The History of Gateway

The Gateway story has its roots in 1973 when Dr. Alfred Gellhorn, a leader in medical education and Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, accepted an invitation to come to the City College of New York (CCNY), to create a "Center of Excellence." With an initial grant from the philanthropist Leonard Davis, Dr. Gellhorn established the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education with a mission to recruit and train physicians from underserved minority populations and encourage new doctors to work in communities most in need.

In its first year, Sophie Davis' enrollment was 50 percent black and Hispanic. However, the high school preparation of many of these students was inadequate in science and math and the attrition rate of minority students in the early years of Sophie Davis was 35 percent or higher. This showed Dr. Gellhorn and his faculty that a serious effort to broaden access to medical education was going to have to start earlier in students’ academic careers.

Dr. Gellhorn turned to Dr. Morton Slater, who in 1975 became Chair of the Admissions Committee at Sophie Davis, and Elisabeth Iler, JD, Sophie Davis' Director of Recruitment, to create the Bridge to Medicine Program, introducing college level math, science and English courses in the 12th grade.

In the years that followed, Dr. Gellhorn, Dr. Slater and Ms. Iler continued their pioneering efforts. In 1986, concerned that so few minority students from low income families were graduating from medical school, the trio launched the Gateway to Higher Education Program. In collaboration with the New York City Board of Education, Gateway established its first four-year programs at high schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.  In 2001, Gateway partnered with the City College of the City University of New York to become the Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education.

The Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education

The Gateway Institute provides rigorous academic programs in science, math and literacy that prepare students for success in college and beyond. Since its founding in 1986, Gateway has delivered the highest quality education to low income and minority New York City public high school students seeking health and science-related careers.

Gateway is  supported by grants from the New York State Department of Education, the New York State Department of Health and the Shippy Foundation and works in partnership with the City College of the City of New York and the New York City Department of Education.

We would also like to recognize the following organizations for the support over the years:


The City College of  The City College of New York

160 Convent Avenue

New York, NY  10031

Phone: 212.650.6088   gateway@gateway.cuny.edu   Fax: 212.650.6484

@Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education