Colorado State University Celebrates 140 Years with Founders Day Events February 11

On Feb. 11, 1870, Colorado Territorial Gov. Edward McCook signed the Colorado Morrill Act establishing the State Agricultural College in Fort Collins. In the 140 years since, the institution now known as Colorado State University has become one of the nation’s leading research universities with world- renowned research in infectious disease, atmospheric science, clean-energy technologies and environmental science, with annual research expenditures exceeding $300 million annually.

On Feb. 11, Colorado State will honor the creation of the institution, the values that have sustained it, and its mission of service through teaching, research and engagement with a Founders Day celebration, with events at the State Capitol and on campus in Fort Collins.

Colorado State has played an essential role in the development of Colorado. The first graduating class in 1884 had just three students. Today, Colorado State’s Fort Collins campus today has an enrollment of more than 25,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. More than 220,000 degrees have been awarded by Colorado State University System and Colorado State University’s 87,000-plus Colorado-based alumni account for more than $4.1 billion annually in household income for Colorado.

Colorado State is the state’s land-grant institution and has four unique statewide service entities: Colorado State Forest Service, CSU Extension centers in 59 of the 64 counties, Agricultural Experiment Stations and the Colorado Water Institute. The university’s research has greatly contributed to Colorado’s economy from agriculture to the new energy economy since its inception 140 years ago.

Since 1870, Colorado State has been supporting Coloradans through service and extension. From Colorado State’s effort to provide food resources to residents in peril due to dust storms of the 1930s to reaching more than 87,000 young people in Colorado in 2009 through 4-H youth programs, Colorado State has a proven history of aiding Colorado residents.

In the post World War II era, Colorado State’s legacy of outreach to citizens of Colorado expanded to reach to citizens of the world, highlighted by the work of Maurice Albertson, civil engineering professor, who led a CSU team that conducted a feasibility study which led to the creation of the Peace Corps. Today, CSU research impacts individuals around the world with innovations such as modification kits for two-stroke engines helping to clean the air of smog in the Philippines, and with low-cost, high-efficiency cookstoves in India.

Colorado State’s mission of teaching, research and engagement continues through a focus on economic development for rural communities across the state; a commitment to access to a top-quality education for all Colorado students; and, serving as a cornerstone of the Colorado economy by creating a skilled workforce including more STEM graduates that any other state institution and innovation and leadership in Colorado’s growing new energy economy.

On Founders Day, Colorado State will celebrate 140 years of academic excellence, research, service and outreach to the citizens of Colorado and the world. The following events are scheduled in honor of CSU’s Founders Day.

State Capitol:

– Beginning at 8 a.m. there will be a legislative reception, with the CSU choir performing on the third floor rotunda of the Capitol. The 30-member choir also will perform to both the House and Senate prior to roll call. Several lawmakers will present a bill in honor of CSU Founders Day, which will be read on both the House and Senate floors. CSU officials and members of the CSU System Board of Governors will be recognized on both floors as well. Campus mascots from CSU in Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo will be greeting people in the morning. From 9 a.m.-1 p.m. CSU students and faculty from each campus will have displays set up in the West Foyer showcasing their academic, research and service efforts.

CSU Fort Collins campus:

– The Founders Day ceremony and reception begins at 1:15 p.m. at the University Club and Cherokee Park Room. CSU President Tony Frank and ASCSU President Gearhart will present the Monfort family with the inaugural Colorado State University Founders Day Medal in honor of their great contributions to the university. The Monfort Family Foundation in 2002 gave CSU $5 million – at the time, the largest single gift in University history – to support the Monfort Excellence Fund. The Monfort Excellence Fund has had a tremendous impact on Colorado State University students, faculty and the Northern Colorado community through its scholarships for exceptional students; its support of outstanding faculty; by bringing accomplished leaders from business, government and the arts to campus to interact with students; and its public lectures delivered by international leaders. To date, the foundation has given CSU more than $10 million.

– “Happy 140th Birthday CSU” begins at 1:40 p.m. on the Lory Student Center Plaza. The event will feature CAMthe Ram, the CSU Pep Band, giveaways and treats. Other locations on campus participating in the celebration include: Lory Student Center Transit Center lobby; outside the TILT building on the historic CSU Oval; Newton’s Corner; and the Ram Sculpture by the Durrell Center.

For more information about Colorado State University’s Founders Day, visit