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AAHC Luncheon Remarks 5/15/11

AAHC Luncheon Remarks 5/15/11

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Remarks of President Patricia S. Rudden at Alumni Association of Hunter College 141st Birthday Luncheon May 15, 2011
Remarks of President Patricia S. Rudden at Alumni Association of Hunter College 141st Birthday Luncheon May 15, 2011

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Published by: Patricia Spence Rudden on May 29, 2011
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05/29/2011

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Happy Birthday, Hunter College! One hundred forty-one years!And happy birthday to the Alumni Association of Hunter College, as wecelebrate 139 years of service. In every possible way our college and ourassociation have grown up together, and it is unimaginable for one to existwithout the other.We are participating today in a long Hunter tradition. A hotel reunionbecame a regular feature of Alumni life in 1899, and we have done thisevery year since then. In fact, our luncheons were regularly covered by theNew York Times, as was the first one I ever attended, in 1977. The Timescoverage for our sixtieth birthday celebration in 1930 says that mypredecessor, Mrs. Marion Rhoads Elliott, “gave a short review of thecollege
ʼ
s history.” And Hunter
ʼ
s history was shorter then! There would be fartoo much for me to review if I were to attempt the same thing. So I shallforbear.But I want to talk a bit of Hunter history, and this will involve somediscussion of real estate. Now, I don
ʼ
t want President Raab to becomealarmed. I know real estate is her specialty and she will have a few hot
 
recent deals and major moves to tell you about when she speaks. I meanreal estate of a more historic type, and its effect on the history of ourcollege, and the lives of some here today who were students at the time.Think of these years: 1930, 1931, 1936, 1937, 1939. The years of theGreat Depression. Also, for us, the years of the Great Construction.Two of those years are those of Milestone Classes, 1931 and 1936. And if Iget anything wrong in what I say about those years I am confident that myfellow alumnae will set me straight.How many of you here know about a place called Lehman College?How many of you here did all or part of your Hunter College years in theBronx?Whenever I go up to Lehman to see a Hunter Hawks Basketball road gameI make sure to ask Lehman students if they have ever heard that Lehmanwas once Hunter College in the Bronx. Without exception they have not.And yet their college claims to have been founded in 1931. Well, not really.
 
Yes, the first of the buildings opened that year, but that was supposed to bethe new home of Hunter College, which was bursting at the seams down onPark Avenue and in a couple of other temporary locations.In the Lehman students
ʼ
defense I must say that most Hunter students alsodon
ʼ
t know that Lehman became its own college in 1968. Those of us whowere at Hunter that year and saw Lehman separate from Hunter andBaruch separate from City were equally ignorant of the way BrooklynCollege came to be.A Brooklyn Annex of Hunter College opened in 1926, and began co-edoperations in 1930 as Brooklyn College. City College gave birth to QueensCollege in a similar way in 1937. But the Bronx expansion of Hunter wasnot supposed to be the beginnings of a new college. It was supposed to bea new home for Hunter.The Bronx campus was the result of a campaign that began in 1927. Oneelement of this campaign was the thought that the Park Avenue propertythat Hunter had occupied since 1873 would be sold, and the entire collegewould move all operations to the Bronx. The old Neo-Gothic brick building

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