Columbia University and the City of New York: A Timeline
King's College and NYC, 1524–1776  |   Early CC and NYC, 1784–1857  |   Early CU and NYC, 1858–1901  |   CU and NYC in the Butler Era, 1902–1945  |   CU and NYC in the "American Century," 1946–1964  |   A Time of Crisis, 1965–1969  |   Recent History, 1970–2004

King's College and New York City, 1524–1776

1524
Spring—The Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano sails into New York Harbor in the employ of France in La Dauphine; first European to report on the site; judges region "not without some properties of value."

1609
Henry Hudson explores New York Bay and surrounding waterways on the Half Moon; lays claim to region on behalf of Dutch West Indies Company.

1624
The Dutch establish trading post of New Amsterdam on southern tip of Manhattan Island.

1653
New Amsterdam incorporated by a charter of the Dutch West India Company.

1664
English assert control over New Netherland in name of the Duke of York (later James II); settlement renamed Province of New York.

1665
Now under English rule, what had been New Amsterdam receives a new charter as the City of New York.

1693
New York's provincial government under Governor Benjamin Fletcher passes Ministry Act of 1693; effectively establishes six Anglican churches in New York City and Westchester, and on Long Island.

1697
Trinity Church founded by Anglicans of New York City; church provided a charter from King William and granted the use of 32 acres of crown-owned land in lower Manhattan (Queen's Farm) for seven years.

1705
Trinity Church ceded Queen's Farm outright by New York governor Lord Cornbury for its uses, including the possibility of establishing a college on part of the site.

1745
Leading New York attorney James Alexander pledges a hundred pounds to establish a college in New York Province, following announcement of plans to open a College of New Jersey (later Princeton).

1746
New York Provincial Assembly authorizes 2,250-pound lottery "to advance learning."

1747
Debate about locale of new college; Newburgh, Rye, and Hempstead all proposed as rural alternatives to New York City locale.

1752
March—Trinity Church offers five acres of its Queens Farm property in New York City for the new college; offer effectively ends discussion of other sites.

1753
March and April—William Livingston and fellow Presbyterians William Smith Jr. and John Morin Scott respond to what they see as a plot to erect an "Episcopal college" in New York City with a six-part series of attacks in the Independent Reflector, a weekly journal under their joint editorship. They call for a nonsectarian college.

1754
May 14—Trinity Church conditions its earlier offer of land by requiring that the college president must be an Anglican and that official religious services use the Anglican liturgy.

Classes began for eight students in rectory of school attached to Trinity Church on Rector Street; President Samuel Johnson provides all the initial instruction.

October 31 Charter Day—Governor's Council accepts proposed charter from Lieutenant Governor James de Lancey for King's College in the Province of New York; assembly approval bypassed in knowledge that it likely not forthcoming; William Livingston lodges lengthy objection to proceedings; assembly votes to withhold lottery funds from the College.

November 2—Lieutenant Governor James de Lancey signs charter on behalf of King George II, lodging responsibility for the College in 43-member board of governors; 17 ex-officio and 24 private gentlemen; 29 are Anglicans. One of the ex officio governors the mayor of New York City.

1756
May 7—College governors decide to proceed with constructing a building for the College on the site provided by Trinity Church at projected cost of 11,000 pounds.

August 23—Cornerstone of King's College building laid on the northeast corner of Murray and Church Streets.

December 16—New York Assembly reaches compromise in splitting 3,282 pounds in impounded lottery funds between King's College and New York City for a new municipal pest house.

1760
June—The College's third commencement held, the first in just-completed College Hall.

1767
Dr. Samuel Bard and three other New York City physicians open medical college within King's College; the second medical school to open in the colonies and the first to begin instruction.

College governors request of New York City rights to water lots along edge of Hudson River bordering on College; plan to lease them out for rental income.

1770
College begins leasing water lots adjacent to the College.

1776
April—College closed on orders of Revolutionary Committee of Safety; building confiscated for use as hospital.

September—Revolutionary forces abandon New York City, leaving it in hands of the British Army; College barely escapes fire that consumes Trinity Church; building used throughout the war as a military hospital. Most of King's College governors and faculty, and more than half of all King's College's 216 alumni, actively side with the crown in opposition to the Revolution.

1783
November 23—British evacuate New York City following signing of Peace of Paris; prominent among American negotiators was John Jay (King's College 1764).

Early Columbia College and New York City, 1784–1857

1784
March 24—Petition of governors of King's College submitted by four ex–King's College governors and nine state officials, whose positions would have made them governors of King's College, to reopen the College; New York City mayor James Duane as prime mover.

May 1—New York Legislature passes "An act for granting certain privileges to the College heretofore called King's College, for altering the name and charter thereof, and erecting a University in this state"; College to be called Columbia College in the State of New York and to be governed by 32 regents, appointed by governor and drawn statewide; charter made no mention of earlier Trinity Church stipulations about the president being Anglican/Episcopalian and Anglican/Episcopalian prayers.

November 26—Regents' membership expanded to include twenty more New York City residents; Alexander Hamilton among the new regents; Legislature also provides College with 2,552 pounds for its use.

1787
January—Legislative committee chaired by James Duane recommends that Columbia College be governed by its own corporation, separate from state-wide regents; plan pushed by Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.

April 13—New York legislature approves new charter for Columbia College in the City of New York, by which the College reverts to its earlier status as a privately governed college primarily serving New York City; state-appointed regents replaced by self-perpetuating 24 trustees with no ex officio public members; charter provides basic governance framework that has since prevailed.

1790
July—The national capital moved from New York City to Philadelphia, where it is to remain until 1800, when a permanent site on the Potomac is ready for occupancy.

1793
State capital removed from New York City to Albany.

1801
Dr. David Hosack, Columbia professor of botany and Materia Medica purchase 20 acres of land 3.5 miles north of the settled part of Manhattan, for 4,800 dollars; intend to develop it as a botanical garden called the Elgin Botanical Garden.

1805
College's 20-year leases on property adjoining the College up for renewal at five times their earlier rents; a welcome source of needed income.

1807
College of Physicians and Surgeons opens in New York City, in direct competition with Columbia's medical school.

1810
July 30—Trustees publish a fundraising appeal "To the Citizens of New York" at instigation of Rufus King.

1811
August 7—Fifty-seventh commencement, known as the Riotous Commencement, services in Trinity Church disrupted by riot that follows the refusal of President Harris, Provost Mason and the faculty to confer a degree on senior John B. Stevenson because he reinserts objectionable lines into his commencement speech; several spectators, including aspiring politician Gulian Verplank (Columbia College 1801) urge the students on in their defiance of the faculty's authority. Four participants brought to trial before mayor of New York City De Witt Clinton (Columbia College 1786), found guilty, and fined.

1813
Columbia's medical school closed; remnant of the medical faculty merges with College of Physicians and Surgeons; Columbia to be without a medical affiliation until 1861, without its own medical school until 1891.

1814
April 13—New York State passes An Act for the Promotion of Literature and other Purposes by which Columbia acquires the 20-acre botanical garden it acquired in 1810 from the botanist David Hosack; its value at the time about $10,000; comes to Columbia in lieu of the $200,000 received by Union College, $40,000 by Hamilton College, and $30,000 by the College of Physicians and Surgeons; use of the land specifically limited to future college site.

1817
January—New York governor Daniel Tompkins (Columbia College 1795) proposes scheme where state would assist Columbia moving to Staten Island and merging with newly chartered Washington College.

March 27—Trustees reject relocation proposal; borrow 20,000 dollars to undertake building-expansion program to construct east and west wings to main building.

1819
April 5—Governor DeWitt Clinton (Columbia College 1786) and state legislature permit College to lease property (Hosack's Garden) acquired in 1814 and drop requirement that it be a future college site; also make grant of 10,000 dollars to College to compensate for land's poor returns to College. Trustees unhappy with this deal and over next three decades come close several times to selling the property.

1829
January—Trustees authorize borrowing of 22,000 dollars to build a grammar school across Murray Street from the College; 18-year old College junior John Ogilvie appointed headmaster. Soon thereafter, Charles Anthon put in charge.

1830
January 16—Trustees issue new statutes in anticipation of the establishment of the University of the City of New York (later called New York University), which aims at attracting sons of the city's commercial middle class; Columbia curriculum revised to include Literary and Scientific (i.e., no classics) Course to appeal to same constituency.

January 30—Trustees offering City of New York places on board in exchange for gift of the old alms house; also invite scholarship support and endowment of professorships by city's various religious and ethnic groups.

1831
April—University of the City of New York receives state charter. Backers of new college include several disaffected Columbians.

1832
October—New University (New York University) opens for instruction in Clinton Hall, opposite City Hall Park from Columbia College; immediately draws some Columbia students as transfers.

1841
What becomes Fordham University opens as St. John's College, making it the third college in greater New York City and the first Catholic college in the state.

1847
Establishment of the tax-supported Free Academy of New York (after 1866, the City College of New York) approved by New York City voters; to open in 1849 as city-funded and tuition-free; New York City now has four competing colleges for a annual college-going population of under five hundred young men.

1852
Trustees begin leasing the six-city-block Upper Estate in 202 separate parcels for 21 years; immediately becomes a major source of College income.

1856
October—Trustees buy the Deaf and Dumb Asylum property on the east side of Madison Avenue between Forty-ninth and Fiftieth streets; a bargain at 63,000 dollars; seen as temporary site for the College.

1857
January—Trustees sell College site on Park Place for 600,000 dollars; retain rental properties around the original campus (hereinafter The Lower Estate).

May—Columbia College moved from original site on Park Place to grounds of the New York Institution of Deaf and Dumb at Madison Avenue and Forty-ninth Street; College Hall promptly demolished; site later occupied by Internal Revenue Service Building; currently, an apartment building (50 Murray Street).

Early Columbia University and New York City, 1858–1901

1858
May 17—Columbia trustees approve creation of a law school.

November—Columbia Law School opens in rented quarters at 37 Lafayette Place under the leadership of Warden [Dean] Theodore W. Dwight (to1891); the two-year program becomes an immediate popular and financial success.

1860
June 4—College of Physicians and Surgeons becomes loosely affiliated with Columbia as The Medical School of Columbia College; P&S retains its own trustees, finances, and control over curriculum; school located at Twenty-third Street and Fourth Avenue.

1863
May—Trustees approve plan to establish a School of Mines and Metallurgy; to be a three-year program open to professionally motivated students with or without prior undergraduate training.

1864
May 18—Trustees elect Frederick A. P. Barnard (Yale 1828) Columbia's tenth president; previously a professor of science at the University of Alabama and president of the University of Mississippi.

November 15—Instruction begins at School of Mines in factory building on northeast corner of Forty-ninth Street campus; Charles F. Chandler appointed professor and dean of the school.

1866
College's endowment of 2.25 million dollars makes Columbia the richest college in the country (Harvard a distant second with one-million-dollar endowment); nearly all due to rising value of New York City commercial real estate.

1872
October 22—Trustees buy Wheelock property in Fort Washington (160th Street) as possible future site of College.

1874
New building for School of Mines on Fiftieth Street (northeastern) side of Madison Avenue / Forty-ninth Street campus opens (extensions added in 1880 and 1884; first of three new buildings designed by architect Charles Coolidge Haight (1861), son of trustee Benjamin I. Haight, minister at Trinity Church.

1878
January—Trustees decide against moving College to the Wheelock property in Fort Washington.

1880
January—Hamilton Hall opened on Madison Avenue side (western side) of the Forty-ninth Street campus.

1881
June 7—Trustee Samuel Ruggles, with backing from President Barnard and at the urging of Professor John W. Burgess, persuades a reluctant board to create a separate Faculty of Political Science as distinct from that of the College; marks the institutionalization of graduate instruction in the arts and sciences at Columbia.

A program in architecture introduced in the School of Mines, with William Robert Ware hired away from MIT to become its driving force; Columbia is the second architecture school in America.

November 7—Seth Low (Columbia College 1870), at age 31, elected trustee; same week as he was elected reform mayor of Brooklyn.

Library building construction underway (opened in 1883); located mid-block on north side of Forty-ninth Street between Madison and Fourth Avenue/ Park Avenue; third building of one-million-dollar building campaign paid for from University surplus. Law School pressured to move its downtown operations to this on-campus building.

1883
Law School moves uptown to Forty-ninth Street campus from its second residence on Lafayette Square (8 Great Jones Street).

E. L. Godkin, editor of the Nation, in response to a complaint from Columbia trustee chairman Hamilton Fish that New Yorkers were insufficiently supportive of Columbia College, chastised Columbia for its "lack of contact with the life of the city."

1888
Teachers College founded in New York City to provide instruction in educational administration; affiliates with Columbia in 1893.

May 7—Board accepts resignation of President Barnard, who served as president for 25 years, the longest tenure to that time. Trustees approves report favoring the creation of a women's "annex."

1889
April 1—Columbia trustees approve creation of Barnard College as a separate women's college; to use faculty "rented" from Columbia.

October—Barnard College opens for classes in a rented brownstone at 343 Madison Avenue.

1890
February 3—Seth Low inaugurated as Columbia's 11th president (to 1901).

1891
May—Trustees form a sites committee to look into alternative sites for the University; includes President Low, George Rives, Cornelius Vanderbilt, William C. Schermerhorn, and Reverend Morgan Dix.

December—Trustees alerted by board clerk John B. Pine that New York Hospital might sell property on Upper West Side that had been the grounds of the since-relocated Bloomingdale Asylum at 120th and the Boulevard [Broadway].

College of Physicians and Surgeons fully merged into Columbia University; Columbia trustees assume all governance powers and financial responsibilities; recently relocated to Fifty-ninth Street and Tenth Avenue.

1892
Bloomingdale site, from 120th to 116th streets, acquired by trustees, with President Low putting up security for half the 2-million-dollar cost.

1893
November—Trustees select the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White to develop Morningside site; firm's work prominently displayed at Chicago's 1893 World Fair.

1895
May 6—President Low announces to fellow trustees his gift of one million dollars to construct library in honor of his father, Abiel Abbot Low; trustee William C. Schermerhorn follows Low with pledge of 300,000 dollars to construct a building for the natural sciences.

1896
Spring—450,000 dollars from the Frederick Christian Havemeyer family makes possible the getting underway of Havemeyer Hall (for chemistry), the westward pendant of Schermerhorn; bequest from estate of Daniel Burton Fayerweather permits land breaking for Fayerweather Hall (for physics) to the south of Schermerhorn. The engineering building (now Mathematics Hall ) undertaken without promised funding.

May 2—President Low leads dedication of the Morningside campus; speaks of University's responsibilities to the City of New York; trustees adopt institutional designation of Columbia University in the City of New York; undergraduate school hereinafter Columbia College.

1897
October 4—New campus opened on Upper West Side; only Low Library finished but five buildings well along to completion.

November 2—Seth Low narrowly beaten as independent-reform candidate for mayor of the about-to-be-consolidated City of New York; opposed by both Tammany Hall and the Republican machine.

1898
January 1—Surrounding four boroughs join Manhattan as the consolidated City of New York; President Low and Dean Nicholas Murray Butler deeply involved in the charter revisions effecting the consolidation of Greater New York.

1901
October—Seth Low resigns as president upon accepting nomination as Republican-Reform candidate for mayor of New York City.

November 6—Seth Low elected mayor of New York City at head of a Republican-Reform ticket.

Columbia and the City of New York in the Butler Era, 1902–1945

1902
January 6—Trustees unanimously elect 39-year-old Nicholas Murray Butler as Columbia's twelfth president. Butler active in the move to consolidate the New York City school system.

February—Nicholas Murray Butler elected 12th president of Columbia University; at 40, the third-youngest incumbent.

April 12—Inauguration of Nicholas Murray Butler attended by his then friend and political confidante President Theodore Roosevelt.

1903
October 1—Trustees purchased land between Broadway and Amsterdam and 116th and 114th streets (South Field) for 2 million dollars. Would become site of College buildings and School of Journalism; still later, Butler Library.

Ground broken for two undergraduate dormitories, Hartley and Livingston Halls, on east side of newly acquired South Field.

Mining magnate Adolph Lewisohn offers 250,000 dollars for a School of Mines Building (now Lewisohn) on condition that University use his architect, Arnold W. Brummer.

College of Pharmacy affiliated with Columbia; retain own trustees as per Teachers College and Barnard arrangements.

1905
September 27—The cornerstone of Hamilton Hall, future home of Columbia College, was laid. Costs covered by 500,000-dollar anonymous gift (financier John Stewart Kennedy).

December—Trustees discontinue student-run intercollegiate football following several financial and eligibility scandals. Discontinuance until 1915.

1910
University buys land east of Amsterdam Avenue between 116th and 117th streets (East Campus), with much of the funding provided by William Vanderbilt; land considered likely future location for the Medical School (until it moved from Fifty-ninth Street to 168th Street in 1925).

December 28—University signs agreement with Presbyterian Hospital to plan new teaching hospital to be staffed by P&S physicians; plan in accord with recommendations of the Flexner Report (1908) and underwritten with 1.3 million dollars from Edward L. Harkness.

1912
Trustees approve creation of School of Journalism and appoint school's first two professors, using supplemented funds (2 million dollars) provided by Joseph Pulitzer estate; school initially open to applicants without college experience, but not to women.

Corporate name changed by order of the New York Supreme Court to The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.

1915
June 8—Plan announced to build a medical campus at 168th Street; to be site of new Presbyterian Hospital and P&S.

1916
School of Business established; to provide two years of collegiate-level instruction.

1921
April 3—Columbia registrar reports that only 40 percent of students from New York City; College making concerted effort to limit percentage of graduates of New York City public schools, of whom a majority are Jews.

May 21—University discusses plans for an athletic stadium to be built at 218th Street.

1922
June 4—George F. Baker gives 700,000 dollars to buy land above Dyckman Avenue on northern tip of Manhattan for athletic fields and football stadium. Columbia now playing a national schedule in football.

1924
January 16—Columbia College dean Hawkes acknowledges policy of limiting College enrollments based on social characteristics has been in effect for some time.

April 3—The presence of a Negro student, F. W. Wells, in Furnald Hall, prompts student protest; Ku Klux Klan involvement suspected.

1925
January 31—Ground broken uptown for Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center at 168th Street and Fort Washington Avenue. Principal funding from Edward S. Harkness.

Baker Field Stadium completed on upper tip of Manhattan on land given by George F. Baker in 1922.

1928
Committee advising President Nicholas Murray Butler on fundraising proposes a tax on all wills drawn in New York City, the proceeds to go to Columbia University.

1929
September—Columbia trustees sign 30-year lease of 17-acre Upper Estate [Forty-seventh to Fifty-first streets] to Rockefeller family for construction of Rockefeller Center; annual rent to Columbia to be 3 million dollars, about 40 percent of Columbia's operating income.

1931
Construction underway for new library building on South Campus, with back side on 114th Street. Partially funded by a 3-million-dollar gift from Edward S. Harkness. Was to be the last large building project undertaken by Columbia until after the Second World War. Library renamed Butler Library in 1945.

1933
July—Lease of land beneath Rockefeller Center renegotiated and extended to 1962.

1940
Secret research supported by U.S. military underway at Columbia; beginnings of Manhattan Project, which led to the successful construction of a nuclear bomb.

1942
June 11—President Butler gets honorary degree from Fordham University.

1944
February 8—Publisher of the New York Times, Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Columbia College 1913), elected a life trustee; the second Jew since the eighteenth century to be named to the Columbia board and first since Benjamin Cardozo's resignation in 1932.

1945
February—President Butler urges Fiorello La Guardia's reelection as mayor of New York City.

April 23—President Butler announces plans to resign the presidency of Columbia University in October; holds office for 44 years.

Columbia and the City of New York in the "American Century," 1946–1964

1947
May 20—Morningside Heights, Inc., a community organization organized at the urging of David Rockefeller and various nonprofit institutions inhabiting Morningside Heights. Columbia treasurer the organization's treasurer.

June 21—Eisenhower accepts the offer to become Columbia's president after receiving assurances from trustees Watson and Parkinson that he would have no major responsibilities for fundraising and "a minimum of concern with details." His tenure to begin upon his release from the army.

October—Lawrence M. Orton, a member of Mayor William O'Dwyer's City Planning Commission, appointed executive director of Morningside Heights, Inc.

1948
May—Morningside Heights, Inc., increases board membership to 24; includes representatives of most neighborhood institutions. David Rockefeller, chairman. Barnard's President Millicent McIntosh its first vice president.

1949
October—Morningside Heights, Inc., forms Remedco, a corporation to act jointly for the organization in real-estate matters; purchases its first mortgage in 1950.

1950
Fall—proposal for Columbia to construct bomb shelters made by engineering professor Joseph Zanetti, chair of Columbia University Civil Defense Council.

December—Eisenhower named commander of NATO; takes leave from Columbia; Provost Kirk unofficial acting president.

1951
February—Morningside Heights, Inc., working with Robert Moses, chairman of the Mayor's Committee on Slum Clearance, for redevelopment of Morningside and Manhattanville.

October—First reports of neighborhood opposition to Morningside-Manhattanville redevelopment plans.

November 13—Morningside Heights, Inc. –sponsored Morningside Gardens and city-financed General Grant Houses to be built north of Teachers College.

1952
April—Strike of John Jay dining-hall employees led by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) leader Mike Quill; Acting President Kirk refuses to recognize union effort to organize.

November—Lease on Rockefeller Center land renewed for 21 years with only modest periodic escalation provisions.

November 15—Following substantial victory in the presidential election, Eisenhower submits his resignation as president of Columbia, effective January 19, 1953.

1953
January 5—Grayson Kirk named 14th president of Columbia University.

November—Morningside Heights, Inc., hires a director of crime prevention program, Lewis Yablonsky; to work with the twenty-fourth precinct, New York Police Department.

116th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam, closed to vehicular traffic in anticipation of the bicentennial.

1955
June—A summer of threatening actions by teenage gangs on Morningside Heights.

1957
May—Lawrence Orton resigns as executive director of Morningside Heights, Inc.

September—Rockefeller Brothers Funds underwrites comprehensive study of the Morningside-Manhattanville area (106th to 135th streets).

The Morningside Heights, Inc.–sponsored Morningside Gardens and New York City–sponsored General Grant Houses, between 122nd and 125th streets, and between Broadway and Amsterdam, open for occupancy.

Stanley Salmen hired, at Jacques Barzun's initiative, to oversee University planning and community relations.

December—President Kirk replaces David Rockefeller as chair of Morningside Heights, Inc.; marks beginning of Rockefeller's disengagement.

1958
University and New York City officials, including Robert Moses (PhD 1919), begin discussions on a Columbia University gym in Morningside Park.

October—Morningside Heights, Inc., releases its commissioned Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill present redevelopment plan for Morningside.

Jacques Barzun, heretofore dean of graduate faculties, appointed dean of faculties and provost.

1959
December—Columbia and New York City agree on gym construction in Morningside Park; still requires state approval.

1960
New York legislature approves plan for Columbia to build gym in Morningside Park; plan calls for sharing some of the facility with neighborhood groups.

1961
February—Upper West Side councilman Franz Leichter leads opposition to Columbia's eviction efforts.

April—Some 600 people, including faculty and students, protest the mandating by New York State of air raid drills on campus; first act of civil disobedience on the Columbia campus since the Second World War.

August— New York City and Columbia University agree on construction of gym in Morningside Park following uneventful public hearings; expected cost of 10 million dollars to be raised in a fund drive, chaired by trustee Harold McGuire.

Fall—Morningside Renewal Council formed; generally critical of Columbia University expansion in neighborhood.

1962
Plans quietly underway to move both the School of Social Work and the School of Pharmacy to Morningside Heights; University acquisition of neighborhood properties accelerating.

1963
Spring—New York City mayor Wagner indicates the city will no longer cooperate with Columbia and Morningside Heights, Inc., in condemning neighborhood buildings; Columbia looks to Albany for condemnation assistance.

December—Atomic Energy Commission approves on-campus TRIGA reactor for Engineering School.

1964
June 23—Columbia buys apartment building at 618 West 114th Street, intending site for School of Social Work; Morningside Heights, Inc., buys Bryn Mawr, 420 West 121st Street; cited as a "narcotics den" by the press.

July—Harlem experiences rioting and storefront destruction; one of many urban disruptions that summer.

Fall—Effort by Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to unionize cafeteria workers; University agrees with other New York City universities to oppose unionization of dining halls to protect student job opportunities.

Columbia and the City of New York in a Time of Crisis, 1965–1969

1965
May—Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps awards ceremony is disrupted by antiwar protesters. New York City police called onto Morningside campus for the first time.

September—Some Harlem residents and Morningside community activists publicly declare their opposition to the construction of Morningside gym for the first time.

November—John Lindsay is elected mayor of New York; his campaign criticizes park incursions by private organizations.

December 13—President Kirk meets with Manhattan Borough president Constance Baker Motley; city official seeking to limit Columbia expansion on Morningside Heights.

1966
January—New New York City Parks commissioner Thomas P. F. Hoving declares his opposition to Columbia gym in Morningside Park.

January 11—President Kirk and Vice President Lawrence Chamberlain meet again with borough president Constance Baker Motley; hostile meeting.

January 15—Trustee Harold McGuire met with parks commissioner Thomas P. F. Hoving over gym; Hoving remains opposed to its being built in Morningside Park.

February—Columbia receives 10-million-dollar grant from Ford Foundation to study urban problems.

February—Administration confirms plan for gym in Morningside Park for which alumni pledges for projected 13-million-dollar facility had reached 5 million dollars.

March—Columbia University Student Council opposes construction of gym. Dormitory Council and Columbia Spectator endorse it.

April—Associate professor of sociology Immanuel Wallerstein forms Faculty Civil Rights Group to focus on local Harlem community.

May—Harlem state legislators Percy Sutton and Basil Patterson vote against Columbia gym project; other Columbia allies in Albany maintain state support for project.

1967
October 25—Four hundred Columbia students among protesters of Secretary of State Dean Rusk's appearance at the Hilton Hotel; Students for a Democratic Society members Ted Gold (Columbia College 1968) and Mark Rudd (Columbia Collage 1969) among those arrested.

December—Black activist H. Rap Brown denounces gym construction in Morningside and urges Harlemites to "burn it down."

December 18—Columbia Spectator endorses proceeding with the gym in Morningside Park.

December 21—Columbia Citizenship Council (CCC) calls for reconsideration of the gym in Morningside Park.

1968
February 18—Groundbreaking for Morningside Park Gym.

February 20—Demonstrations by non-SDS student groups on gym site against construction.

March 4—Columbia students and community people disrupt Congressman John Fitz Ryan conference to protest gym construction in Morningside Park.

March 6—Columbia Spectator again endorses going ahead with the gym.

April 4—Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis; extensive urban rioting in its wake; New York City remains comparatively calm, thanks to efforts of Harlem political and religious leaders and Mayor Lindsay.

April 23—Protesters leave Low steps and proceed to gym site in Morningside Park; one protester arrested by police in scuffle; other protesters, at Rudd's urging, return to Sun Dial on campus.

April 24—Three representatives of the mayor's office (Barry Gottherer, Sid Davidoff, Jay Kriegel) on campus, trying to advise restraint on all sides and to avoid the involvement of the neighborhood in the campus situation.

April 26, 2:00 A.M.—President Kirk calls off police action at the urging of Provost Truman, who said he did so at faculty urging and in interest of allowing faculty mediation a chance to resolve the crisis.

Noon—Black high-school students on campus; seek admission into Hamilton.

April 29, Afternoon—Some members of AHF Group seek outside arbitration from Mayor John Lindsay or Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

April 30, 2:00 A.M.—Police, coming into building through tunnels, peacefully remove black students from Hamilton Hall.

2:15 A.M.—Police removal of students from Low Library nearly without incident, also coming in through tunnels.

2:30 A.M.—Avery Hall cleared of students by police with modest resistance and minor injuries.

2:45 A.M.—Fayerweather Hall cleared of students by police, despite some scattered resistance.

3:00 A.M.—Mathematics Hall cleared of students, with most resistance and some minor injuries.

3:15 A.M.—Police on Low Plaza charge spectators gathered in South Field; resultant stampede produces the greatest violence of the operation. In all, 712 occupiers arrested; 148 reported injuries.

May 17—Mark Rudd–led community activists seize Columbia University apartment building on 114th Street; police move in and make arrests.

May 21, 10:00 P.M.—Two hundred students reoccupy Hamilton to protest disciplining of four SDS students.

May 22—Hamilton Hall emptied by police, campus cleared; with some roughing up of spectators; fires in two buildings reported; 138 students arrested, including Rudd.

August 23—President Kirk announces his retirement; dean of School of International Affairs Andrew W. Cordier named acting president.

September 5—Acting President Cordier asks police to drop trespass charges against four hundred arrested students; charges stand against 154 others, including Rudd.

1969
March 2—Trustees agree to abandon project to build gym in Morningside Park.

April 23—SDS seize Hamilton and Mathematics in support of black-student demands; Cordier directs their prompt removal by the New York City police.

August 21—Andrew Cordier named 15th president of Columbia University; to serve for one year until successor on campus.

Columbia University and the City of New York, Recent History, 1970–2004

1970
February 3—University of California, San Diego, chancellor (and ex–Columbia University faculty member) William McGill elected 16th president of Columbia University; to begin in September.

March 26—New York City Civilian Review Board finds New York Police Department used "excessive force" in the April 30, 1968, evacuation of Columbia buildings.

1972
January 18—Preliminary negotiations indicate annual rent for Rockefeller Center land may increase from 3.9 million dollars to 12 million to 15 million dollars under new lease.

April 26—New York Police Department called to campus to deal with antiwar protesters blocking access to buildings; disruptions occur until May 2.

1973
June 5—Columbia's 119th Commencement; first in five years not disrupted by student protests.

October 26—University completes renegotiations with Rockefeller Center for 15-year lease renewal; annual rent to rise from 9 million dollars to 13 million during term; additional 4 million dollars to endowment November 9; University projects a balanced budget for 1974–75 for first time in eight years; accumulated debt since 1967: 71 million dollars.

1974
Columbia University Club, at Forty-third Street, dissolved; building sold.

1975
May 12 —Two hundred and second commencement; security tight following cuts in Community Educational Exchange program that benefited the neighborhood; 6,700 graduates.

1980
January 7—Trustees name Michael I. Sovern 17th president of Columbia University; to take office in July.

1983
February—Columbia purchases Audubon Ballroom adjacent to the Medical Center; site of 1965 assassination of Malcolm X; begins a decade-long process of securing community support for a biomedical research center on site.

1985
February 6—Columbia to sell 11.7 acres under Rockefeller Center for 400 million dollars.

1986
April 2—Students erect shanties on Low Plaza to protest pace of divestment and other issues; administration okays remaining up until April 7; dismantled by protesters on April 4 "because of lack of interest and support by the University community."

1987
March 22—A campus brawl between black and white male undergraduates outside Ferris Booth Hall; black students plan protest demonstration for April 4; rain keeps numbers of protesters below a hundred.

April 20—Columbia efforts to evict a tenant from University-owned apartment building revives neighborhood antagonisms.

April 21—Forty-five students chained themselves to Hamilton hall entrance to protest March 22 racial incident; forty arrests made.

1989
November—David Dinkins elected Mayor of New York City; first Black to hold that office.

1990
May 10—Controversy over plan by University to raze Audubon Ballroom for medical school labs; theatre the site of Malcolm X's assassination; in midst of community review process.

August 22—All needed approvals secured for beginning construction on Audubon Ballroom site; substantial portion of site retained as memorial to Malcolm X.

1992
June 7—President Sovern announces intention to leave presidency in June 1993.

December 14—Student blockade of Hamilton Hall to protest Audubon Project; incident concluded after six hours of negotiations between the students and the Reverend Calvin Butts, minister of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church. Three students suspended; 45 others disciplined.

1993
February 1—Rice president George Rupp named 18th president of Columbia University.

March 6—Provost Cole calls for construction of a "laboratory school" in Columbia neighborhood as aid in faculty recruitment/retention.

June—Columbia given the General Electric Building at Lexington Avenue and Fifty-first Street; valued at 40 million dollars; largest corporate gift to Columbia.

October 4—George Rupp installed as Columbia's 18th president.

November 22—Former New York City mayor David Dinkins appointed to a five-year professorship at School of International and Public Affairs.

1994
October 1—Congressman Charles Rangel discusses Harlem Empowerment Zone with Columbia trustees.

1996
April—Students protest absence of an ethnic studies department; four engaged in a four-day hunger strike; 23 arrests following an all-night occupation of Low Library and separate blockade of Hamilton Hall. President Rupp stated that "students do not design our curriculum."

December 4—Merger of Columbia-Presbyterian and New York–Cornell Medical Centers; Columbia and Cornell Medical Schools to remain separate.

A Columbia-commissioned report has the University as one of the city's three largest employers and the largest recipient of federal research funding.

2001
March 3—President Rupp indicates his plans to step down in Summer 2002; presidential search committee to be formed under the chairmanship of trustee emeritus Henry King.

September 11—The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center leave 2,800 New Yorkers dead, among them 41 Columbians.

October 1—Columbia trustees announce election of University of Michigan president Lee C. Bollinger (Law 1967) as Columbia's 19th president; to take office in July, 2002.

2002
July 1—Lee Bollinger begins his administration.

October 2—Bollinger formally installed as Columbia's 19th president; declares Columbia the quintessential urban university, but also the one "most constrained for space."

Columbia announces plans to expand campus into Manhattanville, eventually to include properties between 125th and 133rd streets, Broadway and Twelfth Avenue.

2003
The School at Columbia opens on 110th Street, serving two hundred Columbia and community children, grades K to 4; Columbia acquires other residential property on Broadway south of 110th Street.

Last Edited: March 2004
For comments and corrections, contact Robert A. McCaughey

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