Media Advisory/Photo Opportunity: Colorado State University Students will wield 200 Gallons of Paint to Spruce-up University’s Iconic ‘A’ tomorrow

More than 100 Colorado State University students will wield some 200 gallons of white paint on Saturday, Aug. 27 to give the university’s iconic “A” its annual spruce-up.

WHEN/WHERE: Painting will begin at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday and will continue until the job is completed, likely about 4 p.m. Painters will be transported to the site by bus from the west parking lot of CSU’s Moby Arena. They will access the site from Centennial Drive, off Overland Trail and County Road 24C in Fort Collins. 

DETAILS: The tradition of painting the “A” dates to 1924, and is meant to simultaneously refresh a Fort Collins historic landmark while also carrying forward a CSU tradition that connects students to the university community.

The “A” on the foothills above Hughes Stadium west of Fort Collins is a testament to the history of CSU: The university earlier was known as Colorado A&M, home to the “Aggies.” The hillside icon – visible from miles away – is 450 feet high, some 200 feet wide, and one of the largest university symbols of its kind in the nation, said retired U.S. Army Col. Bill Woods, a dedicated CSU alumnus who helps organize the annual whitewashing.

Students who volunteer for the laborious task will traverse steep and rugged terrain, marked by boulders, shrubs and trees.

All of those landscape features will be painted over using spray guns, air compressors, and the manpower of student volunteers who work a full day to complete the job.

Those involved in the annual task include freshmen on the CSU football team, who haul paint and equipment up the hillside; members of the CSU Club Baseball Team; students representing local chapters of Alpha Gamma Rho, FarmHouse and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternities; members of the Student Alumni Connection; and incoming CSU freshmen who have responded to a general call for volunteers.

“It’s important in our day and time to have our traditions continue,” said Woods, who painted the “A” himself as a student in the 1950s. “Painting the ‘A’ is part of the history of the university, and it leaves a legacy for others.”

CONTACT: Jim Beers (970) 491-6401 or