Class of 1984...
In August 1983, the famous American lyricist and City College alumnus Ira Gershwin, brother of composer George Gershwin, passed away at age 86. Later that same month, a group of men and women in CCNY's workshop in aerospace education flew to Florida to witness the launch of Challenger STS-8 in NASA's first night launch in over a decade. The delayed lift-off occurred at 2:10 a.m.
The summer of 1983 also marked a move for the campus Beaver, the statue of the City College mascot, which left the hill behind Finley Center to make itself at home in the center of the north campus quadrangle, once the site of the City College flagpole.
City College instituted a student exchange program with the University of Nigeria at Nsukka and Enugu as part of a major African Initiatives Program. Five African students came to the U.S. to study at CCNY, while seven undergraduate and graduate students from City College went to Africa to study. The exchange program grew out of a visit to Africa the previous spring by President and Mrs. Harleston and a CCNY delegation. The delegation visited Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya from March 26 to April 8, 1983.
Ten years after construction began – and almost two years after the first occupant moved in – City College's North Academic Center (NAC) was officially dedicated during the week of March 26-29, 1984. The four-day celebration included public lectures, a concert, and art exhibits. It ended on March 29 with an official Dedication Day on which the Morris Raphael Cohen Library, the David and Rae Aronow Theater, the John H. Finley Student Center, and NAC itself were dedicated in formal ribbon-cutting ceremonies. President and Mrs. Robert Marshak, under whose term of office NAC construction began, returned to celebrate the building's dedication with President and Mrs. Harleston.
On April 2, 1984, Jesse Jackson delivered a speech at Aaron Davis Hall as part of his campaign in the New York State Democratic presidential primary. He urged students to "use their vote to redirect the course of the nation."
Alumnus Marvin Rosenberg, Class of 1928, made a donation to fund a new public affairs program honoring Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. The Rosenberg/Humphrey program aimed to develop student involvement and leadership in the political process. Participants would intern with government and political agencies, engage in public policy research with CCNY faculty, and take part in other activities to help them learn how to become active in the political process and effect change in society. The first three Rosenberg/Humphrey interns were named that year.
It was a good sports year at CCNY. The soccer, men's track, and women's basketball squads all captured City University championships, while the swimming and men's gymnastic teams both finished undefeated in regular season competition. The women's track team also had a strong season, finishing second in the CUNY conference and setting several CCNY records.
Graduation Day 1984 marked the first time that City College commencement exercises were held in the plaza of the new North Academic Center. Class valedictorian Chi Luu, an electrical engineering major, had fled Vietnam just five years earlier as one of the "boat people," unable to speak a word of English at the time. For his fellow classmates, he had this message: "It is my hope that the significant achievement of all the students, but particularly the minority students, will become role models so that those who come after us may further appreciate the importance and obtain the rewards of a higher education."
The source for most of these Class notes is The City College Alumnus, 1983 and 1984 issues, available at the Morris Raphael Cohen Library, Archives and Special Collections.