Western State Colorado University
|Western State Colorado University|
|Motto||The Destination College|
|Location||Gunnison, Colorado, United States|
|Colors||Crimson and Slate|
Western State Colorado University is a four-year public liberal arts college located in Gunnison, Colorado. The enrollment stands at about 2400 students with a high percentage, one-fourth, from out of state. The most common majors at Western are business, art, recreation, biology, environmental studies, and outdoor leadership. Within the advanced science department, 78% of the staff have a doctorate degree. Western also offers a petroleum geology program, founded and funded by Western State College alumni donations. The college also has one of the oldest collegiate radio stations in the state with 91.1 KWSB, which has been on the air since 1968.
The college was originally founded as The Colorado State Normal School for Children by a bill signed on April 16, 1901 by Governor James B. Orman. In 1923, the college's name was changed to Western State College because its role expanded from a teaching institution to a liberal arts college. Western State College was the first public college west of the Mississippi River to be designated a liberal arts college. In 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill to change the name from Western State College of Colorado to Western State Colorado University. The change was enacted August 1, 2012.1
Western State College competes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference at the NCAA Division II level, and competes in 13 sports with football, volleyball, men's cross country, women's cross country, women's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball, wrestling, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, women's swimming and diving, men's outdoor track and field and women's outdoor track and field. The men's and women's indoor/outdoor track and field program in addition to the cross country program has been particularly successful, producing numerous team national championships including many individual national champions and All-Americans. The athletic department has combined for 15 national championships and 89 RMAC championships since 1911. The Mountaineers have had 88 individuals win national championships between skiing, swimming, track and field, cross country and wrestling.
Facilities include Mountaineer Bowl (elevation 7,769 feet) and Paul Wright Gym (elevation 7,723), which are both the highest collegiate facilities in the world.
Western State Colorado University Mountaineers are members of NCAA and RMAC. The athletics department consist of cross country skiing, football, men's basketball, track and field, volleyball, women's basketball, women's soccer, women's swimming and diving, and wrestling. KEJJ 98.3 FM and KWSB 91.1 FM broadcasts many of the WSCU football, basketball and wrestling contests and all broadcasts can be heard online through KWSB.org. The Mountaineer Bowl (el. 7750'), the highest collegiate football and track complex in the world, was completed in 1949 in Gunnison, Colorado and the Mountaineers have since collected an RMAC record 19 conference championships. Individual National Championships since 1986, Men's Indoor Track and Field (13 National Champions); since 1996, Women's Indoor Track and Field (8 National Champions); since 1985, Men's Outdoor Track and Field (20 National Champions); since 1987, Women's Outdoor Track and Field (25 National Champions); since 1993, Women's Cross Country (5 National Champions); since 1999, Men's Cross Country (3 National Champions); since 1963, Wrestling (16 National Champions); in 1968, Men's Swimming and Diving (1 National Champion); since 1957, Men's Skiing (7 National Champions); and since 1997, Women's Skiing (2 National Champions). Since 1963 there have been 15 national championships between the NCAA College Division, NCAA Division II and NAIA classifications in Wrestling (2 National Championships); Women's Cross Country (4 National Championships); and Men's Cross Country (9 National Championships).
Western State College's first conference championship in 1954 began a tradition of success that has led to 88 more Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles. Everett Brown earned the college's first All-America honor in 1934. Since then there have been 906 All-America honors won by individual athletes of WSCU. Sports Illustrated's weekly "Faces in the Crowd" section has featured seven student-athletes, coaches and administrators since 1959.2
In 1994, the school commissioned Santa Fe sculptors Gene and Rebecca Tobey to create a new work for the campus. The result was Pathfinder, a six-foot-tall bronze grizzly bear, which students have a custom of kissing for good luck during exams.3 A bronze bull elk titled Wind River stands out by the skate park, also a Tobey work of art, as well as inside Leslie J. Savage Library, a small buffalo titled Wandering Star is on display. The Gene Tobey Memorial Art Scholarship at Western State Colorado University is one of three scholarships formed at his request; the other two scholarships being at Mason High School (Texas) and USU-College of Eastern Utah in Price, Utah.4
The year 2011 celebrated 100 years of Western State Colorado University. Founded in 1911 as the Gunnison Normal School, evolved into Western State College of Colorado in 1923 and became Western State Colorado University in 2012 by legislative action of Colorado State Government and approval of Governor John Hickenlooper enacted August 1. In 1891 the idea of a college charter was first introduced by Gunnison representatives. Four years later in 1895 the first legislative bill was introduced. Six years later the Gunnison Normal School Bill known as House Bill 27 finally passed. Ten years of investment finally paid off when 80 students registered for the elementary program (High School) and 24 enrolled in the advanced course (college work) in the year 1911. Within 12 years of opening its doors the Gunnison Normal School became the first public liberal arts college west of the Mississippi being renamed Western State College of Colorado with the passage of House Bill 35 in 1923.
In the 16 years prior to the opening of the doors, the Normal School experienced several pitfalls before becoming a reality. Legislative appropriations being minimal merely created the buildings and land for the school. It was the citizens of Gunnison who loaned the monies at no interest to provide for salaries and operating expenses to run the school in the sum of 50,000 dollars, which was eventually paid back within several years.
The Borick Business Building, a 7,000,000 dollar, 25,000 square foot building and home to the Department of Business, Accounting and Economics began with the 3+ million dollar challenge of Louis Lawrence Borick (1923 - 2011), who also created the Borick Business Scholarship Endowment on behalf of his son Steve. Steve later created the Steven Borick Business and Accounting Scholarship for outstanding minority students.
The top 100 benefactors of Western's first 100 years include the most senior alumni of class of 1936, Margaret Darr Crager, the class of 1966 with the most representation, and the class of 2000, Bob Wright.
The Board of Directors of Western State College Foundation believe philanthropy will play an important role in Western's next 100 years. The Western State College Foundation, Inc. is tax-exempt under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and gifts to it are deductible uner Sec. 170(b)(1)(A)(iv).
Information in this section is referenced to Heritage to Horizon: Celebrating Western's 100 year legacy, Western State College Foundation, Report of Appreciation 2010 - 11. Publication.5
Western State Colorado University is one of the settings in Eternal Starling, the first book of the Emblem of Eternity trilogy by Angela Corbett.
||Constructs such as ibid., loc. cit. and idem are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (January 2013)|
- "Western State College is now Western State Colorado University". Press release. Western State Colorado University. 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- Go Mountaineers Retrieved 2012-10-21.
- Tobey, Rebecca. Partners in Art: Gene and Rebecca Tobey, p. 260. Fresco Fine Art Publications, 2007. ISBN 978-1-934491-02-7
- ibid, p.345.
- This publication can be picked up at the Aspinall Building, 909 East Escalante Drive, Gunnison, Colorado and contains all the names of benefactors and other alumni and memorials of the people who contributed to Western State Colorado University.
- Official Western State Colorado University website
- Official Western State Colorado University athletics website
- 91.1 KWSB-FM website
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