|| Colorado College was established as a coeducational institution in 1874, two years
before Colorado became a state. In 1871, General William Jackson Palmer, founder of
the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, laid out the city of Colorado Springs along his
new line from Denver. Envisioning a model city, he reserved land and contributed
funds for a college, which was to open May 6, 1874.
|HISTORY OF COLORADO COLLEGE
Information of historical interest on the CC web site includes an historic
campus tour created by Tutt Library Special Collections
and Archives. Many historical links are also collected on the
Colorado College 125th
Anniversary page as well. Go on a virtual tour
of the Colorado
Springs Century Chest, which is
full of descriptive memorabilia opened on January 1, 2001.
here to see a complete history of commencement
In the early years, even before there was a permanent building, the college gathered
a small faculty whose roots ran to traditional New England scholarship. Today’s faculty,
although more diverse philosophically, still balances teaching and scholarship as the
college’s traditional strength.
The college’s first building, Cutler Hall, was occupied in 1880; the first bachelor’s
degrees were conferred in 1882. Under President William F. Slocum, who served from
1888 to 1917, the campus took the shape it held until the 1950s. During this time, the
college reached scholarly maturity, especially by significantly expanding and
improving the library’s holdings and by attracting leading scholars in a number of
fields. Phi Beta Kappa was chartered in 1904.
Since the mid-1950s, the campus has been virtually rebuilt. New facilities include
three large residence halls, Worner Campus Center, Tutt Library, Olin Hall of Science
and the Barnes Science Center, Honnen Ice Rink, Boettcher Health Center, Schlessman
Pool, Armstrong Hall of Humanities, Palmer Hall, El Pomar Sports Center, and Packard
Hall of Music and Art. The Gaslight Plaza Building, previously known as the Plaza Hotel
and the Plaza Building, was purchased by the college in March 1991 and was renamed
the William I. Spencer Center in public ceremonies on October 5, 1991, to honor the
retiring charter trustee and board chairman. Bill Spencer served on the board from 1967
until 1991 and was chair from 1984 to 1991. The building houses development, college
relations, and human resources. Turn-of-the-century Bemis, Cossitt, Cutler,
Montgomery, and Palmer Halls, and the William I. Spencer Center are on the National
Register of Historic Places.
The face of campus changed again at the beginning of the 21st century with
construction of the Western Ridge Housing Complex, which offers apartment-style
living for upper-division students and completion of the Russell T. Tutt Science Center;
as well as the revitalization of the east campus, now home to the Greek Quad and
several “theme” houses.
Perhaps more significant than the physical development of the campus is its
academic vigor. The college’s curriculum includes a number of special programs:
Southwest studies, feminist and gender studies, Asian studies, biochemistry, environmental
sciences, neuroscience, Latin American studies, Russian and Eurasian studies, and
American cultural studies, as well as a strong across-the-curriculum writing program,
and a thriving Summer Session.
Visually, Cutler Hall and the mountain view are about all that remain of the
college’s physical beginnings, but the changes cannot obscure real continuities.
Colorado College remains dedicated to the traditional principles of a liberal arts and
sciences education as envisioned by its founders more than 125 years ago.