The City College of New York was originally founded as the Free Academy of the City of New York in 1847 by wealthy businessman and president of the Board of Education Townsend Harris. A combination prep school and college, it would provide children of immigrants and the poor access to free higher education based on academic merit alone.
The Free Academy was the first of what would become a system of municipally-supported colleges. Hunter College, the second, was founded as a women's institution in 1870. Brooklyn College, the third, was established as a coeducational institution in 1930.
The City College of the City University of New York (known more commonly as the City College of New York or simply City College, CCNY, or colloquially as City) is a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning. City College's thirty-five acre Manhattan campus along Convent Avenue from 130th Street to 141st Street is on a hill overlooking Harlem; its neo-Gothic campus was mostly designed by George Browne Post, and many of its buildings are landmarks.