John Rutherford Everett
Sept. 1960 – Sept. 1962
In 1959, the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York appointed a Committee on the Chancellor after determining that the position of chancellor was necessary, in part "to relieve the presidents from time-consuming and important duties having to do with the whole system." The committee recommended John Everett as CUNY's first chancellor. Everett had been president of Hollins College in Roanoke, Va., since 1950; prior to that, he had been a philosophy professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University. The committee noted that he had "an intimate knowledge of college goals and of ways to achieve them," and that he was known for becoming "exceedingly active in relating education to the life of the community." Everett had an A.B. from Park College in Missouri, an M.A. in economics from Columbia, a bachelor's of divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia. A couple of years after leaving CUNY, he was appointed president of the New School.
Albert Hosmer Bowker
Oct. 1963 – Sept. 1971
When Albert Bowker was selected as the second chancellor, he was president-elect of the American Statistical Association and a graduate school dean at Stanford University. With a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in statistics from Columbia University, he had also been an associate mathematical statistician at Columbia and an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Stanford before becoming chair of Stanford's statistics department and, eventually, graduate school dean. Bowker accepted the appointment by observing that "[b]ecause of increased urbanization, most students will come to institutions associated with great urban centers. If we are successful here, we will raise the aspirations and lift the sight of all institutions over the country, if not the world." Indeed, in its 2008 obituary of Bowker, The New York Times noted that "he presided over the university as it was being transformed from a collection of independent colleges to a highly centralized operation." Bowker later served as chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the Department of Education, and as vice president for planning at the Research Foundation of CUNY.
Robert Joseph Kibbee
Oct. 1971 – June 1982
On his appointment as chancellor in 1971, Robert Kibbee was serving as vice president for planning and administration at Carnegie-Mellon University and president of the Pittsburgh Board of Education. He earned his bachelor's degree at Fordham University and, after serving in World War II, earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Chicago. He then served as dean, vice president, and assistant to the president for a number of private colleges and universities. Kibbee, who was born on Staten Island, presided over a period that saw the University's transition to open admissions as well as serious budget challenges amid New York City's fiscal crisis of the 1970s. After a long illness, Kibbee passed away just two weeks before his scheduled retirement from the chancellery.
Leon M. Goldstein (Acting Chancellor)
July 1982 – Sept. 1982
Leon Goldstein took a leave of absence from his position as president of Kingsborough Community College to serve as acting chancellor between the time that Joseph Murphy (below) was appointed chancellor and actually took office. Goldstein's eventual 24-year tenure as Kingsborough president saw a transformation of the community college from a few barracks to an expansive campus. Goldstein received his bachelor's and master's degrees from City College and Brooklyn College, respectively, and during his career also served as CUNY's dean for community colleges and deputy chancellor.
Joseph S. Murphy
Sept. 1982 – Sept. 1990
Joseph Murphy was president of Bennington College in Vermont when he was appointed chancellor. A political scientist, he received his bachelor's degree from Olivet College in Michigan and his doctorate from Brandeis University, and was also an assistant professor at Brandeis. He held a series of positions in the federal government, including some in the Peace Corps and Job Corps, before becoming vice chancellor for higher education for the state of New Jersey. Murphy then served as president of Queens College prior to his appointment at Bennington. In addition to initiating a capital construction program at CUNY and expanding collaborative programs with the public schools, he was known, said the New York Times upon his death in 1998, "for his ability to combine a practical knowledge of politics with an enduring commitment to the poor and the working class." After his service as chancellor, he returned to teaching at the Graduate Center.
W. Ann Reynolds
Sept. 1990 – Sept. 1997
Ann Reynolds earned a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Kansas State Teachers College and a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in zoology. She was associate vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois Medical Center, where she was also on the anatomy faculty. Reynolds then served as provost of The Ohio State University and later as chancellor of The California State University before her appointment as CUNY's chancellor. At CUNY, she advocated for increased public and private funding, as well as for a college preparatory initiative to improve students' readiness for college-level academic work at the University. After leaving CUNY, she served as president of the University of Alabama.
Christoph M. Kimmich (Interim Chancellor)
Dec. 1997 – Sept. 1999
Christoph Kimmich took a leave of absence from his position as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Brooklyn College to serve as interim chancellor. He began at Brooklyn College as an associate professor of history and eventually became chair of the department, associate provost, and provost. A graduate of Haverford College, he earned his doctorate from Oxford University. After his two-year tenure as interim chancellor, he returned to Brooklyn College and was appointed president of the college. He retired from that position in 2009 and currently serves as University Professor at CUNY’s Graduate School and University Center.
Sept. 1999 – June. 2013
Matthew Goldstein was the first CUNY graduate to lead the University (City College, Class of 1963). He was appointed following the release of a report by a mayoral task force, “The City University of New York: An Institution Adrift,” which recommended the creation of clear standards, assessment methods, accountability policies, and university-wide integration. Under Goldstein’s leadership, CUNY experienced a widely lauded transformation, raising its academic standards, improving student performance, increasing enrollment, building its faculty corps, creating new colleges and schools, and expanding its research capacity. To improve financial stability, he advocated a “compact” model of funding, emphasizing a partnership with government, a predictable tuition policy, and increased philanthropy. Goldstein had previously served in senior academic and administrative positions for more than 30 years, including president of Baruch College, president of the Research Foundation, and acting vice chancellor for academic affairs of CUNY. Prior to being named chancellor, he was president of Adelphi University. He earned his doctorate from the University of Connecticut in mathematical statistics and held faculty positions at several colleges and universities. He stepped down as chancellor in 2013 and will assume the title of chancellor emeritus in December 2014.