Class of 1977...
The fall of ’76 opened up with one of the most controversial moments in City College’s history: the implementation of tuition. Some 12,000 students found themselves paying to attend City College for the first time in the College’s 129 year history. President Marshak addressed the tuition increases in a letter to the Class of ’77 in the Microcosm: "By the time you read this, most of the uncertainties that surround the College and the University should have been settled - for better or for worse. But the strain, the uncertain future of public higher education in New York City placed on your careers at the College, you will long remember." Citing "the end of free tuition and the devastating effects of retrenchment," he continued to an upbeat conclusion: "I believe that your affection for the College and for the City of New York will not diminish, for I am certain you will find that your academic and extra-curricular experiences at the College have prepared you well for the world you now enter."
At the same time the Class of ’77 mourned the end of free-tuition, the celebrated the faculty and other notable people associated with the College. Several articles in the College’s newspaper “The Campus” highlighted the achievements of the students and the dedication of the faculty at the College. Some of those celebrated include Margaret Mead, a famed anthropologist and the Curator Emeritus of Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History, and Dr. Sharon Cosloy, a microbial geneticist studying recombination in bacteria at the college. One of the most notable staff members was Lucy Shames, a Lab Technician at the College who was heroically remembered as a member of a small guerilla group formed in Vilna, Poland during World War II. She spent 1941 to 1944 fighting for her life with a group of what started off as a dozen people against the 75,000 strong German army. Students of the College also celebrated with the community with the fall festival in March and also marked the 75th birthday of author Langston Hughes with a panel discussion.
Following a gap of more than two years, the Microcosm published a volume covering both 1977 and 1978. The book was dedicated to actor Zero Mostel, Class of '35 who passed away on September 8th. Famous for originating the movie role of Max Bialystock in The Producers and for stage roles in Fiddler on the Roof and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (among many others), Mostel was noted in a tribute on page 13 as "a 1935 graduate of CCNY and one of its most enthusiastic supporters... Shortly before his death, Mr. Mostel was on the phone with President Robert E. Marshak, agreeing to serve as co-chairman of the National Alumni Committee for the City College Scholar Awards. In the "Respice" (look back) section of the yearbook, in addition to the tribute to Zero Mostel, there were photos of protests that took place on campus in the past, moving up to the near present, with students demonstrating against the proposed tuition and one sign reading, "NO TUITION, NO $1,100!"
Tuition was not the only change happening on campus. The physical appearance of CCNY was undergoing a drastic make-over, as the wide angle photograph of the North Academic Center under construction, with the Hudson River in view in the background, clearly demonstrates.
In sports, the College’s female Hoopster team had a solid 14-12 record by the end of the season and beat many of the previous records set at City College in women’s basketball. Whether it was number of points scored in a season or number of rebounds, the team truly outdid themselves creating a new pinnacle of athleticism for the College.