The late 1920′s and early 1930′s were an important time for Staten Island. Having just become readily accessible via the College of Staten Island Seal Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge in 1928, and the Bayonne Bridge in 1931, the newly opened island sought other forms of connection to the outside world as well, in the form of higher public education. The first organized movement to establish a public college on Staten Island began in 1932. Petitions were circulated, signed and presented to the Board of Higher Education, but the Depression interceded and dashed hopes for a public college on Staten Island for the time being. In 1937 the campaign for a city college on Staten Island reasserted itself. 2,700 Staten Island residents petitioned the Board of Higher Education to bring a public institution of higher learning to the island; before the campaign’s end, 45,000 islanders had signed. A committee was formed to establish the need for public higher education on Staten Island, and then to prepare a budget for operation of a four-year college. While the Board of Higher Education agreed with the findings and the budget, the City Board of Estimate did not, as New York City slipped into dire financial straits.
A Fitting Memorial To Veterans After World War II, with the country back on its feet economically, Mark Dobbyn, Sr. wrote a letter to the Staten Island Advance, urging the establishment of a free college as the most fitting memorial to the veterans of Staten Island. State Assembly hopeful Edward V. Curry took up the cause and in the fall of 1948, made the establishment of a free college for Staten Island his first objective if elected. Curry won the race. This, and a change in legislation that allowed for State and local support of community colleges in deserving areas, paved the way for public higher education on Staten Island. By the spring of 1949, Associate State Commissioner of Education Lawrence L. Jarvie visited the island to inspect possible sites for a community college. With the Board of Higher Education and State University support, solid plans for a liberal arts community college were set in motion. But democracy being a slow-moving creature, it took until the spring of 1955 for the Board of Estimate of the City of New York to approve a community college for the borough.