KATZ

Brooklyn College 1955,
former mayor of Portland, Ore., first woman speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.

IRENE MORGAN KIRKALDY
IRENE MORGAN KIRKALDY

Queens College M.A. 1990;
her refusal to give up a seat on a segregated interstate bus in 1944 led to a 1946 Supreme Court decision in favor of desegregating interstate buses.

GERTRUDE LANDAU

Hunter College 1931,
founder of the world’s first senior citizens’ center in the Bronx, 1943.

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RABBI MOSHE LEVIN

Brooklyn College 1964,
military chaplain during the Vietnam War, now a prominent San Diego civil rights activist and vocal member of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.

JANET LIEBERMAN
JANET LIEBERMAN

City College,
pioneered new approaches in secondary education; founder, the Middle College High School; co-founder, The Early College High School at LaGuardia Community College.

GUILLERMO LINARES
GUILLERMO LINARES

City College 1975,
New York City Council member, first Dominican-American City Council member and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

AUDRE LORDE

Hunter College 1959,
African-American lesbian poet, essayist, educator and activist.

HELEN MARSHALL
HELEN MARSHALL

Queens College 1972,
first African-American elected Queens Borough President, first director of the Langston Hughes Library, and education activist. MARTIN MENDELSOHN, Brooklyn College 1963, head of the Special Litigation Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice that prosecuted Nazi war criminals living illegally in the United States.

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MARTIN MENDELSOHN
HELEN MARSHALL

Brooklyn College 1963,
head of the Special Litigation Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice that prosecuted Nazi war criminals living illegally in the United States.

SOIA MENTSCHIKOFF

Hunter College 1934,
first woman partner of a major law firm; first woman elected president of the American Association of Law Schools.

PAULI MURRAY

Hunter College 1933,
first African-American woman named an Episcopal priest; human rights activist; lawyer and co-founder of N.O.W.

CAROL COOPERMAN NADELSON

Brooklyn College 1957,
first woman elected president of the American Psychiatric Association, and an advocate for women in the field of medicine.

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ANTONIA PANTOJA

Hunter College 1952,
social worker, feminist, civil rights leader and founder of Aspira, the Puerto Rican Forum and Boricua College.

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MOISÉS PÉREZ

Brooklyn College 1978,
community activist and co-founder and executive director of Alianza Dominicana.

CAROL PITCHERSKY

Hunter College 1968,
Associate Director of the A.C.L.U. 1969–1978, credited with helping the organization overcome a potentially bankrupting deficit.

DEBORAH TOBIAS PORITZ

Brooklyn College 1958,
first female Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court; first female New Jersey Attorney General, 1994–1996.

COLIN POWELL
COLIN POWELL

City College 1958,
former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State.

WINSTON PRICE

Brooklyn College 1970,
health care advocate, former president of the National Medical Association, representing African-American physicians. PEARL PRIMUS, Hunter College 1940, dancer, choreographer and anthropologist whose work focused on oppression, violence and racial prejudice.

PEARL PRIMUS
WINSTON PRICE

Hunter College 1940,
dancer, choreographer and anthropologist whose work focused on oppression, violence and racial prejudice.

GERALD REYNOLDS

York College,
Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

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FAITH RINGGOLD

City College 1955,
feminist, writer and artist.

MYRNA RIVERA

Lehman College 1974,
founder of National Hispanic Employment Program, one of the first Hispanic investment consulting firms in the U.S.

BARRY ROSEN

Brooklyn College 1965,
Peace Corps volunteer in Iran 1968–1969; he was a U.S. embassy employee when held hostage for 444 days; returned to the region in 2004 to help rebuild the Afghan school system.

A. M. ROSENTHAL
A. M. ROSENTHAL

City College 1949,
former executive editor of the New York Times who championed the publication of the Pentagon Papers; Pulitzer prize winning journalist expelled from Poland in 1959 for his reporting on the nation’s government and society.

ROBERT ROSENTHAL

Brooklyn College 1938,
one of World War II’s most decorated airmen; served as assistant counsel at the Nuremberg trials after the war.

MARTHA ROSLER

Brooklyn College 1965,
influential photographer, videographer and conceptual artist, famous for work that tackles social concerns.

ALICE SCHAERR ROSSI

Brooklyn College 1947,
sociologist, feminist, cofounder in 1966 of the National Organization for Women.

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JONAS SALK

City College 1934,
developed the first polio vaccine.

SONIA SANCHEZ

Hunter College 1955,
poet and leader in the civil rights movement.

BERNICE RESNICK SANDLER

Brooklyn College 1949,
“Godmother of Title IX,” which banned sex discrimination in education; senior scholar at the Women’s Research and Education Institute.

DORIS LIPSON SASSOWER

Brooklyn College 1954,
judicial activist and co-founder and director of the Center for Judicial Accountability Inc.

HILLEL SCHENKER

Brooklyn College 1961,
co-editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal and prominent Israeli peace activist.

ROBERT SCHRANK

Brooklyn College 1965,
labor activist, author and victor in a landmark New York State Supreme Court ruling that established the right to criticize union leaders.

IRWIN SCHWARTZ

Brooklyn College 1968,
president, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and an advocate for due process for persons accused of crime or other misconduct.

DANIEL SCHORR
DANIEL SCHORR

City College 1938,
CBS News journalist arrested and expelled from the U.S.S.R. in 1957 for defying censorship; coverage of Watergate placed him on Nixon’s “enemies list.”

DORIS SHAFFER

Brooklyn College 1949,
co-founder of the Great Neck Committee for Human Rights.

DONALD SHAFFER

Brooklyn College,
1949 co-founder of the Great Neck Committee for Human Rights, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, 1968–1972, and attorney, Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

NORMAN SIEGEL

Brooklyn College,
civil rights lawyer, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, 1985–2000.

CARLOS SIERRA
CARLOS SIERRA

Bronx Community College, Lehman College 2006,
ex-officio voting member of the CUNY Board of Trustees and the 2005–2006 chair of the University Student Senate.

IRWIN SILBER

Brooklyn College 1945,
founder and editor of “Sing Out!,” the influential magazine of folk music in the 1950s and 1960s.

EILEEN TREACY

Lehman College 1974,
psychologist; founder of Bronx Women Against Rape; expert witness on sex crimes.

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RUTH TRUJILLO-ACOSTA

LaGuardia Community College,
executive director of the Greensboro Justice Fund.

ALAN VAN CAPELLE

CUNY B.A. 1997,
executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda and Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation.

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IYANLA VANZANT
IYANLA VANZANT

Medgar Evers College 1983,
lawyer, writer, talk show host, public speaker.

ROBERT F. WAGNER
ROBERT F. WAGNER

City College 1898,
United States Senator and advocate for labor, housing and social security legislation.

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MICHELLE WALLACE

City College 1975,
scholar of African American studies, feminist studies and cultural studies.

JOE WERSHBA

Brooklyn College 1941,
and SHIRLEY WERSHBA, Brooklyn College1943, reporters and editors at Edward R. Murrow’s “See it Now,” on the CBS News program that helped to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

DEBORAH WILLIS

City College 1986,
coordinator of collections at the National African-American Museum Project of the Smithsonian Institute; 2000 MacArthur fellow; 2005 Guggenheim fellow.

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