Class of 1960...
"Welcome to the Alumni Association! And to The City College Fund!" wrote Buell G. Gallagher in the opening of his letter from the Office of the President of The City College to the graduating Class of 1960 in Microcosm.
In fact, the 1960 Microcosm devoted a full page each to The City College Fund and the Alumni Association (pages 120-121). The City College's annual drive was in its sixth year, and proudly noted that almost $900,000 had been turned over to the College in that time. "The Fund has gone far beyond its original purpose - of providing for the annual maintenance of student facilities such as the Finley Student Center - by making available capital funds and annual subsidies for a variety of new and highly important College projects. It has become a vital factor in the development and growth of The City College."
So perhaps, with considerable wisdom and foresight, President Gallagher was looking down the years to the Class of 1960's exciting 50th Reunion, organized by the City College Fund for 2010, when he saluted graduating seniors with that welcoming message. And, of course, the purpose of The City College Fund continues to expand, even as the Annual Fund and the unrestricted dollars it provides the College remains a key component of the Fund's work and "a vital factor" in CCNY's development and growth.
In these times when public service is much talked about and encouraged, at City College and in the larger world generally, it is also noteworthy that the club known as Pick and Shovel was doing its share way back when, before organizations like The Peace Corps and AmeriCorps had come into being. As Microcosm describes it, "Pick and Shovel is the Senior Honorary Service Society designed to honor those students who have devoted an outstanding portion of their time to extra-curricular activities. Pick and Shovel's main project for the last year has been working with the Foreign Students of the College."
Playful activities were also encouraged at City College: the Gilbert and Sullivan Society presented a production of Patience, Dramsoc offered up The Male Animal, and the Musical Comedy Society sang the praises of "Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO" in Damn Yankees.
During their time as CCNY students, the Class of 1960 witnessed the opening of the Morris Raphael Cohen Library after years of planning. "This beautiful modernistic three million dollar structure" replaced Bowker Library which was demolished, along with Drill Hall, to make way for a new Technology Building. As the Microcosm writers put it, "the face of the campus was lifted but its pulse remained steady."
The thorny issue of "membership lists" of student clubs and activities lingered from earlier in the 1950s. Also a hangover from earlier days, student publications were closely watched by the administration, with the prospect of censorship something to be guarded against. (The Spring 1958 issue of Promethean, for example, contained "non-suitable" material, according to President Gallagher).
On the science front, students were made well aware that they were living in the nuclear age: "With the cooperation of the Atomic Energy Commission, an atomic reactor was installed under Lewisohn Stadium, supervised by Professors Kolodney, Menkes, and Soodak. Another sign of keeping pace with the times."
New York State approved aid to City College for the first time - a total of $2.7 million - in 1959, with the stipulation that non-city residents be accepted. So the fall of 1959 brought the first non-city residents who had been accepted by the College.
Also in that graduation year, House Plan celebrated its 25 years of existence with a Silver Anniversary Ball, and a very young Susan Sontag was a lecturer in the Philosophy department.
Downtown, the Class of 1960 decided to dedicate its yearbook, Lexicon, to Dean Emanuel Saxe, who assumed the office of dean just as the class of 1960 was entering the Baruch School.
The senior prom was held on the eve of Washington's birthday, at the Olympia Room of the Hotel Manhattan. It was Paradise for the Class of '60, and "fairest of the fair" Floria Klein, Queen of the Senior Prom, glowed with happiness.
A new decade was dawning, and Lexicon editors reserved judgment on what was to come: "Exit the fabulous fifties; enter the '___________ sixties.' (We leave the blank space for the phrase-coiners of this decade.)"
Fifty years later, historians, social scientists, and many others of us are still trying to fill in that blank!
Many of these class notes are excerpted from the 1960 Microcosm, Editor-in-Chief Jeanne B. Corsan, and the 1960 Lexicon, Editor-in-Chief Helen Tarlowski.