The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is an outdoor sculpture gallery, located on the grounds of Bronx Community College in The Bronx, New York City. Completed in 1900 as part of the University Heights campus of New York University, the 630-foot (192 m) stone colonnade half-encircles the university library and houses 98 bronze portrait busts. Designed by architect Stanford White (who also designed the library), the Beaux Arts structure was donated by Helen Gould, and was formally dedicated on May 30, 1901.
New York University (under severe financial distress) was forced to sell the campus in 1973 to the City University Of New York and it became Bronx Community College. Though the Hall's renown has itself faded, its architecture remains, and it stands as a secular national shrine not just to great men and woman, but to Roman ideals of fame favored at the beginning of the 20th century.
Today the Hall of Fame for Great Americans is largely forgotten. For twenty years [viz., prior to 1997], in fact, it lacked the funds to hold new elections or to commission busts of the people it elected two decades ago, including Louis Brandeis, Clara Barton, Luther Burbank, and Andrew Carnegie. It took nineteen years to raise the $25,000 needed to commission the bust of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In the late 1970s the state spent $3 million restoring the colonnade's crumbling foundation; more recently, it spent another $200,000 to restore the 98 bronze busts, many of which had deteriorated badly. By that time private gifts, which were always the Hall of Fame's primary source of support, had effectively ceased. In 2001, Bronx Community College organized a US$ 1 million fund-raising effort to rebuild and expand the Hall of Fame.
Along with the library dome at the Bronx Community College, the Hall of Fame was featured in the 2006 film The Good Shepherd as a backdrop for scenes taking place at Yale University. The dome of the Gould Memorial Library at the Hall of Fame served as a stand-in for MIT's Great Dome in the movie A Beautiful Mind.