CUNY City College was established as the Free Academy of the City of New York in 1847. Its purpose was to offer free education to children of immigrants and the poor based on academic merit. At the Academy’s opening in 1849, the first president Dr Horace Webster said, "The experiment is to be tried, whether the children of the people, the children of the whole people, can be educated; and whether an institution of the highest grade, can be successfully controlled by the popular will, not by the privileged few."
CUNY City College is one of the ten senior colleges of The City University of New York (CUNY) - the largest urban public higher level institution in the US, famous for its ethically diverse student body. The university says that its students speak more than 110 languages and have their roots in more than 170 countries.
City College has top programmes in architecture, engineering, education and the liberal arts and sciences. Its academic programmes range from architecture, education, humanities and arts to science and engineering.
The institution offers undergraduate students the chance to conduct research with professors. More than 300 undergraduate students in social science, science and engineering work with senior researchers.
The campus life at City involves 16 varsity teams and over 100 student clubs.
Famous alumni include actor, director and screenwriter Woody Allen, former National Security Advisor and author Henry Kissinger, Hungarian-born American businessman, engineer and author Andrew Grove, who worked in the semiconductor industry, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, social activist and former Black Panther Party member Assata Shakur, actor Luis Guzman and Jamaican American author and chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley.