COLLEGE HISTORY TIMELINE
A short history of the college can also be found here on the CSI website..
The first organized movement to establish a public college on Staten Island begins in 1932 via a petition drive.
2,700 Staten Island residents petition the Board of Higher Education for a public college.
Despite petitions with 45,000 signatures, financial conditions prevent the Board of Estimate of New York City from approving a Board of Higher Education of New York City proposal for a four-year college on Staten Island.
Establishment of a publicly supported college becomes an issue in the State Assembly race when Edward V. Curry promises to make the creation of a school an objective if he wins. His win and a legislative change creating the State University, authorized to share in the financing and operating of community colleges with local communities, created an opportunity to establish a college on Staten Island.
Dr. Alvin C. Eurich, President of the Board of Trustees of the State University, indicates that the state would support a liberal arts community college if the city would contribute its share of the costs, but the city does not give its support.
The Board of Higher Education authorizes Donald P. Cottrell, Dean of the College of Education at Ohio State University, to undertake a comprehensive survey of higher education facilities in New York City. Cottrell’s report advocates that, “there should be established in Richmond a two-year co-educational community college for a minimum of 1,000 students.”
The Board of Higher Education authorizes Professor John S. Diekhoff to also undertake a comprehensive survey. Diekhoff’s report, “On the Need for a Community College in the Borough of Richmond,” recommends the establishment of a community college in 1953 or 1954, to begin as two-year college until increased enrollment warranted its expansion into a four-year college.
May 17, 1954
The Board of Higher Education authorizes its Chairman to undertake negotiations with the city and state regarding the establishment of a community college on Staten Island.
On March 16th, the Board of Higher Education authorizes Dean Walter L. Willig of City College and Professor Arleigh B. Williamson to undertake an educational survey of Richmond County. Their report, “Proposal for the Sponsorship and Establishment of a Community College in the Borough of Richmond” is submitted to the Board a month later.
On April 18th, the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York approves the proposal for the sponsorship and establishment of Staten Island Community College. Staten Island Community College was the first two-year institution sponsored by the Board. On May 12th, the Board of Estimate of New York City approved the proposal, and on June 9th the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York approved the proposal. The college was established under the New York State Community College Law and is locally sponsored by the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York under the program of the State University of New York. Due to this arrangement, the college receives both state and city funding.
The Board of Estimate approves a 5-year lease of space for the college at 50 Bay St. in St. George on October 20, 1955. The lease is to be effective January 1, 1956.
The Board of Higher Education and the Trustees of the State University appoint Walter L. Willig to be president of SICC on December 8, 1955.
The Staten Island Community College installs its first president, Walter L. Willig, and celebrates its official opening on September 17, 1956. On September 24th, the first classes are held at 50 Bay St. in St. George. The first class had 112 students and there were 14 faculty members.
The initial curricula of the college consists of Business Technology, Mechanical Technology, Electrical Technology, Pre-Engineering and Liberal Arts & Sciences.
The initial academic departments are Business Technology, Electrical Technology, Mathematics-Science, Mechanical Technology and Social & Humanistic Studies.
The first student newspaper is published on November 14, 1956. The paper is initially nameless and a request is made for suggestions for names.
During the first semester, a basketball team is organized and plays a full schedule of games.
Staten Island Community College establishes an evening session with an initial enrollment of 141 students in February 1957.
The first Open House is held on May 3, 1957.
The first Parents’ Day is held in May 1957.
A permanent Student Government is organized in May 1957 with the adoption of a constitution.
During the spring, a golf team is organized.
During the first academic year, a Student Association, Dramatics Club, History Club, Newman Club and a Language Club are organized.
The first issue of The Dolphin, the newly named student newspaper, is issued in September 1957.
On October 21st, classes are suspended in honor of a motor trip being made by Queen Elizabeth II along Bay Street, right past the college.
The first Staten Island Community College commencement exercises take place on the grounds of Sailors' Snug Harbor on June 8, 1958.
The Board of Estimate of New York City approves the selection of a proposed 35-acre site in Sunnyside in Todt Hill and authorizes its acquisition for use as the permanent campus for Staten Island Community College on March 12, 1959.
The Staten Island Community College Alumni Association is organized in June 1959.
The college begins a series of lectures for talented high school seniors on “Great Ideas in the Sciences and Humanities” in October 1959.
The College Committee for Improvement of Teaching publishes the first issue of Sparks.
The State University formally approves the acquisition of SICC’s new college campus.
In December, the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York approves a comprehensive survey and report that provides for the development of Staten Island Community College’s permanent campus in Sunnyside.
The Staten Island Community College curriculum changed between the 1959-60 and the 1961-2 academic years. The Liberal Arts & Sciences Curriculum offers options for Science Majors and Non-Science Majors and the college starts an Industrial Laboratory Technology curriculum.
The Business Technology Work Experience Program is created, allowing students to obtain practical work experience in their fields of interest.
On September 1st, the college splits the department of Social and Humanistic Studies into three academic departments in English & Speech, History & Social Sciences and Language & Arts.
The City University of New York (CUNY) is established by the state legislature on April 11, 1961. CUNY was created from the seven colleges under the jurisdiction of the Board of Higher Education of New York City – Brooklyn College, Queens College, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Staten Island Community College, Bronx Community College, Queensborough Community College and City College. As a unit of CUNY, Staten Island Community College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges & Secondary Schools on November 25, 1961.
The college runs its first Summer Session on a trial basis with an enrollment of 199 students. 19 courses were offered during the six-week session.
The Business Technology Curriculum is renamed Business Curriculum and the Pre-Engineering Curriculum is renamed Engineering Science Curriculum. The Business Technology Department is renamed the Business Department.
The Board of Estimate of New York City approves the rental of 13000 square feet of additional space at 350 St. Mark’s Place for classrooms, a study area and offices on May 21, 1963.
A groundbreaking ceremony for Sunnyside Campus is held on June 2, 1964.
Staten Island Community College obtains the use of 12 Borough Hall for faculty office space and a book repository in September 1964.
Staten Island Community College adds an academic Department of Health & Physical Education and splits the Department of Mathematics-Science into separate academic departments. College enrollment for 1963-4 academic year is 750 full time and 860 part time evening session students.
Staten Island Community College adds a Nursing Curriculum and a Department of Nursing. The College’s enrollment for 1964-5 academic year is 1000 full time and 1074 part time evening students.
The Bay, a student-edited literary magazine at Staten Island Community College, is founded during Spring Semester 1965. Its first issue is published as a four page addendum to The Dolphin.
New York City Board of Higher Education founds Richmond College as the 6th senior college to enable holders of two-year degrees to complete four-year degrees. Richmond College is the third college of its type in the country and the first in an urban area. The senior college offers undergraduate courses for juniors and seniors as well as graduate courses. The College emphasizes interdisciplinary work, independent study and innovative and experimental programs. The college also has a pass-fail grading system. The College’s opening is scheduled for Fall 1967.
1966Staten Island Community College adds a Civil Technology Program to its curriculum. The College adds space at 45 Wall St. formerly used by Staten Island Academy in January 1966. Enrollment for Fall 1966 is 1468 full time and 1345 part time students for a total of 2813 students.
Staten Island Community College's publication The Bay appears in its first full issue in Spring 1966.
The first president of Richmond College, Herbert Schueler, is appointed in May 1966.
Staten Island Community College adds Applied Language Studies, Electro-Mechanical Engineering and Medical Laboratory Technology to its curriculum. Fall 1967 enrollment is 2142 day and 1429 evening students, totaling 3571 students. There is a faculty of 147 in Fall 1967.
Staten Island Community College occupies its new Sunnyside campus in June 1967.
Richmond College’s first campus is located in St George, consisting of space at 130 Stuyvesant Place, 50 Bay St. and the 1st floor at 350 St. Mark’s Place. The college began with an enrollment 400 undergraduate students, 60% of whom had graduated from City Community Colleges, and 600 part time graduate students.
Richmond College’s initial curriculum for Fall 1967 consisted of Bachelor programs in Comparative Literature, Life Sciences, American Studies, Engineering Science, Medical Technology, Elementary Education and Secondary Education. The college offered master’s programs in Elementary Education, Secondary Education and Guidance. The college also offered Sixth Year Professional Certificates for Education in Guidance, Educational Supervision and Administration, Instructional Administrator-Principal and Instructional Administrator-Curriculum.
Richmond College’s first student newspaper, Satori, is published in December.
The first Staten Island Community College commencement exercises to be held at the new campus take place on June 12, 1968. The total number of graduates since June 1958 is 1810. The official dedication of new facilities also takes place on June 12, 1968.
William M. Birenbaum becomes President of Staten Island Community College effective September 1, 1968. The retirement of President Willig is scheduled to take place in January 1969 after a leave of absence for the fall semester.
Staten Island Community College adds Computer Science to its curriculum and creates a Department of Computer Science, and changes the name of the Industrial Laboratory Technology curriculum to Science Laboratory Technology. Fall 1968 enrollment is 2971 full time students and 1907 part time students for a total of 4878 students. There are 208 faculty members in Fall 1968.
The first issue of Staten Island Community College publication The News Ferry is published on May 1, 1968. The paper is is to be a free and independent newspaper meant to report the news of the College objectively. The paper's Publishing Board has representatives from the administration, alumni, students and the faculty.
The first issue of the Staten Island Community College student newspaper Evening Student News is published on November 1, 1968.
Richmond College beings offering bachelor's degree programs in English, Romance Languages, Music, Art, Dramatic Arts, General Humanities, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Psychology, and European studies. Richmond College enrollment for Fall 1968 is 505 undergraduate and 592 graduate students. Of these students, 35% are in humanities programs, 20% in natural science and 45% in social sciences. 60% are working towards public teaching certification. There are approximately 100 full time and 40 part time faculty members.
Staten Island Community College adds a Pre-Health Sciences Program to its curriculum.
The first issue of Black Awakening is published on Feb. 14, 1969. Black Awakenings is published by the Staten Island Community College Afro-American Society to represent the black students on campus.
The first issue of the Staten Island Community College student publication Vanguard is published on April 28, 1969. The Vanguard is published by community minded students for the purpose of exposing the deplorable conditions within the university and the military-industrial complex that surrounds it. The publishers also direct all their energies to liberating the oppressed people of the 3rd world from the persistent and ruthless domination by the United States, and urge all to participate in the people’s struggle.
The first issue of English Fifty, a publication by Staten Island Community College students in the English 50 (Journalism) class, is published on May 15, 1969.
Richmond College begins offering bachelor degree's programs in Art, Biochemistry, Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science and Science, Letters & Society. The College also begins offering master’s degree programs in English and History. Richmond College enrollment for Spring 1969 is 1006 undergraduate students and 849 graduate students.
Staten Island Community College is elected to membership in the Union for Experimenting Colleges & Universities in January 1970. The college adds the programs of Child Care, Education Associate, Orthopedic Assistant, Dental Assistant and Medical Assistant to its curriculum. The College creates a Department of Creative & Performing Arts in Fall 1970. Several academic departments are created out of the Science Department including the Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Physics-Geology. The college also creates the Departments of Economics-Government-History and Psychology-Sociology-Philosophy. September 1970 enrollment is 4422 full time students and 2825 part time students for a total of 7247 students. There are 275 faculty members in 1970.
Richmond College begins offering bachelor's degree programs in Mathematics-Computer Science, Mathematics with a minor in Secondary Education, Integrated Studies (a Social Sciences program) and Afro-American Studies. Richmond College enrollment for 1970 is 1500 undergraduate students and 1000 graduate students. Of these, about 25% are in humanities, science, math and less than half are in social sciences. About 50% are working on teaching certification. There are approximately 125 full time and 40 part time faculty members.
Staten Island Community College creates a Department of Modern Languages.
Richmond College Enrollment for Spring 1971 is 2008 undergraduate students and 1138 graduate students. There are 140 full time and 120 part time faculty members. The bachelor's degree program in Political Science is renamed Politics. A bachelor's degree program and a master's degree program in Special Education and a master's degree program in Polymer Chemistry are added to the curriculum.
The first issue of SICC News, a publication of the Staten Island Community College Student Government Association, is published on September 15, 1971.
The first issue of the Staten Island Community College student publication Punto, a bi-lingual English-Spanish newspaper, is published in October 1971.
The first issue of the Staten Island Community College student publication The Advocate is published on November 17, 1971. The publication intends to be a platform for the exchange of ideas, experiences and struggles.
Staten Island Community College enrollment for Fall 1972 is 5770 full time students and 3974 part time students for a total of 9744 students. The total number of Faculty members is 447.
The first issue of the Staten Island Community College student publication Black Press is published in December 1972 as the December 1972 / January 1973 issue.
Richmond College adds new bachelor's degree programs in Chemistry (Clinical), Environmental Health Science, Women’s Studies and Puerto Rican-Latin American Studies. A masters program in environmental science is also added to the curriculum. Richmond College is one of two colleges on the East Coast to have a Women’s Studies program leading to a degree.
Richmond College adds new bachelor's degree programs in War & Peace Studies and Urban-Community Studies to its curriculum.
Herbert Schueler, president of Richmond College, resigns from his position in May 1973.
Staten Island Community College organizes an academic mission to China in August 1973. This is one of the first academic missions to a more open China.
The Board of Higher Education appoints Saul Touster as acting president of Richmond College in September 1973.
Edmond L. Volpe assumes the presidency of Richmond College on July 1, 1974. Richmond College enrollment for Spring 1974 is greater than 4000 students. There are approximately 165 full time and 70 part time faculty members.
The first issue of the Staten Island Community College student publication Write on Women is issued in May 1974.
With New York City verging on bankruptcy, Richmond College is in danger of closing as its funding comes solely from New York City. Staten Island Community College is fiscally sound as it receives funding from both New York City and New York State. As a solution, the two colleges form a federation that would allow for the survival of both colleges while maintaining their separate missions and programs.
Richmond College also changes its pass-fail grading system, which has been in place since the start of the college, to a letter grading system.
The College of Staten Island is established when the federation between Staten Island Community College and Richmond College is discontinued and the two schools merge into one institution. President Birenbaum resigns from the presidency at the Staten Island Community College and assumes the presidency of Antioch College in September 1976. Richmond College President Edmond Volpe becomes the President of the newly created College of Staten Island. Creating one institution and one curriculum from the merger of the two schools would be a difficult task. There is also a hope that the new institution will exist on one consolidated campus in the future.
The first issue of the Staten Island Community College student publication Black Student News is published in April 1976.
The last issue of the Staten Island Community College student publication Evening Student News is published in April 1976.
By Fall 1977 a unified Curriculum Guide is available. The College offers One Year Certificate Programs of Industrial Management and Medical Assistant. The College offers associate's degrees in Liberal Arts & Sciences, Pre-Architecture, Engineering Science, Science Lab Technology, Business, Child Care, Civil Technology, Computer Technology, Education Associate, Electrical Technology, Electro-Mechanical Technology, Industrial Technology, Mechanical Technology, Medical Lab Technology and Nursing. The College offers bachelor's degrees in African American Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Art, Biology, Biochemistry, Business, Chemistry, Cinema Studies, Comparative Literature, Computer Science/Mathematics, Dramatic Arts, Economics, Engineering Science, English, History, Humanities, International Studies, Mathematics, Medical Technology, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Romance Languages; Science, Letters & Society; Sociology, Urban-Community Studies and Women’s Studies. There are Teacher Education programs at the bachelor’s degree level for childhood, elementary, secondary and special education. The College offers master’s degrees in Cinema Studies, Elementary Education, Environmental Science, Guidance & Counseling, Secondary Education and Special Education. The College offers 6th Year Certificate Programs in Education Supervision & Administration. The College also offers a PhD in Polymer Chemistry jointly with the Graduate School & University Center and Brooklyn College.
The academic departments are Applied Sciences: Physics, Geology, Astronomy, Engineering Science; Biology, Business, Chemistry, English-Speech-World Literature, Health & Physical Education, Education, Electric Technology, History, Library, Mathematics, Mechanical Technology, Modern Languages, Nursing, Performing & Creative Arts, Political Science-Economics-Philosophy and Psychology-Sociology-Anthropology.
The College begins to offer Community Service and Pre-Architecture concentrations in the Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts. A bachelor's degree program in Chemistry/Clinical Chemistry is added to the curriculum. The College discontinues the bachelor's degree programs in Humanities and Urban-Community Studies.
The College adds a One Year Certificate program in Manufacturing Technology to its curriculum.
The Associate's Degree program in Industrial Technology is now offered as Industrial Management Technology or Industrial Management Technology/Occupational Safety Concentration. The bachelor's degree program in Art now includes a Photography concentration.
WSIA begins regularly scheduled programming on August 31, 1981.
The bachelor's degree in American Studies now includes a Popular Music concentration, Economics includes a Business concentration and an Industrial Management concentration, English includes a Dramatic Literature concentration and Sociology/Anthropology includes a Social Work concentration. The master's degree in Guidance and Counseling is now called School and Community Counseling. The College also adds a master's degree in Liberal Studies to its curriculum. The College adds a Department of Computer Science; the College had previously offered computer science as an interdisciplinary program.
The College adds a One-Year Certificate Program in Safety Technology, an associate's degree in Industrial Management Engineering Science Technology and a concentration in Electronic Technology within its bachelor's degree program in Music. The College discontinues the One-Year Certificate Program of Medical Assistant.
The college adds a Public Administration Concentration to its bachelor's degree programs in Economics, Political Science and Sociology-Anthropology. The College also adds master's degree Programs in English and Computer Science.
The College now offers a bachelor's degree in Accounting and a master's degree in Business Administration with Baruch College. The Research Center for Environmental Science is established. The Research Center provides a formal structure for the research of environmental problems on Staten Island.
Willowbrook closes and is officially handed over to the College of Staten Island in September 1987.
The One-Year Certificate Program of Medical Assistant is again listed in the college catalog. The College adds a Public Administration concentration to its bachelor 's degree program in Business. The College also begins to offer a PhD in Computer Science with the CUNY Graduate Center. The Center for Developmental Neurosciences was recently established for research, education and training in the developmental neurosciences with emphasis on the developmentally disabled. The Center for Immigrant & Population Studies was recently established to conduct research in migration, immigration and population dynamics.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus occurs September 21, 1989.
The College now offers a One-Year Certificate in Developmental Disabilities and a bachelor's degree in Communications.
The College creates its very first school song. Galt MacDermot, known for his rock musical Hair, agrees to compose the music for the school song, and the College holds a contest for the creation of the lyrics.
The Center for Developmental Neurosciences changes its name to the Center for Developmental Neurosciences and Developmental Disabilities.
The new Willowbrook campus is dedicated and the first classes on the new site begin in September 1993. The college adds a Finance concentration to the bachelor's degree in Economics and creates a bachelor's degree for Physician’s Assistant. The College begins to offer a PhD in Leaning Processes as a subprogam of Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Dr. Edmond Volpe retires as President of the College of Staten Island. The new 204 acre consolidated campus at Willowbrook is completed and is the largest site for a college in New York City. The Academic Division of Humanities and Social Sciences begins to offer an Honors Seminar in the Humanities and Social Sciences to bring together talented juniors and seniors in a common intellectual experience. The College adds the concentrations of Finance, International Business, Management and Marketing to its bachelor's degree program in Business. The College creates a new bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy. The College discontinues the Public Administration concentrations in all degree programs. The College creates a Department of Engineering Technologies and discontinues its Departments of Electrical Technology and Mechanical Technology.
Dr. Marlene Springer is inaugurated as the President of the College of Staten Island. The new campus at Willowbrook is fully occupied by the end of 1995.
The College suspends new admissions to the Industrial Management, Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology Programs. The College adds a bachelor's degree program in Philosophy and Political Science. The College also adds a bachelor's degree program in Spanish. The Social Work program becomes a bachelor's degree program; previously, Social Work was a concentration of the Sociology-Anthropology degree. The College begins to offer a PhD in Neuroscience as a subprogram of Biology of the CUNY Graduate Center. The College discontinues the One-Year Certificate program in Manufacturing Technology. The Center for Immigration and Population Study ceases to exist as a research center.
The Center for the Arts opens on April 13th.
The CSI Sports & Recreation Center officially opens.
The 16-foot dome astrophysical observatory is completed. The observatory is used for astronomy courses, research projects, environmental monitoring projects and community programs.
The College of Staten Island establishes an Honors College in Fall 1997. The Honors college is designed to admit incoming first year students who have a commitment to learning, participating in intellectual life and continuing their education in graduate or professional schools. The Honors College has its own curriculum and extra-curricular activities. The Honors College initial courses within the discipline of Humanities and Social Sciences cover the areas of American Experience, the Non-Western Experience and the Western Experience. The Honors College includes the Honors College Seminar in Humanities and Social Sciences.
President Clinton speaks at CSI.
The College suspends new admissions to the One-Year Certificate Program in Safety Technology. The Honors College adds special courses in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics. The Department of Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology is now the Department of Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work.
After a multi-year process, CSI raises its academic standards to match CUNY Senior College levels.
The College discontinues the One-Year Certificate program in Developmental Disabilities.
The College establishes a Discovery Center. The Discovery Center offers programs for pre-college and freshmen students that strengthen their academic preparation. Students in the Discovery Center programs have expressed an interest in teaching.
The College adds master's degree programs in History, Adult Health Nursing, and Biology. The College adds a bachelor's degree program in Information Systems and a concentration in Bioinformatics is added to the Bachelor Degree in Biology. The College creates a Department of Engineering Science & Physics and discontinues the Department of Applied Sciences.
CSI establishes the Emerging Leaders Program for student leadership development.
The Discovery Center officially becomes a CUNY Institute.
The College suspends new admissions to the One-Year Certificate Program for Medical Assistant; a certificate program is offered by the Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development. The College suspends new admissions to the AAS in Civil Engineering Technology. The College now offers a PhD in Physics jointly with Brooklyn College & CUNY Graduate Center. The College adds a Department of Media Culture.
The Honors College creates separate programs for Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degree students.
The Discovery Center continues to offer programs to strengthen the academic preparation of high school students. The Discover Center now offers programs to encourage college students to consider teaching careers and provides opportunities for teachers to develop new teaching strategies.
The College of Staten Island becomes a participant in the CUNY Honors College: University Scholar Program in Fall 2002.
The College adds a master's degree program in Neuroscience, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. The names of the concentrations Masters of Education programs are changed – Elementary Education is now called Childhood Education and Secondary Education is now Adolescence Education.
The Discovery Center is established as the Discovery Institute.
WSIA celebrates its 20th Anniversary of broadcasting on May 16, 2002.
The College of Staten Island launches the Staten Island Project. The initiative aims to use the expertise and resources of the college to study issues such as transportation, the environment, business, and health. A key component will be making a comprehensive selection of issues easily accessible in a single location and on the Internet.
CSI dedicates an on-campus 9/11 memorial that incorporates girders from the
World Trade Center.
College of Staten Island, CUNY
Updated September 30, 2009