City University of New York

Most Influential School

Public university system in New York City

City University of New York Featured Rankings

About City University of New York

By James Barham, PhD

The City University of New York (CUNY) is a mammoth system of two-year community colleges, four-year liberal arts colleges, and graduate professional schools. This system traces its roots back to the Free Academy, established in Manhattan in 1847. In 1866, the Free Academy changed its name to the City College of New York, which makes today’s City College the oldest institution within the CUNY system.

In 1961, the New York state legislature approved the consolidation of City College, a new graduate school, and several other existing New York City schools into the CUNY system. With a total enrollment approaching a quarter of a million students, CUNY overall is today by far the largest public, urban university system in the US.

At present, CUNY consists of 25 separate campuses, among the best-known of which are Baruch College, Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, Medgar Evers College, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. New institutions are constantly being added to the system, including the School of Public Health and Health Policy, founded in 2008, and Guttman Community College, established in 2011.

Sometimes known as the “Harvard of the Proletariat,” CUNY New York City–residents who qualify educationally and financially a first-rate, tuition-free higher education.

Thirteen CUNY-associated persons have won the Nobel Prize, some of whom are listed below, along with many other prominent professors and alumni, including:

Fine Arts and Literature

  • Novelist, memoirist, André Aciman
  • Poet, John Ashberry
  • Poet, Billy Collins
  • Classical composer, John Corigliano
  • Novelist, Michael Cunningham
  • Lyricist, Ira Gershwin
  • Poet, Allen Ginsberg
  • Novelist, Oscar Hijuelos
  • Poet, Bell Hooks
  • Poet, Audre Lorde
  • Novelist, Bernard Malamud
  • Novelist, Walter Mosely
  • Novelist, Gloria Naylor
  • Painter, Barnett Neuman
  • violinist, Itzhak Perlman
  • Poet, Adrienne Rich
  • Novelist, Henry Roth
  • Painter, Mark Rothko
  • Novelist, Upton Sinclair
  • Poet, Mark Strand
  • Poet, C.K. Williams

Film, Photography, and Performing Arts

  • Actor, F. Murray Abraham
  • Film director, Chantal Akerman
  • Film director, Mel Brooks
  • Playwright, Paddy Chayevsky
  • Actress, Ruby Dee
  • Actor, James Franco
  • Actress, Jennifer Lopez
  • Film director, Paul Mazursky
  • Actor, Zero Mostel
  • Actor, comedian, Jerry Seinfeld
  • Photographer, Alfred Stieglitz
  • Actor, Eli Wallach

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Philosopher, Hannah Arendt
  • Economist, Kenneth Arrow
  • Sociologist, Daniel Bell
  • Sociologist, Nathan Glazer
  • Critic, essayist, Alfred Kazin
  • Logician, philosopher, Saul Kripke
  • Economist, political commentator, Paul Krugman
  • Humanistic psychologist, Abraham Maslow
  • Social psychologist, Stanley Milgram
  • Historian, social critic, Lewis Mumford
  • Philosopher, Graham Priest
  • Philosopher, Alexander Rosenberg
  • Historian, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
  • Critical theorist, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Media, Law, and Public Affairs

  • Former US Representative, feminist activist, Bella Abzug
  • Former US Senator, Barbara Boxer
  • Former US Representative, civil rights activist, Shirley Chisholm
  • Social critic, Ta-nehisi Coates
  • Law professor, Alan Dershowitz
  • Director, Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman
  • Former US Supreme Court Justice, Felix Frankfurther
  • Former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger
  • Former New York City Mayor, Ed Koch
  • Political commentator, Irving Kristol
  • Former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell
  • Editor, The New York Times, A.M. Rosenthal
  • Current US Senator, Bernie Sanders
  • Broadcast journalist, Daniel Schorr
  • TV personality, Ruth Westheimer

STEM Disciplines

  • Biophysicist, William Bialek
  • Mathematician, Fields Medalist, Jesse Douglas
  • Physicist, Nobel laureate, Robert Hofstadter
  • Electrical engineer, Turing Award—winner, Robert E. Kahn
  • Physicist, science popularizer, Michio Kaku
  • Biochemist, Nobel laureate, Arthur Kornberg
  • Physicist, Nobel laureate, Leon Lederman
  • Neuroscientist, Nobel laureate, John O’Keefe
  • Physicist, Nobel laureate, Arno Penzias
  • inventor of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk
  • Physicist, Leonard Susskind

According to Wikipedia, The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City. It is the largest urban university system in the United States, comprising 25 campuses: eleven senior colleges, seven community colleges, one undergraduate honors college, and seven postgraduate institutions. While its constituent colleges date back as far as 1847, CUNY was established in 1961. The university enrolls more than 275,000 students, and counts thirteen Nobel Prize winners and twenty-four MacArthur Fellows among its alumni.

What Is City University of New York Known For?

City University of New York is known for it's academic work in the following disciplines:

City University of New York's Top Areas of Influence With Degrees Offered

Who Are City University of New York's Most Influential Alumni?

City University of New York's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Anthropology. Here are some of City University of New York's most famous alumni:

Juliette Kennedy
A Mathematician.
Howard Squadron
An American lawyer.
Bogdan Baltazar
A Romanian banker.
Peter H. Wyden
An American journalist.
K. T. Rama Rao
An Indian politician.
Dylcia Noemi Pagan
A Puerto Rican activist.
Katerina Harvati
A Greek paleoanthropologist.
Alessandra Carbone
An Italian mathematician and computer scientist.
Saraswathi Vishveshwara
An Indian scientist.
Elly Kleinman
An American businessman.
Heidi Albertsen
Heidi Albertsen
A Danish model.
Ofelia García
An Educator, academic.