12. Richmond College and Staten Island Community College
Prior to the creation of The College of Staten Island (CSI), Richmond College and Staten Island Community College operated separately. Staten Island Community College (SICC) was founded in 1956 with a freshman class of 113 students and just 14 faculty members across four fields: liberal arts, electrical technology, mechanical technology, and engineering. The college operated at its Sunnyside campus on Todt Hill, at one point drawing in thousands of students per year to get two-year degrees. Though, there were few opportunities for local students to get four-year degrees.
Richmond College was founded in 1965 as a “senior college,” the third in the country. The St. George college only offered classes to juniors and seniors, stressing interdisciplinary work, including a class covering many aspects of The Renaissance. The school also employed a pass-fail grading system inspiring colleges like Yale. The school offered rare programs (at the time) including urban studies and computer science. Richmond struggled throughout the 1970s while SICC thrived financially, and in 1976, the two schools merged to become CSI.