It is the 1950’s, President Harry S. Truman approves the production of the hydrogen bomb and sends the U.S. air force and navy to Korea; transcontinental television begins; President Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected and serves two terms as President; the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 is signed; individuals are electrocuted as WWII spies; Senator Joseph McCarthy holds hearings on alleged communists in the army; the United States Supreme Court rules that segregation is unconstitutional in public schools; and Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery Alabama.

In 1954 at Baltimore City College, Eugene Parker becomes the first black faculty member. Walter Gill joins ten other blacks as the first to enter the Castle on the Hill, and he becomes the first to graduate. It was during this time that City College student leaders call for a meeting in the auditorium and implore their classmates to civilly adjust to these changes. Three years later in 1957, President Eisenhower sends troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to allow eight black children to enter Little Rock Central High School. The Collegian of March 28, 1957, reports that Dr. Samuel Strauss has written to the Guidance Department Chairman Stanley Wagner that over a five year period from 1952 to 1957, graduates of City have earned twice as many doctor of philosophy degrees at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland than any other area secondary school, including those in the District of Columbia.

Principal Chester Katenkamp, BCC 1915, principal from 1948 to 1956 is credited with initiating the Hall of Fame with the June Class of 1957. The initial eligibility was any student who had left the school at least fifteen years before nomination and any faculty who had begun their career at City at least ten years before their nomination. The selection committee was comprised of the principal, parent teacher association president, Alumni Association president, and a senior class officer. At the time, some students opined that there might not be sufficient candidates for consideration. English professor and June Class of 1958 advisor, I. Louis Snyder, BCC Class of 1938, retorted that those who might be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame are infinite.

The first Baltimore City College Hall of Fame induction class was: Alan M. Chesney, BCC 1906; Phillip H. Edwards, BCC 1898; G. Warfield Hobbs, BCC 1896; Edward Everett Horton, BCC 1904; Arthur E. Hungerford, BCC 1904; Charles P. McCormick, BCC 1915, Garrison Morfit, BCC 1933, John E. Motz, BCC 1930, D. Carroll Rosenbloom, Class of 1926; Simon E. Sobeloff, BCC 1909; Hyman L. Stern, BCC 1926; and W. Stuart Symington, BCC 1918. This tradition would continue for twelve years until 1969, after which there was almost a twenty year hiatus. The reconstituted Baltimore City College Alumni Association, Inc. of 1980 decided to implement an autonomous and self-perpetuating Hall of Fame committee to ensure the traditions of the past would be sustained. Prior records were obtained from members of the Alumni Association before it was reconstituted. The Hall of Fame Committee was empowered to receive nominations, select inductees, and to conduct the ceremony. The Baltimore City College Alumni Association, Inc. agreed to underwrite all activities associated with the Hall of Fame induction. Accordingly, the Hall of Fame was restarted on Founder’s Day, October 20, 1988.

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