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CCNY Women's Fencing Program

Updated on May 15, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.


CCNY is a school of higher learning. Established in 1847, it is one of the first publicly funded universities in the country. It is also the home of many great athletes, including All Americans and Olympians. This hub is a support resource to help raise awareness and funding for the CCNY Women's Fencing program.

- Initiated: Dec. 23, 2016

updated 5-15-2017 (include Gift in Kind list of items the coach requested).

CCNY Women's Fencing Team 2017


My name is Jack Lee. I am currently retired and doing some volunteer work at the Westchester Archives. Recently, it came to my attention that the CCNY Women's Fencing team has been experiencing some challenges. As a former Men's team member and alumnus, I would like to help.

One of my fondest memories was attending classes at Lewisohn Stadium, where I took my first fencing lesson. It started a long career in Varsity Fencing (epee) and later as a participant in open tournaments in both individual and team events. I've traveled to many cities for annual tournaments and made life long friends with my teammates. It was a wonderful experience and one that I wish all college students would have an opportunity to participate in.

In 2009, I along with some of my teammates, wrote a tribute in the CCNY Alumnus magazine Winter issue to our coach Ed Lucia. I hope you have a chance to read it. The link appears below.

The fencing team experience is much more than a sport but a life learning experience. One that will be treasured throughout one's career.

The Caliber of the Schools We Competed With

CCNY Fencing Glory Days...

(Some highlights of past accomplishments)

From 1967 to 2015, there have been a total of 38 Hall of Fame inductees with awards going back to the class of 1924 till modern day. They included 3 coaches and 35 team members.

Among them, there were at least 5 members who went on to be selected for the US Olympic teams.

There were also numerous All Americans for being among the top 6 finalists in the NCAA tournaments.

Some also won medals in the Senior World Championship tournaments.

There is a book published in 2006, called "Closing the Distance" written by Jeff Bukantz a CCNY fencing alumni. He describe in great detail the life and career of his father, Daniel Bukantz Class of '38. He was perhaps our most decorated Alumni.

He was an American Olympic fencing competitor and referee and also a dentist. He won the national singles championship in the foil in 1949, 1952, 1953 and 1957. He competed in the foil in Olympic games four consecutive times beginning in 1948, and was part of nine national championship teams for the Fencers Club of New York. He won the gold medal in the foil at the 1950 Maccabiah Games in Israel. He also competed in epee at times. He was a head referee at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. He is a member of the United States Fencing Hall of Fame in Shreveport.

A List of Known CCNY All Americans

  • Axelrod
  • Bernard
  • Borkowsky
  • Bukantz
  • Fields
  • Goldsmith
  • Keifetz
  • Karousos
  • Messing

Men's Team Photo 1972

Mission Statement

The mission of this Fund is to promote and ensure the long term viability of the Women's Fencing program at CCNY. We at City College have had a rich history with many achievements in the world of competitive fencing. We want to offer the same opportunity to a newer generation of female students at CCNY. Our goal is to obtain the financial means through alumni and corporate sponsors that will ensure the long term success of this program. Our hope is to be able to restore CCNY standing in the NCAA circuit and allow future members to participate in the annual NCAA tournaments. We will offer our time, energy, and resources to achieve these goals.

- The Benefactors

A Program Proposal (initial draft)

  • Assess what is needed
  • Estimate funding requirements
  • Work with college officials and staff to draft the details
  • Reach out to alumni
  • Reach out to corporations for sponsorship
  • Create a specific fund with the purpose of supporting this program
  • Develop a multi-year program that will be fiscally viable for perpetuity
  • Obtain oversight by independent audit agency
  • Creation of a Board of Directors to oversee and help with this mission


Current Shortcomings:

  • Lack of a fixed facility for fencing classes and practice sessions.
  • Difficulty recruiting enough qualified members for the team.
  • Inadequate coaching staff with coaches and assistants being P/T only.
  • Lack of resources to support both travels and overnight stays to tournaments far away.
  • Lack of a physical education program that offers introductory classes to the sport of fencing. (a potential source of team members)

What is needed:

  • A dialogue with City officials about current shortcomings and what is available and possible with current budget and a commitment to support our mission.
  • A cost assessment for each component, including a new facility room, equipment for classes, additional assistant coaching staff, travel budgets, equipment maintenance, possibility of partial scholarships, reimbursements for entry fees to open tournaments, year end award dinner, publicity, funding events...
  • Recruitment of a full team with at minimum 5 persons per weapon, for a total of 15 or more team members.
  • Research into what is required for NCAA Div. l accreditation.
  • Develop a guideline for member participation, including attendance requirements, maintenance of academic standards, rules of conduct...
  • Funding efforts to initially focus on minimum requirements based on the cost assessment, with ongoing funding efforts to continue to support and improve the CCNY Women's Fencing program.
  • Review and discuss any legal implications and requirements for a non-profit foundation.

A model fencing facility

How Do We Proceed?

I think we should divide the objectives into 3 stages.

Stage 1: Focus on getting the current Women's Fencing team up to standard, including the establishment of a permanent facility specialized for fencing practice and classes.

Stage 2: Build a full squad with beginners and advanced team members to allow for progression from PE classes to team and to Varsity.

Stage 3: Expand the program to include a Men's Fencing team with equal status. Due to Title IX regulation, the Men's team was discontinued some years earlier. I would like it to be restored.

A Possible Scenario

It has been brought to my attention that colleges no longer have a Freshmen team. In this scenario, we envision a process of recruitment starting from a basic PE class in Introductory foil. If the school could provide for 3 classes of 20 students each per semester, that will produce a potential pool of 60 members. If only 10% were selected to join the team, that will bring 6 additions team members per semester. A full Varsity team is envisioned to contain 15 members, 5 of each weapon (foil, saber and epee). This will create a healthy competitive environment where the members must improve to advance to the starting lineup. There are only 9 starters. This will give the coach some flexibility in any given meet to choose various starters based on ability and commitment.

In addition, I can envision a way to supplement the coaching lessons by providing monetary assistance for the advanced fencers to join a club such as the Fencer's Club and receive additional lessons from professional staff. Also, reimbursement for entry fees to open tournaments held in NYC. This will provide competitive experience outside the college environment.

An Open Tournament


In this draft proposal, I used the term fund and foundation almost interchangeably. It was pointed out to me they are very different entities. A fund is more a fund raising tool to generate some revenues from independent donations. A Foundation is usually a private setup where the owners of the foundation have more control over the funds and its allocation.

In the draft proposal, I am open to both methods. In creating a specific targeted fund, The school would play the major roll of managing the fund and the allocations. Similar to the existing fund of various types. There are for example funds for scholarship by the Alumni organization.

A Foundation would be a more complex arrangement. It would involve the creation of a board to oversee activities. In my opinion, the foundation would be an ideal path in the long run. The problems with current athletic programs at City is much more than funding issue. It would require the long term commitment from City College officials and the various entities to create a long term solution. It may involve coordinating various funding activities, some of which already exist such as capital investments.

It would be better to start small and build up to a viable organization that can help reach our goals. The work will take time and patience and some planning. The foundation path will offer the flexibility of direction and focus in a changing environment.

Some Possible Sources...

My philosophies is to go with all possible avenues. Here are some specific ways to raise funding.

  • Personal donations
  • Matching grants
  • Corp. Sponsorship
  • Annual Charity Events
  • Application to existing grants
  • Bequeaths of estates
  • Yearly Pledges


This effort is dedicated to all past coaches of CCNY Fencing. Our goal is to preserve and protect the athletic fencing program at CCNY. As an alumni of CCNY and a member of the CCNY Men's Varsity team, class of 1974, I want to offer my assistance to make this a reality. This first draft proposal is the starting point. Thanks to all who contributed to this effort, especially Joe Wu and Arnold Messing with their first hand comments and insight. Wish us luck.

Old College News Clipping

Activity Tracking...

12-23-2016 - Initial concept.

12-28- 2016 - Phone conversation with Jen Chen.

1-2-2017 - Added clarification after discussion and comments from various sources.

1-9-2017 - Received some info from Friends of Harvard Fencing...

2-10-2017 - Meeting with Jen Chen, Paul Yuen and Jamie Angeli at CCNY, tour of current facilities and equipment room. Discuss some current shortcomings.

5-8-2017 - Conference call with CCNY Administrators to begin dialog...

Ideas and Suggestions

  • Creation of a mailing list of alumni and coaches and friends...
  • Establish a Friends of Fencing organization.

Summary Update to Proposal (5-8-2017)

After much discussion among a small group of alumni, we have decided the best path forward to break up our proposal into 3 distinct components.

1. Donate "gift in kind" items that are needed immediately for the up coming Fall season.

2. Discuss with the Athletic Department on various ideas and suggestions to improve the team long term.

3. Request the CCNY administration to implement a funding mechanism that target the Fencing team similar to what is implemented at Harvard Athletics.

Gift In Kind (list of requested items by Coach)

1. (2) scoring machines

2. (4) reels

3. (4) floor cables

4. (4) carrying cases for scoring machines and reels

5. Need repair and upgrade to our current reels, scoring machine, floor cables (install new sabre timing chip)

6. (2-4) Fencing strips for practice and hosting tournaments (rubber or metal)

7. Tool box (screws, tips, springs, repair tools, tape, shims, weights, stop watch)

8. Heavy duty work station with a vice and polishing/cleaning machine to remove rust

9. Dolly/hand truck(s)

10. Heavy duty/rust proof storage cabinets to replace our current cabinets.

11. Target practice/dummies

A word about submitting comments and suggestions

I chose this platform on HubPages because it is a good and easy way to disseminate information. There is a comment section at the end. You don't have to be a registered user to submit comments, just type your name in the box and write your comments. I will be the moderator and will review all comments before posting. If you wish to keep your comment private, just indicate it in your message and I will comply. It there are corrections or additions, I will update the body of the Hub accordingly.

In addition, I have pledged to donate all my earnings here on HubPages to this fund. It would be a win win.

© 2016 Jack Lee


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    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      23 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I am posting a comment from Arnie Messing -

      Here is another idea. The ivy league has a program called Friends of Harvard Fencing, or Friends of Princeton Fencing and so on. Donations are made to these programs and this money is spent on the team that the school is not budgeted for or not prepared to spend money on certain things. Maybe this might work for us as well. Donations can be submitted to us, a bank account can be set up and if all funds are accounted for there should not be a problem. The coach can request money for a night in a hotel- this would mean the team does not have to meet at 6.30 AM to drive up to a tournament that starts at 9 AM. This drains the girls energy. It might be better for them to travel the day before the tournament. Another option-use the money to buy extra weapons, gloves etc. Money could be available to help the girls join USA- Fencing so they can compete in local tournaments or pay the floor fee so they can train at a Fencing club.

      This is a new idea-it allows the friends of CCNY FENCING to control the money and make sure it is being spent appropriately. Steve Khinoy made the suppression and you can contact him to get a better idea of what he is suggesting. This money can be separate from the CCNY Budget. Yes it would mean more oversight by you but less issues than dealing with CCNY. We, control, the funds-we understand the expenses and needs of the school.

      I went fencing today. I saw alot of the Fencers wearing orange shoes. I asked what brand they are-it turned out they were indoor tennis shoes and they were cheaper than fencing shoes and the Fencers thought they were better. This would save the Fencers alot of money.

      Steve said it might be a big problem starting a Fencing class. If the school has no P.E. program at the moment, starting a class may be impossible. Anyway, there is alot here for you to think about.


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