Hunter College traces its origins to the 17th of November 1869 when the Department of Public Instruction of the City of New York passed a resolution establishing the Female Normal and High
School, the first free teacher's college in the nation. The first classes were held on Feburary 14, 1870. The name of the institution was changed by the legislature of the State of New York to the Normal College of the City of New York in 1870, and in 1914 to Hunter College of the City of New York in honor of Thomas Hunter the founding President of the College. Evening classes serving the working population of the city were begun in 1917, and graduate studies for both women and men were initiated in 1921.
Hunter was incorporated into The City University of New York in 1961, and became coeducational for undergraduates only in 1964. CUNY adopted an "open admissions" policy in 1970 that guaranteed any New York City high school graduate admission to a college within the University, and first imposed tuition for under-graduates in 1976. The University currently consists of 11 senior colleges, 7 community colleges, a technical college, the graduate school, the law school, a campus-based medical school, and an affiliated medical school. Hunter College enrolls some 21,000 of the over 250,000 students of the University.
Anthropology was first taught at Hunter College in 1905 as an offering within the Biology Department. Courses in Human Evolution and Racial Variation were required for biology majors for many years. A Division of Anthropology was established within the Department of Sociology in 1942, and a separate Department of Anthropology was created in July of 1963. This early faculty consisted of 9 full-time members. Two months later in September of 1963 this new department was authorized to offer courses leading to the M.A. in Anthropology.
The Hunter Anthropology Department currently has 18 full-time faculty members (some of whom are temporarily posted to other units of the College and University) and approximately 20 adjunct (part-time) instructors. Each semester several thousand students enroll in our introductory, advanced and M.A.-level courses.