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Queens College, City University of New York

Queens College, City University of New York
Motto Discimus ut serviamus (Latin)[1]
Motto in English
We learn so that we may serve
Established 1937
Type Public
President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez
Academic staff
Students 18,494[2]
Undergraduates 14,384
Postgraduates 4,110
Location New York City (Queens), New York, USA
Campus Urban, 77 acres (310,000 m2)
Newspaper The Knight News
Colors Blue and Silver          
Athletics NCAA Division IIECC
Nickname Knights
Mascot Knight
Affiliations City University of New York

Queens College, located in Flushing in the borough of Queens in New York City, is one of the senior colleges of the City University of New York. It is also the fifth-oldest and one of the largest senior colleges of the twenty-three institutions of higher learning of the City University of New York (CUNY). The college's 77-acre campus is located along Kissena Boulevard. Queens College opened in 1937.


  • History 1
    • Involvement in Civil Rights 1.1
  • Degrees 2
  • Campus and facilities 3
    • Godwin-Ternbach Museum 3.1
    • Residence 3.2
  • Academic centers and institutes 4
  • Student life 5
  • Athletics 6
  • Rankings 7
  • Notable alumni and faculty 8
  • In television 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


This marker, just outside the Student Union building, marks the original location of the one-room schoolhouse

Before Queens College was established in 1937, the site of the campus was home to the Jamaica Academy, a one-room schoolhouse built in the early 19th century, where Walt Whitman once worked as teacher.[3] The building was located on Flushing-Jamaica Road (later renamed Kissena Boulevard). Jamaica Academy became public in 1844.[4] In 1909, the New York Parental School, a home for troubled boys, opened on the land surrounding the future site of Queens College and incorporated Jamaica Academy on its campus. Buildings such as Jefferson Hall (named after Thomas Jefferson) were used as both dormitories and classrooms.[5]

In 1934, the New York Parental School was investigated amid rumors of abuse.[6] The school was shut down and students were transferred to local public schools. A few months later, the grounds were turned over to the city. The city planned to house 500 mental patients from Randall's Island Hospital, who were temporarily displaced by the construction of the Triborough Bridge.[7]

Meanwhile, County Judge Charles S. Colden appointed and chaired a committee to assess the feasibility of opening a free college in Queens. In September 1935, the committee recommended the establishment of such a college.[8] Mayor La Guardia backed the recommendation and pushed for the free college's creation. In March 1937, the Board of Education designated the site of the former Parental School to be the future location of Queens College.[9] Paul Klapper, former dean of the School of Education at City College of New York, was appointed the new college's president.[10] The college opened in September 1937 with 21 members on its teaching staff and 400 students in its inaugural freshmen class.[11][12]

The college campus grew as buildings were constructed and enrollment increased. In 1958, 10,754 students were enrolled, more than ever before.[13] By 1976, enrollment was at 20,243.[14] But changes beyond growth were in store for Queens College: in 1970, CUNY adopted the controversial policy of Open Admissions, which guaranteed a place at CUNY for any high school graduate in New York, regardless of traditional criteria like grades or test scores. The program was intended to offer college education to more New York City residents, in particular those of color. But Open Admissions did not seem to affect Queens College as much as it did other schools — a year after its implementation, only 10% of its student body was black or Puerto Rican, according to the newly appointed college president, Dr. Joseph S. Murphy.[15] By 1976, other concerns overtook the college as New York City faced a crippling financial crisis. CUNY's policy of free tuition was revoked; the overall CUNY budget was cut by $135 million; and CUNY Chancellor Robert Kibbee of CUNY demanded that Queens College slash its budget by 15%.[16] Some faculty members resigned in protest.[17] The New York Times reported in December 1976 that "Queens College, considered the jewel in the university's crown, has been particularly hard hit by the cuts, which have gone to the heart of the faculty."[14] All hiring and building on campus was halted.

By 1984, the student enrollment had declined to 15,000. But with a $175 million building program in place by 1986 for the college's 50th anniversary, enrollments were expected to rise and the college was beginning to recover from the financial crisis of the 1970s. In addition, the student body, in accordance with the mission of the short-lived Open Admissions program, had grown much more diverse, and college faculty were trained to understand Latin American culture and how to teach American literature to non-American students.[18] By that time, former Queens College president Dr. Joseph S. Murphy was now the CUNY Chancellor. In the 1990s, the college attracted high-profile researchers to its faculty, including the virologist Luc Montagnier, and established a law program.[19] Under President Allen Sessoms, the college underwent such growth but also some missteps, including the highly publicized inability to fund the planned AIDS research center that Dr. Montagnier was hired to lead.[20]

The college campus continued improving its facilities. Under a $1 billion CUNY-wide improvement program, Queens College's Powdermaker Hall was given a $57 million renovation, begun in 2000.[21] By 2014, student enrollment had neared its former height of 20,000 students, half of which come from minority backgrounds.[22][23] Dr. Felix V. Matos Rodriguez was appointed president of Queens College by the CUNY Board of Trustees in 2014.[24]

Involvement in Civil Rights

Queens College students were active participants in the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, including the KKK members on a remote rural road. The men approached their car, then shot and killed all three young men. The murders received national attention, and six conspirators were brought to trial and convicted by federal prosecutors for civil rights violations. The Chaney-Goodman-Schwerner Clock Tower of Rosenthal Library, a highly visible borough landmark, is named in their honor.[25]

In February 2011, Queens College inherited the personal collection of the late James Foreman. The collection, along with other civil rights leaders' collections, is available for research at the Queens College Civil Rights Archive. A special program on February 17, 2011 included a presentation by the Honorable Julian Bond for Black History Month, as well as a formal announcement of the acquisition.[26]


Queens College is a liberal arts college that offers undergraduate degrees in 78 majors, master's degrees in 24 departments, 20 doctoral degrees through the CUNY Graduate Center, and a number of advanced certificate programs.[27] It is also one of seven participating schools in the CUNY Honors College. The department for Continuing Education offers non-credit courses.

Campus and facilities

The QC Quad

The 77-acre (310,000 m2) campus, located off Kissena Boulevard, is on one of the highest points in the borough. Six of the original Spanish-style buildings dating back to the early 20th century still stand, such as Jefferson Hall, which was built in 1900. The college has since expanded to include over 40 buildings including the main classroom building, Powdermaker Hall, rebuilt in 2003 and named after the college's distinguished anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker. The college is embarking on a variety of campus-beautification projects.

Rosenthal Library

Queens College is the only CUNY college that participates in Division II sports. A Child Development Center, staffed by professionals, offers inexpensive child care services to students with children. The college is also home to the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, which houses more than 3,500 works of art.

The college holds courses at several off-campus locations, including the 43rd Street Extension Center in Manhattan and the CUNY Center for Higher Education in downtown Flushing, which opened in late 2003.

The college has a low-rise 506-bed dormitory on campus called "The Summit at Queens College," which opened for the fall semester of 2009. Queens College is one of only three CUNY campuses with dorm facilities (the other two being Hunter College and City College).

The campus maintains the Benjamin Rosenthal Library. The library's Chaney-Schwerner-Goodman Clocktower was named after the three civil rights workers who were murdered in 1964, including Andrew Goodman, a Queens College student. Built in 1988, the library contains 752,900 books, 32,600 print and electronic materials, the electronic archives, a collection of multimedia materials in its Media Center and an art center. The library is also home to the papers of Robert Morris and the Louis Armstrong archives.

The college is home to the Aaron Copland School of Music located in the music building, constructed in 1991. The building houses the music library and the 490-seat Lefrak Concert Hall.

CUNY School of Law was previously located to the west of the campus of Queens College; while it was always a separate administrative unit of CUNY, the building itself read "CUNY School of Law at Queens College," and was once a building for the Department of Education. The CUNY Board of Trustees approved plans for the Law School to be relocated to 2 Court Square in Long Island City, with the first semester of classes held in 2012.[28] Queens College has since taken over the former CUNY Law building for future use.

Townsend Harris High School is located at the edge of the Queens College campus.

Godwin-Ternbach Museum

Since 1957 Queens College has been collecting works of art, these collections were initially used for teaching purposes and were meant to serve the college community. The collections were eventually brought together with the establishment of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum in 1980. The Museum is now a part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts which has joined together all the works of art on campus in collaborations of visual, performance, dance, and theater arts.[29] In the early 1990s, the museum was downsized due to budget cuts. Over the next few years, the college kept it open but on a reduced budget and staff. In 2001 however the college hired Amy Winters as director of the museum. To address the concerns of the museum Winters turned to MAP (The Museum Assessment Program); as a result not only did the museum improve their facilities but they increased their collections-related staff as well.[30] Today the museum is an integral part of the Queens College community, and it continues to serve not only the faculty and staff but the community at large.

The Museum is located in Klapper Hall and maintains a fine collection of 3,500 pieces of art, as well as artifacts from all cultures dating from ancient times to the modern day. These include works by Georges Braque. The museum also hosts a series of exhibitions each year. These exhibitions and events are open to Queens College students, faculty, staff and the public.


The Summit is Queens College's first residence hall, it opened in the fall of 2009.

In 2009, Queens College was the third school in the CUNY system to open a residence hall. The Summit, a low-rise 506-bed dormitory, is located in the middle of the campus.[31] Queens College is still primarily a commuter school, having only 500 of its over 18,000 students living on campus. The Summit hall has earned a silver certificate from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an organization that certifies buildings to have met environmentally sustainable construction standards.[32] Queens College's residence hall offers study lounges on each floor, wireless internet, laundry services, and a state of the art fitness center. Apartments also include kitchens with full size appliances, as well as dining areas, microwaves, couches, entertainment stands, and music practice rooms.[33]

The Summit has attracted students from around the country and the world to Queens College, especially aspiring artists looking to attend the internationally renowned Aaron Copland School of Music. Although it remains a commuter school, the college has become more dynamic as a result of the construction of the Summit; offering students a traditional college experience at an affordable public university. In addition to the Summit, many students rent apartments off campus in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Academic centers and institutes

Rosenthal Library

The College is home to many centers which focus their research on various pressing social issues facing the local communities, students, faculty and the many ethnic and religious groups of the Queens area.

  • Asian American/Asian Institute: Works to integrate the talents of individual faculty and the resources of other CUNY institutes to create a community of scholars to help focus their energies on Asia and the Asian American experience.
  • Asian/American Center: Dedicated to community-oriented research that analyzes the multi-cultural diaspora experience of Asians in global and local communities.
  • John D. Calandra Italian American Institute: Fosters higher education among Italian-Americans and ensures that the legacy of the Italian-American experience is documented and preserved for future generations. This is accomplished through research, counseling, lectures, symposia, and administering an exchange program with CUNY and Italian universities.
  • Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS): Conducts research that analyzes real world environmental and resource problems and their policy implications. Recent projects include a study of the impact of air pollution on asthma sufferers in the South Bronx and a continuing examination of the health workers involved in the cleanup of ground zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
  • Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies: Initiates, supports, and coordinates the teaching of Byzantine and modern Greek studies. The center also promotes Byzantine and Neo-Hellenic scholarship and publications, and relates academic research and teaching to the needs of the Greek community in Queens and elsewhere.
  • Center for Jewish Studies: Through outreach and research, the Center for Jewish Studies serves as a bridge between the academic program and the social community.
  • John Cardinal Newman Club: Run by the Catholic Newman Center, this area provides a social environment for all students of all faiths.
  • Center for the Improvement of Education: Builds relationships between public schools and Queens College.
  • The Michael Harrington Center for Democratic Values and Social Change: Promotes public discourse about social issues, advocates for social change, and works in partnerships with others to build a more just and equitable democratic society. The institute is primarily concerned with the employment, health, and educational needs of economically disadvantaged communities.
  • The Neuroscience Research Center: The goal of the center is to enhance the research and education of students at Queens College through the establishment of programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels concerning neuroscience. Members of the center have established a five-year NIH MARC program at the college for minorities in the biomedical research sciences. The faculty at the center have produced over 800 peer-reviewed publications over the past fifteen years, with nearly 300 in the past five years alone. Since 1990, the center faculty have also received funding for 51 external and 54 internal grants.
  • Queens College Model United Nations Team: Run in conjunction with the Political Science Department, this program provides students the opportunity to explore their interests in the international policy and the United Nations.
  • Queens Memory Project: The Queens Memory Project, a digital archive which aims to record and preserve contemporary history across the borough of Queens, is a collaborative effort between Queens College and Queens Library that includes digitized materials from the Rosenthal Library's Department of Special Collections.
  • The Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding: CERRU was created in fall 2009 through a grant from the US Department of Education. CERRU is a non-partisan organization that facilitates cross-cultural engagement

Student life

The Student Union building is home to most of the clubs on campus.
Demographics of Queens College[34]
Men Women
Asian/Pacific Islander 1,583 2,263
Black/Non-Hispanic 558 1,233
Hispanic 1,031 2,166
Native American 8 15
White/Non-Hispanic 3,583 6,046
International Students 471 615

The college is located in Queens, New York, the most diverse county in the nation.[35] Queens College students represent 120 countries and speak over 60 different native languages. This rich variety has influenced Queens College's curriculum, research, and outreach programs.[36]

Queens College's cultural diversity is also represented in its clubs and organizations. Queens has 95 different clubs and organizations, ranging from fraternities/sororities to cultural, religious, technology, and art clubs. Most of the organizations are located within the Student Union building. To complement the college's educational mission, the Student Union provides various facilities, services, co-curricular activities, and programs.[37]

Queens College Greek life consists of eight fraternities and seven sororities.[38]

Greek membership numbers in the hundreds, with more members in Greek Life than in all the other clubs on campus combined. The Queens College Greek life supports a variety of different philanthropies with thousands of dollars in donations to various charitable organizations, as well as thousands of hours of volunteer work. The Dining Hall is a popular gathering place for Greeks, as is the field directly outside during days with good weather. They participate in throwing events such a Greek Week, Fall Brawl, and Meet the Greeks, where they showcase their respective organizations, as well as compete for recreation.

Fraternities Sororities Honor Societies
Kappa Sigma Phi Sigma Sigma Chi Sigma Iota
Alpha Epsilon Pi Sigma Delta Tau Nu Gamma Psi
Gamma Omega Delta Lambda Pi Upsilon Phi Alpha Theta
Tau Epsilon Phi Delta Phi Epsilon Phi Upsilon Omicron
Phi Iota Alpha Psi Chi
Alpha Chi Rho


The Queens College Men's Basketball team (above). QC is the only CUNY school to participate in NCAA Division II sports.

The Athletic Department at Queens College sponsors fifteen separate men's and women's championship eligible varsity teams in eight different sports. The longest running among these fifteen programs are the men's basketball and baseball teams. The men's basketball team has put a team on the court in every season since its inception in 1938. On February 14, 2004 the team played its 1500th game and, in those 1500 games, has produced twenty 1,000-point scorers. Of these twenty players, twelve have achieved this after the college began play in NCAA Division II in 1983 and four (Alan Hevesi (#5), Norman Roberts (#15), Jeff Maloney (#22) and Norman Roberts (#15)) have had their numbers retired. Although the program has a long-running record of achievement, its biggest successes have come in the 21st century. In 2001, the Knights earned their first NCAA Division II Northeast Regional bid. 2002 saw the team earn their second consecutive bid along with the program's first NYCAC championship and, in 2005, the team once again was crowned NYCAC Champions and received an automatic bid to the NCAA's.[39]

With the exception of three years during Long Island Ducks of the Independent League.[39]

The women's basketball team has also experienced success. On March 24, 1973, the Knights, who were ranked #2 in the country, took the Fitzgerald Gymnasium court with the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) National Championship at stake. On February 22, 1975 they played in the first women's basketball game ever played in Madison Square Garden.[40][41] Three players from this era (Debbie Mason (#15), Gail Marquis (#25) and Althea Gwyn (#31)) have had their numbers retired. On January 4, 2015, the two teams will play in the Maggie Dixon Classic as a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the original event.[42] In the 2000s, the team has rebounded from a short down period to make a return to the NYCAC playoffs while producing several top-flight players, including Honorable Mention All-American in Carolyn Burke.

In the period from 1997 until 2003, the softball team posted a .640 winning percentage and won 30 or more games in a season three times. One of those 30 win seasons came in 1999 when the team won their first NYCAC tournament championship and earned their first NCAA bid. Two season later, third team All-American Cheryl Cosenzo helped lead the Lady Knights to their second NYCAC championship as well as an NCAA bid and in 2002 the team earned their third Northeast Regional bid in five years.

The women's tennis team has experienced nineteen consecutive winning seasons. The team has won four conference championships, while its players have won a number of individual and doubles titles. In 2004, Dominika Bajuk was selected as NYCAC Player of the Year. The Lady Knights have also earned NCAA Division II post-season championship bids in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005; as well as in 1995 when, as hosts, they won their region.[39]

The men's track and field team hosted and won the East Coast Conference Championships in 2013.


  • In 2013, Queens College was ranked #2 nationally in Washington Monthly's "Best Bang For Your Buck" college guide.
  • In its 2006 edition of "America's Best Value Colleges," The Princeton Review ranks Queens College 8th in the United States.[43]
  • Queens College is ranked as one of the "25 Hottest Universities" in the Newsweek/Kaplan 2008 College Guide.[44]
Program Ranking Ranked by
America's Best Value Colleges 8 The Princeton Review [46]
Top Public Regional Universities (North) 9 U.S. News [47]
Top Regional Universities (North) 42 U.S. News [48]
Clinical Training (Graduate) 3 U.S. News [47]
Library and Information Studies (Graduate) 38 U.S. News [47]
Speech-Language Pathology (Graduate) 53 U.S. News [47]
Fine Arts (Graduate) 93 U.S. News

Notable alumni and faculty

In television


  1. ^ Authored by Dr. Konrad Gries, Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics, at the request of the first president of the college, Dr. Paul Klapper (Personal communication from Konrad Gries).
  2. ^ Queens College - CUNY
  3. ^
  4. ^ Walsh, Kevin. "POMONOK, Queens". Forgotten NY. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Queens College: 10 Year Sustainability Plan" (PDF). Queens College. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Tompkins, New York Times (Feb 24, 1935). "PARENTAL HOME ENTERS NEW ERA: Sympathetic Treatment to Be Basic Policy in Handling Wayward Boys". New York Times. 
  7. ^ "CITY TO HOUSE WARDS IN PARENTAL SCHOOL: Education Board Lends Flushing Institution as Hospital for Mental Defectives.". New York Times. Jun 15, 1935. p. 15. 
  8. ^ "QUEENS COLLEGE BACKED.: Colden Committee Holds Proposal for New Institution Feasible.". New York Times. Sep 13, 1935. p. 15. 
  9. ^ "COLLEGE SITE GIVEN TO CITY IN QUEENS: Education Board Cedes 48 Acres and Buildings of Flushing Parental School". New York Times. Apr 1, 1937. p. 25. 
  10. ^ "DR. KLAPPER HEADS QUEENS COLLEGE: Dean of Education School of City College Made President of New Institution". New York Times. May 26, 1937. p. 23. 
  11. ^ "21 NAMED TO STAFF AT QUEENS COLLEGE: Professors and Assistants in Other Institutions Are Taking Lower Rank in New School". New York Times. Aug 20, 1937. p. 15. 
  12. ^ "FIRST CLASS MEETS AT QUEENS COLLEGE: 400 Selected Freshmen Are Greeted as Pioneers by Dr. Klapper, the President". New York Times. Oct 5, 1937. p. 28. 
  13. ^ "QUEENS COLLEGE GAINS: Enrollment of 10,754 for Semester Sets Record". New York Times. Oct 10, 1958. p. 24. 
  14. ^ a b Ferretti, Fred (Dec 9, 1976). "City U.and City Hall Are Steering Collision Course on Further Cuts: City U. and City Hall on Collission Course". New York Times. p. 97. 
  15. ^ "New Queens College President Strives to Meet Most Demands by Students". New York Times. Apr 4, 1971. p. BQ84. 
  16. ^ "WHEN TUITION AT CUNY WAS FREE, SORT OF". CUNY Matters. October 12, 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Six at Queens College Quit Over Budget Cuts". New York Times. Jul 3, 1976. p. 20. 
  18. ^ Carmody, Deirdre (Oct 11, 1987). "Queens College, 50 Years Old, Seeks to Rebound". New York Times. p. 80. 
  19. ^ "Queens College Law School Is Granted Full Accreditation". New York Times. Aug 14, 1992. p. B8. 
  20. ^ Arenson, Karen (Mar 17, 2001). "College Returns $3 Million Gift For AIDS Lab: Queens College Returns $3 Million Donation for AIDS Center". New York Times. p. B1. 
  21. ^ Brozan, Nadeen (September 17, 2000). "On CUNY's Campuses, The Subject Is Change". New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "QC at a Glance". Queens College. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "CUNY--Queens College". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  25. ^ "CUNY Trustees Approve New Queens Home for CUNY Law School". 
  26. ^ Ablamsky, Jessica. "Civil Rights Titan Bond Looks Back". Queens Tribune. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  27. ^ "Admissions". Queens College. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "CUNY Trustees Approve New Queens Home for CUNY Law School". 
  29. ^ NYC ARTS > Museums > Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College
  30. ^ 30 Years of Excellence Through MAP | AAMblog
  31. ^ "The Summit at Queens College". Queens College. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  32. ^ Queens College Opens First Dorm | | Queens Gazette
  33. ^ QC Queens College
  34. ^ CUNY Queens College Information, Academics, Admissions, Financial Aid, Students, Athletics, Alumni, History, Campus, Students, Faculty, Address, and Tuition
  35. ^ [1]
  36. ^ Diversity Web: Queens College
  37. ^ Queens College - CUNY
  38. ^ "QC Inter Fraternity Sorority Council". Facebook. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  39. ^ a b c Queens College Athletics
  40. ^ "NY sports history: Feb. 22, 1975". Long Island Newsday. February 21, 2011. Retrieved 8 Dec 2012. 
  41. ^ Jenkins, Sally. "History of Women's Basketball". WNBA. Retrieved 8 Dec 2012. 
  42. ^ Feinberg, Doug (Sep 19, 2014). "MSG to honor first women's basketball game at arena". Norwich Bulletin. Retrieved 19 Sep 2014. 
  43. ^ Archived February 16, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ Archived August 18, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ "America's Best Colleges". August 13, 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  46. ^ The Princeton Review, Inc. - America's Best Value Colleges by State
  47. ^ a b c d CUNY-Queens College | Overall Rankings | Best College | US News
  48. ^ Queens College | CUNY-Queens College | Rankings | Best College | US News

External links

  • Queens College
  • The Knight News (Queens College newspaper)
  • Queens College Athletics (QC Sports Program)
  • WQMC Radio (Student Radio Station)
  • Webmail (Student Email)
  • CUNYfirst (Student Records and Financials)
  • [2] (Special Collections and Archives)
  • Queens College Voices (Queens College student blog)
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