Hunter College is the largest college in the City University of New York (CUNY) system with around 21,000 students. Students come from 60 different countries. More than half are the first in their family to attend college. In part because the school was originally a teacher training institute, the college operated schools for gifted children where their students could practice teaching. The elementary and high schools are still in operation.
The main campus is extremely close to Central Park, the Frick, the Asia Society Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The main campus houses the School of Education, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the CUNY doctoral studies program. The buildings are connected by skywalks.
There are two satellite campuses: the Brookdale Campus on East 25th Street and 1st Avenue is home to the Brookdale Center on Aging, the School of Health Sciences, the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, and a dormitory for 600 students. The second satellite campus is the School of Social Work is located on East 79th Street.
Hunter was founded in 1870, making it one of the oldest public institutions of higher learning in the country. The school was created by the New York State Legislature as a women’s college for teacher training. Unlike nearly all schools at the time, it was open to all qualified applicants regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. This proud tradition of impartial admissions is still part of the Hunter ethos today.
Located in the middle of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the school grew beyond a teaching college to confer bachelor’s degrees in 1888. Early in the 20th century branches were established in Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, although the Brooklyn campus quickly developed into the independent institution of Brooklyn College. In the 1930s a campus in the Bronx was added. In the 1950s men were admitted to the Bronx campus, which eventually spun off to become Lehman College. In 1964 the original college became coed, ending its reign as the pre-eminent women’s college in New York. The majority of students (about 75%) are still female.
In 1970, the City University of New York instituted an open admissions policy to guarantee college education to any New York City high school graduate who wanted it. To accommodate the resulting influx of students, Hunter opened new buildings in Manhattan and the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, or the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. In 2006 Hunter opened the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute to run programs for women.
There are over 70 bachelor’s programs, 10 joint BA/MA programs, and 75 graduate programs. Academic divisions include the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the Roosevelt Public Policy Institute School of Nursing, the School of Social Work, the School of Health Sciences, and the School of Public Health. Other learning facilities on the Hunter campus include a number of biomedical and other science labs, the Dolciana Mathematics Learning Center, the Physical Sciences Learning Center, and the Leona and Marcy Chanin Language Center. Hunter College hosts several research centers, including the Brookdale Center on Aging, the Center for Study of Gene Structure and Function, and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (CENTRO).
There are a number of honors programs, including the Honors College, the Thomas Hunter Honors Program, the Honors Research Training Program, Pi Beta Kappa, the Macaulay Honors College, and University Scholars.
Most Popular Fields of Study
All prospective students are encouraged to meet with a pre-admissions counselor. Candidates are judged based on the overall strength of their academic performance, grades in individual subjects, SAT or ACT scores, and grade point average (GPA). It is recommended that high school students take four years of English, four years of social studies, three years of mathematics, two years of foreign language, two years of laboratory science, and one year of performing or visual arts in preparation for an academic career.
The financial aid office includes aid, including grants, loans, and dozens of unique scholarships and other opportunities. Students who are designated as University Scholars receive early registration, personalized advising, and many other advantages, including the choice of either free housing or a yearly stipend.
Student Financial Aid Details
Clubs and Organizations
There are roughly 150 student clubs and organizations. The college has an especially close relationship with the international Model United Nations Conference. The model UN team have been recognized as one of the best in the world, and take part in debates at Oxford, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and other prestigious institutions. Some students leverage their model United Nations experience into careers at the U.N. after graduation. There are no residential fraternities or sororities, although there are chapters of each which meet for community work and social purposes.
Publications and Stations
Publications include literature and art magazine The Olivetree Review, humorous publication Spoof, psychology newsletter Psych News, Spanish language publications SABOR and Revista De La Academia, Jewish publication Hakol, political science magazine Political Paradigm, African American publication The Shield, The Islamic Ties, the yearbook the Wistarion, and the main campus newspaper The Envoy, which publishes biweekly. The campus radio station, WHCS, broadcasts online.
Students not only have access to the rich cultural opportunities around them; the college also creates their own. The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, one of several theater spaces on campus, is home to more than 200 theatrical productions a year, while the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery hosts a continually changing roster of exhibits for the students and the public.
Life after Hunter
According to the CUNY alumni survey, a year after graduation, 86% of Hunter alumni were employed, and mostly in positions related to their major. Of those not working in their major field, most were in graduate school, instead—roughly 20% of alumni enroll in a graduate program within a year of leaving, and another 15% do so within the first three years after graduation. Major employers of alumni include the National Institute for People with Disabilities, Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, the New York City Board of Education, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Price Waterhouse Cooper, the United States Census Bureau, and the New York City Department of Health.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletic department competes in division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 20 sports. The college belongs to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) and competes in the City University of New York Athletic Conference.
One of the most interesting features of the campus is the large, modern, and entirely underground Sportsplex. The Sportsplex contains several gyms, a weight room, a training room, racquetball courts, and many other sports facilities. The Sportsplex is the deepest building in New York City.
There are too many renowned alumni to name, but a selection of some of the stars includes:
- Photographer Robert Altman
- Painter Jules de Balincourt
- Opera singer Martina Arroyo
- Actress Ellen Barkin a
- Actor Edward Burns
- Musician Bobby Darin
- Actor Vin Diesel
- Actress Rhea Perlman
- The Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi
- Congresswoman Bella Abzug
- United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala
- Poet Audre Lorde
- Writer Grace Paley
- Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow
There are 1,700 full- and part-time faculty members on campus. English professor Michael Thomas won the Dublin Literary Award for his novel Man Gone Down. History professor Nancy Siraisi was named the 2010 Charles Homer Haskins Prize Lecturer for her research on the history of science and medicine from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. Other well-known faculty at Hunter include poet Meena Alexander, Booker Prize-winning novelist Peter Carey, artist Helen Frankenthaler, novelist Nathan Englander, poet Jan Heller Levi, artist Paul Ramirez Jonas, sculptor Tony Smith, and novelist Colum McCann.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.