Professional, Top to Bottom
More often than not, Evening Session students were already seasoned professionals. Foster, for example, was a team leader at her job when she first enrolled at Baruch. Surrounded by fellow students with similar goals, motivations, and responsibilities, she often felt that her classes became networking opportunities. “Mentoring circles would crop up organically,” she explains.
That informal support system was essential for night students. Foster took a few Day Session classes to help her graduate within four years and noticed a profound difference in the two student communities. “Night students had an unspoken drive: Our families at home or those counting on us back in our native countries—we couldn’t let them down,” she says. “Not to mention we were all working full time. Those shared experiences brought us together in a remarkable way.”
Foster praises the supportive community and her Evening Session mentors with “helping to shape the way I think about my capabilities and my capacity.” The alumna has held professional positions at Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer and currently serves as a senior advisor at The Boston Group, based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
R. Emanuel Scott, Jr. (’98) echoes Foster’s sentiments. He worked as a secretary at KPMG as he earned his Baruch degree and found that not only did fellow students provide a supportive environment, but so too did professors. “Keep in mind,” he says, “many of the Evening Session professors were also working full-time day jobs. In many ways, we were all in the same boat, and the professors showed it in how understanding they were.”
The alumnus credits his professors with inspiring him to get involved with ESSA (he would become vice president) and write for The Reporter. He’s since enjoyed a fulfilling career in compliance and remains committed to Baruch, having served as president of the Baruch College Alumni Association (BCAA) from 2014 to 2016.
“Evening Session allowed me to build lasting relationships with both professors and students,” he says. “Even though it was a lot of work, it’s an experience I wouldn’t have traded for anything.”
A Blueprint for Success
With its emphasis on networking and career advancement, Evening Session laid the foundation for today’s Baruch.
“Evening students were more career oriented, since many were already established in their jobs,” says Mark Spergel, PhD, a retired Baruch administrator who served as director of evening and graduate student services. “There was a real need to provide those particular students with additional professional development opportunities, and we worked hard to do that.”
The result, Dr. Spergel explains, was to create an official mentorship office within the College, which eventually turned into the Student Academic Consulting Center (SACC). Today, SACC is one of the most widely used resources on campus, providing students with both academic tutoring and professional development. “Evening Session was a special program, in many ways, ahead of its time,” he says with pride.
In 2001, with the opening of the William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus (NVC) at 55 Lexington Avenue, distinct Day and Evening Sessions came to an end. The Reporter ceased printing, and the ESSA and Day Session Student Councils merged into the Undergraduate Student Government.
Today Baruch’s buildings are packed and buzzing both day and night as the College serves its student population with a wealth of undergraduate and graduate programs delivered in a range of formats. According to the Office of Institutional Research, 94 percent of this fall’s undergraduates were not classified as either ‘day’ or ‘night’ students.
“Evening Session may be a thing of the past, but its legacy is strong,” says Baruch College President Mitchel B. Wallerstein, PhD. “The College continues to address the needs and constraints of working-class, immigrant, and nontraditional students, many of whom must balance school and jobs.” Professional development and mentorship are emphasized through organizations like SACC, the Starr Career Development Center, and Executives on Campus. And the College’s campus life, with thriving student clubs, speaks to the passion Baruch students still have to create a community outside the classroom.
“I’d like to think we were trendsetters,” says Pamela Mitchell, who considers her Evening Session years some of the best of her life. “You look at Baruch today, and so many of its features were inspired by night school. I think we’re all proud to look back and see the impact we had.”
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HOLD THE PRESSES: Established in 1922, The Reporter was CUNY’s longest- running evening-edition newspaper. Shown here are two memorable front pages. Editors humorously peer into a crystal ball to spy a new Baruch building on a verdant 34th Street campus for the April Fool’s Day 1957 issue. On a more serious note, the 23 October 1967 edition features news of Baruch’s hard-won independence. The College’s archivists plan to digitize Baruch’s Reporter collection, making issues from 1941 through 2000 viewable online.