Skip to Main Content

Hostos Library | Archives

Information about the Hostos Archives including college history, finding aids, and visitor information.

Hostos Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY)

A Brief History of Hostos Community College

First Hostos Site photograph
Image 01: First Hostos Site, the ARCS Industries Building

Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College was created by an act of the Board of Higher Education on April 22, 1968, in response to the demands of Puerto Rican and other Hispanic leaders who urged the establishment of a college to meet the needs of the South Bronx.  In September of 1970, the college admitted a charter class fo 623 students at the site of a former tire factory at 475 Grand Concourse.  Enrollment grew rapidly to more than 2,000 student by June of 1974.  That same year the New York State Legislature acted to ease an increasing space shortage by passing a special bill to acquire the "500 Building" across the Grand Concourse from the original site.  Also in that same year, Hostos was granted full and unconditional accreditation following a highly favorable evaluation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The fiscal crisis of the mid- 1970’s resulted in an effort to merge Hostos with another institution as a cost-saving measure. This effort was rejected by the college and the community, which led the State Legislature to include Hostos’ existence in the Landes Higher Education Act, passed on June 9, 1976. Since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, enrollment at Hostos has grown steadily. Hostos Community College is part of the City of New York, the nation’s largest urban university.

The impact of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College on the people of the South Bronx cannot be underestimated. Since 1970 it has served as an anchor to the predominantly Latino community surrounding it. The institutional mission of Hostos Community College was founded on the work and contribution of an intellectual giant—Eugenio María de Hostos. Widely known throughout Latin America as a strong advocate of civic reforms, Hostos wanted knowledge and freedom for his own people and for all the people of the world. As the first college in the United States to bear his name, we strive for no less. We are his posterity, and in and through us the work of Hostos lives on.

List of Hostos Community College Presidents

  • Nasry Michelen
    President, July 1, 1969 - May 4, 1971
  • Edward W. Aponte
    Acting President, May 4, 1971 - September 27, 1971
  • Candido de Leon
    President, September 28, 1971 - August 31, 1977
  • Anthony Santiago
    Acting President, September 1, 1977 - March 18, 1979
  • Flora Mancuso Edwards
    President, March 19, 1979 - June 30, 1986
  • Adriana Garcia de Aldridge
    Acting President, July 1, 1986 - July 31, 1987
  • Isaura Santiago Santiago
    President, August 1, 1987 - January 7, 1998
  • Dolores Fernandez
    President, March 2, 1998 - June 30, 2009
  • Félix V. Matos Rodríguez
    President, July 1, 2009 - Present

Hostos Timeline | 1968 - 2013

1968 | January 22

Board of Higher Education approves the establishment of Community College Number Eight.

1968 | April 22

Board of Higher Education formally founds college.

1968 | November

Cándido de León appointed first dean of administration and proposes organization of the College.

1969 | September 22

College is named after Eugenio María de Hostos, making it the first college in the continental United States so honoring a Puerto Rican.

1969 | September 29

De León’s proposal adopted by Board.

1970 | September

Hostos opens its doors to charter class of 623.

1971 | September

Cándido de León appointed president, thus becoming the first Puerto Rican to head an institution of higher learning in the U.S.

1972 | Fall

“Libra” Program established.

1973 | Spring

Bilingual approach to instruction is in place.

1974 | Spring

The campaign for the “500 Building” begins. Rallies held at Board and in Albany.

1974 | May

“500 Building” acquired through special legislation passed in Albany.

1974 | Summer

College granted full and unconditional accreditation by Commission on Higher Education.

1975 | Summer - Fall

City’s fiscal crisis worsens. Rumors of the merger of Hostos with Bronx Community College begin to circulate. College begins to mobilize.

1976 | February 1976

University announces plan to merge Hostos with Bronx Community College.

1976 | April 5

Board approves proposal to merge.

1976 | June 9

The State Legislature passes “Landes Act,” which guarantees the existence of Hostos.

1977 | August

President de León resigns, Anthony Santiago named acting president.

1977 | Fall

Enrollment at record level, College Community resumes campaign for “500 Building.” Hostos United is founded.

1978 | March - June

Peaceful 3-month take-over of B-building; leads to 1986 Master Plan.

1978 | Summer

Mayor approves bond sale for renovation of building.

1979 | March 19

Dr. Flora Mancuso Edwards appointed president. Reorganization of Academic Division begins.

1980 | Spring

Reorganization plan approved by the Board of Trustees.

1980 | Summer

Hostos accreditation is fully and unconditionally reaffirmed.

1980 | Fall

Planning council formed. Reorganization of student services begins.

1980 | December

College begins to move into “500 Building.”

1981 | January 1981

Community Advisory Council formed.

1982 | Fall

Hostos Culture and Arts Program begin its first season.

1984 | Fall

Hostos Day Care Center officially opens.

1985 | Spring 1985

Hostos Solidarity Coalition formed to coordinate progressive political activity.

1985 | August 1985

Announcement that $150,000,000 campus will be built, including and arts center, gymnasium, science building and bridge across the Grand Concourse.

1986 - 1987

Committee to defend Hostos successfully fights to prevent major cuts in budget.

1987 | August

Dr. Isaura Santiago appointed President of Hostos Community College.

1988 | Fall

First student graduation committee created.

1988 | Summer

Construction begins on new campus.


The Middle States Visiting Team reports that Hostos’ strengths rest in its human capital: “faculty, administration, students and staff… deserve a strong communication because every day they work together to meet monumental challenge.”

1990 | December 14

Dedication of the Shirley J. Hinds Allied Health and Science Building.


Borough President Fernando Ferrer provides support for the theaters in the East Academic Complex and the Allied Health and Science Building.

1993 | September

Students begin attending classes in a section of the East Academic Complex.

1994 | October 14

Opening of the East Academic Complex and the Center for the Arts & Culture.

1998 | March 2

Dr. Dolores Fernandez appointed President of Hostos Community College.

1998 - 2000

The “Hostos Renaissance,” a renewed commitment to rigorous career and liberal arts programs.

2002 | April 10

Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture receives special recognition from international Music Hall of Fame.

2004 | July

Hostos Center for Arts & Culture receives award from Municipal Art Society of NY for excellence in programming and science.

2001 - 2005

The “Hostos Age of Discovery,” a new focus on making Hostos the pride of CUNY through a commitment to excellence.


Men’s basketball team wins NJCAA National Division III Championship.

2007 | January

Hostos College library is recognized nationally when it is awarded the “Excellence in Academic Libraries Award” by the Association of College and Research Libraries.


College enrollment exceeds 5,000 and the college celebrates its 40th Anniversary.

1999 | July 1

Educator and Scholar Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez appointed president of Hostos Community College.

2010 | March

Hostos celebrates the 40th anniversary of its Dental Hygiene Program.

2010 | June 4

U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivers commencement address.

2010 | October

Hostos receives the first allocation for a five-year, federally funded project totaling $7.4 million to train low-income individuals for careers in health care through Allied Health Pipeline.

2011 | February 2011

Hostos Repertory Company wins two awards at Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival.

2011 | October

President Félix Matos Rodríguez unveils five-year strategic plan.

2012 | March

Ribbon cutting ceremony inaugurates $9.1 million renovated and redesigned 5th Floor of 500 Grand Concourse Building.

2012 | June 10

President Félix Matos Rodríguez serves as Grand Marshal of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.

2012 | October

National Science Foundation Awards Hostos more than $900,000 for STEM Projects.

2012 | November

Hostos Professor Rees Shad named 2012 New York State Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

2012 | December

Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development opens two new $1.4 million facility at the Bronx Terminal Market. CUNY in the Heights also moves into its new space in Manhattan.

2013 | January

The Caimans men’s basketball team enters Top 10 in NJCAA Division III rankings.

2013 | February 2

U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor launches Hostos Heritage Lecture Series. Other speakers included journalist Cheryl Wills and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz.

2013 | April 22

Hostos celebrates official 45th anniversary. College marks its birthday with large community service project, THE BIG EVENT.

2013 | June 7

United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gives keynote address at the College’s largest commencement ceremony to date as Hostos confers a record number of 907 degrees in the New York City Center.

2013 | August

Hostos Repertory Company is the only community college from North America to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.

Start Your Research on Hostos Community College

OneSearch | Search Box

OneSearch | Search Box

OneSearch Searches

The following are examples of OneSearch searches that bring up interesting primary and secondary sources on the history of Hostos:

  • Hostos Community College Early Press Releases
  • Hostos Community College 1970s
  • Hostos Community College Budget Crisis

Resources from the Hostos Archives and the Hostos Library provide information about the history of Hostos Community College.

General Resources
History Databases