Shepard Hall occupies the original two-block parcel acquired for the College and follows the original footprint from the winning design Post submitted in the competition. Shaped like an anchor, it features two curving wings with classrooms on both sides. Central and end pavilions house special rooms and lecture halls. A third wing, set perpendicular to the central pavilion, houses The Great Hall and, directly below it, the Lincoln Corridor, also known as the Hall of Presidents.
The walls of the wing containing The Great Hall are lined with buttresses that support the 63-foot high span of their nave-like space. The building’s dominant vertical element is the Main Tower, which rises to more than 10 stories above the ground from the junction point of The Great Hall and the two classroom wings. Two smaller towers flank the semicircular rear of The Great Hall.
The Great Hall, a public space accommodating well over 1,000 persons, is Shepard Hall’s crown jewel. The hall is 185 feet long and 89 feet wide, with a ceiling height of 63 feet. “Twelve majestic columns separate the nave from the side aisles and support the roof trusses. Tall, triple-lancet Gothic stained glass windows and clerestories give the effect of a cathedral-scaled space.”
The semicircular rear of the stage is lined with a mural painted by Edwin H. Blashfield. Titled “The Graduate,” it is dominated by a large central figure, Wisdom, who looks down on figures of Alma Mater and a representative graduate, who are surrounded by figures representing Western cultural tradition and aspiring students.
Today, Shepard Hall houses the School of Architecture, Urban Design and Lanscape Architecture, several departments of the Division of Humanities, the music library and the offices of The Alumni Association of The City College of New York, The City College Fund, the Office of Development and Institutional Advancement and the Office of Communications and Public Relations.