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My Impressions of CCNY

Jack is retired. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.



In the year 2020, I was asked by my alma mater to submit a memory of my school while attending from 1969-1974, some 45 plus years ago. I had to reflect on my experience based on my memory from a generation ago. It was easy for me since I had such a wonderful experience and could remember the good times I had. I have to thank my alma mater and all my professors for giving me the tools to succeed in life.

- Nov. 2020

My Story...

My most memorable time at CCNY would have to be the time I spent on the Men's Varsity Fencing team. There is no longer a Men's Fencing team at CCNY today. Such a shame. Due to Title IX, the team was eliminated back in the 1990s.

My memory was of a coach who had achieve greatness in a public institution. I wrote an article for the Alumnus Magazine in 2009. Check the link below. Professor Edward Licia was a bigger than life character. He stands only 5 foot 2 inches tall but was a giant in the arena of Fencing sport. He was an olympic coach and inducted to the USA Fencing Hall of Fame. Over his two decades of coaching at CCNY, he has produced numerous All-Americans who went on to achieve greatness in their own right. Many of his students became doctors and lawyers and engineers and architects...and other fields. It was not just about the sport of fencing but the discipline and philosophy that molded us into successful adults in our chosen careers.

In my own case, I became an engineer and had a long career with IBM Research where it took me all over the world on numerous high profile projects. After my retirement a few years a go, I wrote my autobiography which is included in the link below. You can read about my many detail.

The lessons learned on and off the fencing strip carried me for my whole life. I am grateful for all that was given to me free of charge.

Life lessons including working hard, practice and train, mental toughness, and focus on the task at hand and not loosing your cool, all was part of the experience. The discipline required to stay on the team made us better prepared for the outside world.

Whoever said "nothing good in life is free" is wrong. There are thousands of people like me, who received a free college education at CCNY and turned out not only good but great. We have succeeded beyond all expectations and went on to a successful career, raised families, and paid taxes, and contributed to society many times over.

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We are all success stories each with our unique paths.

My fondest memory was going to practice at a small room at Lewisohn stadium, three times a week. Running up and down the colonnades as warm up exercise. Seeing the pictures of past athletes on the wall who have achieved greatness. Getting lessons from the coach and then bouting among our peers. The team spirit was alive and well. We supported each other, cheered at tournaments and played games and kidded around and joked. We were individuals in three different weapons and yet come together and competed as a team against some of the top schools in the country. We were holding our own among the best and brightest. We were proud of our heritage and our long history. We stand on top of past giants hoping to achieve greatness ourselves. We were just innocent kids being taught the way of the world through a classical sport and in the process we became men of character and fortitude.

My Team


Lewisohn Stadium



It is a strange time now in the year 2020. With a global pandemic that has affected all of us and is still ongoing. Our alma mater is struggling like many other institution of higher learning to deal with this crisis. Both academically and financially, the school is being challenged and the staff and administration are being asked to do more with less. As a board member of the Alumni Association, I am doing my best to give back and restore our school to the stability and excellence it once was.

I just can't help but dream of a day in the future where life is back to normal, and our school and campus is re-opened, and our athletic programs are thriving once again.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Jack Lee


Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on November 08, 2020:

Well-written! Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

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