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CUNYAC History

CUNYAC Operations Manual

CUNYAC Headquaters The City University of New York (CUNY), situated in one of the world's preeminent cities, is the largest urban university in the United States and its third-largest public university system. Nearly 208,000 students are enrolled for degrees on 19 campuses in all five boroughs of New York City. More than 205,000 students take adult and continuing education courses.

From a college on Manhattan's posh Park Avenue to a beach-front campus in Brooklyn, CUNY offers students a rich and diverse array of more than 1200 academic programs-traditional liberal arts, highly specialized professional and careeroriented courses-and the opportunity to study in a vibrant international capital of finance, entertainment, communications and the arts.

CUNY traces its roots to the 1847 founding of the Free Academy, which later became The City College of New York (CCNY). Then, as today, its mission was to "educate the whole people” - to uphold a commitment to academic excellence while providing equal access to and opportunity for education.

Over the years other public colleges joined CCNY: Hunter in 1870; Brooklyn, 1930; Queens, 1937; New York City College (now New York City College of Technology), 1947; Staten Island Community College (now College of Staten Island), 1955; Bronx Community College, 1957; and Queensborough Community College, 1958. In 1961, a graduate school was organized, drawing its faculty from all CUNY senior colleges, and all were incorporated into The City University of New York.

More institutions have since joined the CUNY system: Borough of Manhattan Community College and Kingsborough Community College in 1963; John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 1964; Richmond College (now the College of Staten Island), 1965; York College, 1966; Baruch College, Lehman College, Medgar Evers College, Fiorello H. LaGuardia Community College, 1968; and Hostos Community College, 1970.

CUNY now boasts 10 senior colleges, six community colleges, a four-year technical college, a doctoralgranting graduate school-the CUNY Graduate Center-a law school, an accelerated medical program and a medical school.

Just as City College welcomed waves of immigrants in the first half of this century, CUNY now enrolls students from 145 countries who speak 115 native languages. Its student body also reflects the city's ethnic diversity: 32% of students are black, 31% white, 25% Hispanic and 12% Asian. Qualified New York City high school graduates and others who meet stated admission criteria continue to find a place at CUNY.

The new CUNY Honors College offers scholarships and special benefits to outstanding high school graduates.

CUNY offers outstanding and award-winning faculty-nearly 6,000 teach full-time- and many highly ranked and respected programs, from the School of Engineering at CCNY and the School of Business at Baruch to the School of Social Work at Hunter. More than a third of The Graduate Center's doctoral programs rank among the nation's top 20, including Music, Art History, French, Linguistics, Hispanic & Luso-Brazil, History, English, Philosophy, and Chemical Engineering, according to the National Research Council. U.S. News & World Report places the clinical program at the CUNY School of Law among the country's top ten.

CUNY alumni-from Secretary of State Colin Powell and comedian Jerry Seinfeld to novelist Oscar Hijuelos and Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow - excel in every field of human endeavor. The University claims 10 other Nobel Laureates among its graduates. CUNY supplies American business with more chief executive officers than any other baccalaureate- granting institution. The University is also one of the nation's top producers of black and Hispanic engineers and physicians.

Ten years after graduation, 80% of CUNY graduates still live in New York State, making contributions in myriad fields of endeavor and creating jobs for thousands of other New Yorkers.  

Conference History

The City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC), which now consists of ten institutions in its senior college division and five institutions in its community college division, was first conceived in the early 1970's. It was during this period that the athletic directors representing the senior colleges began to meet as a group. Their meetings initially focused on matters pertaining to scheduling, but it soon became apparent that their programs had many other significant factors in common. Of particular note was the similarity in the academic goals of respective institutions, athletic philosophies, geographic proximity of their campuses and large numbers of student-athletes already involved in intercampus competitions.

This underscored the need for greater unification among CUNY athletic programs. So in 1972, the CUNY Athletic Directors Association was formed. The major thrust of the Association was to bring the existing athletic activities into an organized conference structure. In the next few years, along with men's basketball (which began in 1966), CUNY Championships in men's soccer, women's volleyball, softball and baseball were contested. In 1978, the athletic directors of the ten charter member institutions (Baruch, Brooklyn, City College, Hunter, John Jay, Lehman, Medgar Evers, Queens, College of Staten Island, and York) ratified a constitution which informally brought the CUNY Athletic Conference into being.

In the years that followed, Brooklyn and Queens College withdrew from the conference to establish membership in NCAA Division I and II, respectively. Spearheaded by the work of Dr. Roscoe Brown, the President of Bronx CC, the CUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution in 1987 which formally sanctioned the existence of the CUNYAC for the eight remaining charter members and expanded it to include a five-member community college division (Bronx, BMCC, Kingsborough, New York City Tech, and Queensborough). Michael Steuerman, the Athletic Director at Bronx, was named the first ever conference Commissioner and served in that post until 1991. During Steuerman's tenure Championships in women's and men's tennis and men's volleyball were added to the senior college slate, while complemented by men's basketball, women's volleyball, men's soccer and baseball for the two-year schools. He also oversaw the development of the various events as well as increasing the corporate support for the CUNYAC Championships.

Equally significant has been the work of CUNYAC's corporate sponsors over the years. Even before the CUNY Board of Trustees envisioned a formal recognition of the athletic conference within the CUNY system, Con Edison jumped on board to support the annual gathering of the top local talent within the Big Apple that the company serves. That support has continued and grown substantially through the years, with this year's championship marking the 27th anniversary of collaboration. For the first 20 years one person was there all along - Ellis Bullock, Jr., the former Manager of Con Edison's Community Relations.

Although Mr. Bullock officially retired from his post in 1995, his legacy of reaching out to the community on behalf of Con Edison continues under the strong guidance and leadership of Ron Delaney. A number of other sponsors have recently joined the CUNY family, Modell's Sporting Goods, Coca-Cola, University Student Senate, Hospital for Special Surgery, Sprint PCS and Burger King, while companies like Brine (soccer), Rawlings (baseball & softball), Spalding (basketball), and Tachikara (volleyball) have become official equipment suppliers for a number of conference championships.

The 1990's have brought some additional changes to the CUNYAC office. Steuerman, the CUNY pioneer, stepped down from the top post only to be replaced by another seasoned veteran of the CUNY system. With Ted Hurwitz in charge, a subsequent change of scenery came about as the conference headquarters shifted from the west side of Manhattan to the sprawling APEX complex at Lehman College. Hurwitz therefore returned to the campus where he has spent over two decades in various capacities, including a very successful stint as the women's basketball coach. At the same time, the Conference finally had the means to upgrade the part-time Sports Information Director role into a full-time Assistant Director position with Zak Ivkovic filling the post. The move enabled the CUNYAC to take advantage of numerous new opportunities to advance the cause of the Division III student-athletes within the CUNY system. With the cooperation of on-campus cable network BronxNet, coverage of various CUNY Championships became an easier reality highlighting athletic achievements of all CUNY students. The creation of the conference webpage followed with yearly championships recaps and historical data continuously being updated to show a rich history of intercollegiate athletics taking place in its purest form.

It is thus that the CUNY Athletic Conference has come to pursue its present goal - to promote the highest standards of intercollegiate athletic competition at the Division III level. The conference presently recognizes championships through tournament and league play in 11 sports for men and 11 for women, an increase by nearly 50% since its inception. CUNYAC recently added its first women's and men's swimming championships, to bring it up to 23. Each year more than 2,500 student-athletes participate on the athletic teams of the CUNY institutions.

In 1996, CUNYAC welcomed back Brooklyn College from a twelve-year hiatus. In 1999, New York City Technical College received NCAA approval to upgrade their program from a twoyear junior college to a four-year senior college program. That in effect bolstered the senior college division of the CUNYAC to ten members. At the same time, CUNYAC continued to work on encouraging implementation of intercollegiate programs at Hostos Community College, with the Bronx school coming on board in September 2002. Now with five community college members again, CUNYAC's efforts to broaden the participation of student-athletes throughout the CUNY system will continue on with discussions at LaGuardia Community College in Queens.

After years of hard work, perhaps the greatest achievement of CUNYAC took place as the 20th century came to a close. The conference was granted automatic berths to the NCAA Championships in Soccer, Women's Volleyball, Men's and Women's Basketball and Softball. Now CUNYAC's best will take their rightful place among the nation's elite in these sports, much like our track & field stars have done for years. Recently, CUNYAC has turned the conference website ( into one of the best in Division III.

The City University's success at the National level culminated with Kingsborough's men's tennis National Junior College Championship in 1998. It is the only national title achieved under the CUNY umbrella since the 1950 CCNY men's basketball team captured both the NCAA and NIT titles.

Although it took some great people to lead the conference this far, it will certainly take a monumental effort from today's student-athletes, the leaders of tomorrow, to work that much harder to keep CUNYAC on an even keel with the best in the nation. The City University of New York Athletic Conference is not just another sports league, judging from the long list of distinguished alumni - it is the core of the Big Apple.

CUNYAC Operations Manual

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