Class of 1946...
In 1946, City College opened its doors to veterans returning from the war, welcoming 1,700 veteran students in the Fall Semester and 3,000 in the spring. The College designed special programs for those who returned from service mid-semester, allowing them to catch up with their peers. Seven hundred female students also joined the student body in the spring.
On May 7th, 1946, the College held a memorial for the students and faculty members who lost their lives in the war. The ceremony coincided with the College’s 99th anniversary and featured an address by Lewis Mumford ’18, a former member of the Board of Higher Education who lost a son during the war, as well as readings by a Rabbi, a Protestant Minister, and a Catholic Priest.
During their four years at City College, students from the Class of 1946 forged new friendships that would last for many years to come. However, the College also helped to reunite long-lost friends who were torn apart by World War II. Alice Landau and Aisel Fuss had been classmates at L’Athenee de Jeunes Filles in Antwerp, Belgium before the war forced them to flee the country. Aisele sought refuge in New York and Alice fled to Brazil before eventually settling in New York as well. The two reunited at City College when Alice stopped a random stranger to ask for directions to the chemistry building. That stranger happened to be Aisele, her former classmate.
1946 was a notable year for student activism at City College. The Public Affairs Committee of the Student Council sponsored a rally to support the Indonesian struggle for independence. On February 21st at 12 PM, students assembled at Doremus Hall to listen to speeches by guest speakers from the Committee of Free Indonesia in San Francisco and to demonstrate their support for the movement. The speakers provided students with a first-hand account of Indonesian popular sentiment regarding independence and explained to them why the Indonesian populace was fighting so hard to achieve it.
In addition to demonstrating its support for the Indonesian independence struggle, the Student Council also expressed its opposition to the Student-Faculty Committee’s ban on the distribution of outside literature at the College. The Council drafted a resolution that recommended that the Committee “allow any College organization to distribute outside literature on the campus as long as it is properly identified as literature of that organization.”
Student representatives from the Tom Paine Club of American Youth for Democracy traveled to Albany to petition for the establishment of a state university system in New York. The members of the club believed that a state university system was necessary to provide equal educational opportunities to black, Jewish, and Catholic students, who were not admitted to many private universities at the time. The delegation also demanded that educational institutions that practice racial or religious discrimination have their tax-exempt status revoked.
1946 marked the return of City College’s soccer team from a 28-year hiatus. Under the leadership of Coach Ira Zasloff, the Beavers defeated Queens College 9-2 during their first match since 1918, earning two points during the game’s first period and six points in the second.
The Beavers were also victorious on the cross-country field. During the first meet of the season, City College defeated Brooklyn Polytech 15-40 at Van Cortlandt Park. The meet resulted in a three-way first place tie for Captain Harold Feigelson, Warren Bright, and Norm Zareko, who crossed the finish line arm-in-arm with a winning time of 31: 46.3 minutes. Fourth and fifth places were also snagged by members of City College’s team, with Bernard Kravitz crossing the finish line at 32:48 and Herb Benario coming in at 33:11.
In honor of City College’s approaching centennial, Harry N. Wright, City College’s president at the time, traveled to Washington, D.C. to present a medal to President Harry Truman on October 9th, 1946. During the College’s centennial celebration at Hotel Astor on
President Harry Truman (C) receives a medal from
President Harry N. Wright (R) as Representative Sol Bloom (L)
October 12th, President Truman sent a congratulatory telegram stating that the “nation owes a great debt to its municipal colleges which, in the face of almost insufferable obstacles, have continued to provide educational facilities for young men and women who would otherwise have no opportunity to advance themselves.”