Brooklyn College

Brooklyn College is a public college in Brooklyn, New York City. It is part of the City University of New York.

Brooklyn College
of The City University of New York
MottoLatin: Nil sine magno labore
Motto in English
Nothing without great effort[1]
Academic affiliations
Endowment$86.1 million (2017)[2]
Budget$122,292,702 (2018)[1]
PresidentMichelle Anderson
ProvostAnne Lopes
Administrative staff
519 full-time,
444 part-time
Students17,803 (2017)[1]
Undergraduates14,689 (2017)[1]
Postgraduates3,114 (2017)[1]
Location, ,
United States

40°37′52″N 73°57′9″W
CampusUrban, 35 acres (0.14 sq km2)[1]
ColorsMaroon, gold, and warm grey[3]
Sports14 varsity teams
MascotBuster the Bulldog

Brooklyn College was founded in 1930 with the establishment of an extension division of the City College for Teachers.

The school then began offering evening classes for first-year male college students in 1917. In 1930 by order of the New York City Board of Higher Education, the college authorized the combination of the Downtown Brooklyn branches of Hunter College at that time a women's college and the City College of New York a men's college both of which had been established in 1926.[4] With the merger of these branches, Brooklyn College became the first public coeducational liberal arts college in New York City.

Campus history

Construction and early decades

In 1932, the architect Randolph Evans drafted a plan for the college's campus on a substantial plot of land his employer owned in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. He sketched out a Georgian-style campus facing a central quadrangle, and anchored by a library building with a tall tower. Evans presented the sketches to the President of the college at the time, Dr. William A. Boylan. Boylan was pleased with the plans, and the lot of land was purchased for $1.6 million ($23,900,000 in current dollar terms). Construction of the new campus began in 1935, with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and Brooklyn Borough President Raymond Ingersoll. In 1936, the President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt went to Brooklyn College to lay the cornerstone of the Brooklyn College Gymnasium. President Boylan, Borough President Ingersoll, and President Roosevelt all had buildings on Brooklyn College's campus named after them.

Harry Gideonse was the second President of Brooklyn College, from 1939 to 1966.[5][6] During his tenure Brooklyn College was one of the top colleges in the US in terms of the number of alumni receiving doctorate degrees.[5] In May 1983, Brooklyn College named its library the Harry D. Gideonse Library.[5][7] Francis Kilcoyne was the fourth President of Brooklyn College, from 1966–67.[8] Harold Syrett, the fourth President of Brooklyn College from 1967–69, resigned due to ill health.[9]

John Kneller was the fifth President of Brooklyn College, from 1969 to 1979.[10][11][12] Students occupied his office at the college during a student strike after the Kent State shootings and the Cambodian Campaign in 1970.[11][13][14] He terminated classes, but kept campus buildings open for students and faculty.[11] A member of the Brooklyn College Fencing Team introduced streaking to the college in 1974, dashing across the Quad.[11] The campus located in Midwood became the only Brooklyn College campus after the school's Downtown Brooklyn campus was shut down during the 1975 budget emergency.

Robert Hess was the sixth President of Brooklyn College, from 1979 until 1992.[15][16][17][18] In a 1988 survey of thousands of academic deans, the college ranked 5th in the United States in providing students with a strong general education.[16] Brooklyn College was the only college in the top five in the survey that was a public institution.[16][17] While Brooklyn College was referred to as “the poor man’s Harvard,” Hess quipped: “I like to think of Harvard as the rich man’s Brooklyn College.”[19]

Vernon Lattin was the seventh president of Brooklyn College, from 1992 to 2000.[20]

Modern campus history

Brooklyn College's campus East Quad looks much like it did when it was originally constructed. The campus also serves as home to BCBC/ Brooklyn College Presents complex and its four theaters, including the George Gershwin.

The demolition of Gershwin Hall, replaced by The Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts, is the most recent construction on an evolving campus.[21] Other changes to the original design include the demolition of Plaza Building, due to its inefficient use of space, poor ventilation, and significant maintenance costs. To replace the Plaza Building, the college constructed West Quad Center, designed by the notable Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. The new building contains classroom space, offices, gymnasiums and a swimming pool. It houses the offices of Registration, Admissions, Financial Aid, and the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science. The grounds contain a quadrangle with grassy areas and trees. New façades are being constructed on Roosevelt and James halls where they once connected with Plaza Building. The 2009–10 CUNYAC championship men's basketball team now plays its home games in the West Quad Center.

This follows a major library renovation that saw the library moved to a temporary home while construction took place. The Brooklyn College library is now located in its original location in a completely renovated and expanded LaGuardia Hall. Noted as one of the most beautiful in the United States,[22] In 2016, Brooklyn College announced a new home for the Koppelman School of Business, with the construction of a new building, Koppelman Hall, on property adjacent to the 26-acre campus bought in 2011. This increased the campus size to 35 acres.[23]

The campus has been shown on numerous movies and television shows.

From 2000 to 2009 when he retired, Christoph M. Kimmich was the eighth President of Brooklyn College.[24] Karen L. Gould was named the ninth president of Brooklyn College in 2009, and Michelle Anderson became the 10th President of Brooklyn College in 2016.[25]


Brooklyn College is made up of five schools:

  • Murray Koppelman School of Business
  • School of Education
  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences
  • School of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts


Undergraduate curriculum

Beginning in 1981, the college instituted a group of classes that all undergraduates were required to take, called "Core Studies". The classes were: Classical Origins of Western Culture, Introduction to Art, Introduction to Music, People, Power, and Politics, The Shaping of the Modern World, Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning and Computer Programming, Landmarks of Literature, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology, Studies in African, Asian, and Latin American Cultures, and Knowledge, Existence and Values.[26]

In 2006, the Core Curriculum was revamped, and the 13 required courses were replaced with 15 courses in 3 disciplines, from which students were required to take 11.[27] In the fall of 2013, Brooklyn College embarked on CUNY's new general education alternative, the Pathways curriculum, consisting of three components: Required Core (four courses), Flexible Core (six courses) and College Option (four courses)—totaling 42 credits.[28] Brooklyn College offers over a hundred majors varying from the visual arts to Women's Studies.[29]

Division of Graduate Studies

The Division of Graduate Studies at Brooklyn College was established in 1935 and offers more than seventy programs in the arts, education, humanities, sciences, and computer and social sciences. Among those programs is the Graduate theatre program, which is the top ranked in the CUNY system and 14th in the United States; faculty include Tony Award nominee Justin Townsend.[30][31]

Graduate programs are offered in Accounting, Acting (MFA), Africana Studies, Anthropology and Archaeology, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computer and Information Science, Directing (MFA), Earth and Environmental Sciences, Economics, Education, English, Film, Health and Nutrition Sciences, History, Judaic Studies, Mathematics, Modern Languages and Literatures, Music, Performing Arts Management (MFA), Physical Education and Exercise Science, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, Sociology, Speech Communication Arts and Sciences, Television and Radio, and Theater History and Criticism (MA).[32]

B.A.–M.D. program

The Brooklyn College B.A.M.D. program is an 8-year program affiliated with SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The Program follows a rigorous selection process, with a maximum of 15 students selected every year. Each student selected to the program receives a Brooklyn College Presidential Scholarship. B.A.–M.D. students must engage in community service for three years, beginning in their lower sophomore semester. During one summer of their undergraduate studies, students are required to volunteer in a clinical setting where they are involved in direct patient care. B.A.–M.D. students are encouraged to major in the humanities or social sciences. A student who majors in a science must choose a minor in the humanities or social sciences. All students meet the pre-med science requirements by taking cell and molecular biology, botany, physiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and general physics. B.A.–M.D. students must maintain at Brooklyn College an overall grade point average of 3.5, and a pre-med science GPA of 3.5.[33]

The Scholars Program

The Scholars Program is home to a small number of students with strong writing ability and academic record. Being the oldest honors program in the CUNY system, The Scholars Program has served as a model for many other honors programs nationwide. It was established in 1960 and is an interdisciplinary liberal arts program. The program offers honors-level Core courses and seminars as well as small, personalized classes. Upon graduation from Brooklyn College, many Scholars continue their education in competitive programs at top-ranked universities like Princeton, Yale, and New York University. The program accepts incoming freshmen in addition to matriculated sophomores and transfer students (up to 48 credits). Once admitted, they receive a Brooklyn College Foundation Presidential Scholarship of up to $4,000 for every year of their undergraduate study at Brooklyn College and a laptop computer. [34]

Coordinated Engineering Program

The Coordinated Honors Engineering Program offers a course of study equivalent to the first two years at any engineering school. Students who maintain the required academic level are guaranteed transfer to one of the three coordinating schools—NYU-Poly, City College of New York School of Engineering, and the College of Staten Island Engineering Science Program—to complete their bachelor's degree in engineering. Coordinating Engineering students have also transferred to Stony Brook University, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, Cooper Union, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students admitted as incoming First-Year receive a Brooklyn College Foundation Presidential Scholarship that provides full tuition for their two years of full-time undergraduate study in the Coordinated Engineering Program. As members of the Honors Academy, Engineering Honors students take advantage of individual advising, faculty consultation, and early registration. In the Commons they find study facilities, computer access, academic, scholarship, internship, and career opportunities, and, above all, intellectual stimulation among other talented students like themselves. Students applying to the Engineering Honors Program will also be considered for the Scholars Program.[35]

Brooklyn College Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema

Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema is the first public graduate film school in New York City. It is the only film school in America to have its own classroom on a film lot with the collaboration of Steiner Studios, the largest soundstage on the East Coast. The program offers a two-year M.A. in Cinema Studies, a two-year M.F.A. in Cinema Arts in the discipline of Producing, and a three-year M.F.A in Cinema Arts with five disciplines of Cinematography, Directing, Post-production, Screenwriting, and Digital Arts and Visual Effects. The school opened in the fall of 2015. The first graduating class was in Spring 2018.


University rankings
Forbes[36] 362
Times/WSJ[37] 323
U.S. News & World Report[38] 59
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[39] 78

U.S. News & World Report ranked the school tied for 59th overall as a Regional college (North region), tied for 3rd in Top Performers on Social Mobility, 14th for Top Public Schools, tied for 17th in Best Undergraduate Teaching, and tied for 33rd in Best Colleges for Veterans for 2020.[40]


Brooklyn College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Bulldogs are a member of the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC). Men's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis and volleyball. Women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and volleyball.


In 2010 Brooklyn College adopted the Bulldog as its new mascot.[41] The athletic program was originally known as the Kingsmen. In 1994 the mascot was changed to the Bridges. However, after building new facilities and undergoing other changes the athletic director pushed for a new name to reflect the new program.[42]

Notable people

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of Brooklyn College include Senator Bernie Sanders (1959-1960),[43][44] Senator Barbara Boxer (B.A. 1962), Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (B.A., 1946), composer Laurie Spiegel (M.A., 1975), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt (M.A., 1967), Fifa U-17 world cup champion Joseph Babatunde (B.A 2000), Harvard Law School professor and author Alan M. Dershowitz, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt, Emmy Award-winning actor Jimmy Smits (B.A., 1980), Sopranos stars Steve Schirripa (B.A., 1980) and Dominic Chianese (B.A., 1961), New York Mets President Saul Katz (B.A., 1960), PragerU founder Dennis Prager, and Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Paul Mazursky (B.A., 1952) and Oren Moverman (B.A., 1992).

Notable faculty


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