Hunter College of the City University of New York is one of the flagship senior colleges within the City University of New York (CUNY) system. Though it was founded as a teacher-training school for female graduates of the New York City public school system, it is currently a full-service, coeducational college with four schools: Education, Arts and Sciences, Social Work, and Health Professions. Its main campus, which houses the Schools of Education and Arts and Sciences, consists of an interconnected complex of buildings located at Lexington Avenue and 68th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Hunter College grew out of an 1866 resolution by the New York City Department of Public Instruction to establish a high school and normal college for female graduates of the city's common schools. Four years later, on February 14, 1870, the Female Normal and High School, which was soon renamed the Normal College of the City of New York, began operations. Thomas H. Hunter, an Irish-born educator and social reformer, was appointed to be the college's first president and is credited today as its founder.
In 1888, the New York State legislature passed the Cantor Bill, an appropriations bill that included provisions incorporating Normal College and empowering it to grant degrees. It was at this point that the college's curriculum expanded to include two tracks: the original teacher-training track and a new "classical" track. The college's first Bachelor of Arts degrees were conferred in 1892, but it was not until 1908 that the state granted them full recognition on par with those of other women's colleges.