Colorado College is older than the state of Colorado. It was founded in 1874, two years before Colorado was incorporated into the United States. General William Jackson Palmer, founder of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, mapped out the city of Colorado Springs in 1871. He reserved land and contributed funds for a college, which would eventually open on May 6, 1874.
The school was modeled after the New England liberal arts colleges, and its first bachelor’s degrees were conferred in 1882. William F. Slocum served as President from 1888 to 1917. During this time, the college grew in prestige, expanding the library’s holdings and attracting leading scholars in a number of fields. Phi Beta Kappa was chartered in 1904.
The oldest building on campus is Cutler Hall, which opened its doors in 1880. The Bemis Art Center, Cutler Hall, Cossitt Hall, Montgomery Hall, Palmer Hall, and the William I. Spencer Center are all turn-of-the-century buildings and are on the National Register of Historic Places. Since the mid-1950s, the campus has been virtually rebuilt, with many buildings, such as the Worner Student Center, constructed out of red brick. Other newer buildings include 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. One thing that remains unchanged since the college’s founding, however, is the view it affords of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountain West.
The campus of Colorado College stretches across a series of suburban blocks just north of downtown Colorado Springs. Wide, tree-lined avenues separate the grassy quads, and pedestrian paths connect many of the buildings. Armstrong Quad is the largest public area, and situated around it are Tutt Library, Palmer Hall, Olin Hall, Slocum Hall, Armstrong Hall, and the gorgeous Shove Memorial Chapel.
Because of Colorado’s amazing weather, most people hang out on Armstrong Quad on most nice days. There you can find any number of people slack-lining or studying, playing soccer or campus-golf (golf with tennis balls). The main quad is the most popular place to meet up and unwind, weather permitting.
Most dorms have various study lounges throughout, especially Slocum. These lounges are typically used for working, but can quickly become a huge meeting area, especially for “group studying.”
The climbing gym is an incredibly popular place for people to meet up, as most of the student population knows how to climb to some degree. Combined with the fact that CC doesn’t have an official student workout center, the climbing gym is the primary place people go to get some exercise. The gym offers beginner courses on Monday nights for those, like me, who aren’t from big rock-climbing backgrounds. The gym also holds a few events throughout the year that are typically packed.
Worner, the student center, is the main place to meet up with people. Worner has all the basics: mailboxes, the bookstore, a coffee shop, and Rastall and Benji’s. Thus, many people go to Worner together and hang out for a bit. There is also a TV area in Worner where many watch the latest political developments.
Herb ‘N Farm has a great atmosphere for studying and hanging out. The staff is very friendly and it also has a great view of not only the athletic fields but also the mountains. The good food and late hours (it’s open until midnight, the latest for any dining on campus) also draws people.
Colorado College is located just north of downtown Colorado Springs, a city of about 600,000 (greater metropolitan area) in the Rocky Mountain West. Colorado Springs is the second largest city in Colorado, and it is an attractive suburban city with a plethora of parks and hiking/biking trails. There is an historic downtown with a number of restaurants, bars, hotels, cafés, and bookstores (Poor Richard’s is a café, used bookstore, toy shop, wine bar and pizza place), as well as an independent movie theater (Kimball’s). Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods provide scenic mountain views to the west.
Colorado Springs is home to the US Air Force Academy, Fort Carson Army Base, NORAD, and a number of Evangelical Christian organizations like Focus on the Family and Young Life Church. The larger community is very conservative, which throws the liberal vibe of Colorado College into stark relief.
Wooglins Deli is by far the biggest off-campus hangout. Run by CC grads, this deli is an offbeat place right across the street. The food is great and one can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, though the place is known for its TAB (turkey, avocado, bacon) sandwich and its bagel melts. Wooglins also takes GoldCard money (account money on your CC ID), making for a nice treat.
Garden of the Gods is a national park ten minutes away. The Garden is an area that has striking geological rock formations, perfect for rock climbing. Many head out to the Garden of the Gods for climbing or just to hang out and watch the stunning sunsets.
Manitou Springs is the eccentric, liberal town adjacent to Colorado Springs. There is much to explore in this funky little village and it provides a refreshing change from the ultra-conservative CO Springs. Manitou is dotted with classic themed motels that are fun to drive past, as well as multiple outlets to underground hot springs (the town has spigots from which one can drink various ‘purifying’ waters). There is a penny arcade where, yes, every game really is a penny. There are also many shops and art galleries, as well as countless hippie coffee shops. Though hard to get to for anyone without a car, the trip is definitely worth it and many make it on weekends.
Dance Workshop: This student dance exhibition is held once a semester. The dancers organize and choreograph a variety of programs, and begin to prepare blocks before the actual show is scheduled. They then present their work, which ranges from classical dance to modern and interpretive dance.
Llamapalooza: Each spring, the school sponsors an outdoor concert on Armstrong Quad. Both local and national bands are usually on the bill, and students haul their couches and chairs out onto the grass for the show. Frisbee, volleyball, picnics, and other events usually go on simultaneously with this day-and-night concert.
Senior Parties: During the final blocks of any given semester, seniors—who mostly live in off-campus houses—hold large no-holds-barred parties. There are even calendars made, which list the themes and nights of the senior parties.
Theatre Workshop: While not quite as eclectic, perhaps, as the Dance Workshop, the drama department holds the Theatre Workshop every year to showcase shorter plays and alternative works they put on. The workshop is student-organized, and can offer some of the most cutting-edge theatre in the city.
Winterfest: The Freeriders Union (FUCC) organizes the huge Winterfest, which is located at Crested Butte Mountain and celebrates the end of the ski season. People ski and party hard, to go out with a bang.
8th Block Scavenger Hunt: The Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC) hosts this event, during which participants run around taking pictures of ridiculous dares (these have included streaking through the library and visiting the president at 2 AM), and completing a random assortment of tasks.
--Kathleen Boland ’11 contributed reporting
Diana Louise DeGette (1979) is Democratic congresswoman representing Colorado's first congressional district.
Glenna Goodacre (1961) is an artist who designed the Sacagawea dollar coin and the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, DC.
James Joseph Heckman (1965) is a leading economist at the University of Chicago as well as University College, Dublin and University College, London. Heckman received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2000 with Professor Daniel McFadden of UC Berkeley.
Ken Salazar (1977) is a Democratic senator from Colorado. Prior to his 2004 election, Salazar served as Colorado's 36thattorney general.
Liang Shih-Chiu was the first Chinese scholar to translate the complete works of Shakespeare into Chinese, a project which took more than 30 years. He is remembered as an important writer and educator who came to Colorado College after studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Colorado College competes in NCAA Division III sports, except for the Men’s Hockey Team, which competes in NCAA Division I. Men’s sports include basketball, cross country, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, and track & field. Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and water polo. The team name is the Tigers.
The Men’s Hockey Team is exceptional for such a small school. The Tigers won the NCAA Division I Championship twice (1950, 1957) and have made the NCAA Tournament eighteen times, including every year since 1995 except 2000, 2004 and 2007. 55 members of the team have been named All-Americans. The Tigers’ current coach is Scott Owens, who played for CC when he was a student. He graduated from the school in 1979.
Colorado College is on the Block Plan; students study only one subject at a time, for three and a half weeks. This allows for more lab time, field trips, flexible hours, and other more intensive learning experiences.
The local station of National Public Radio, KRCC, broadcasts from Colorado College.
A number of CC’s buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
CC’s President, Richard Celeste, is the former director of the Peace Corps, and CC is among the top 10 smaller universities and colleges to send students into the Peace Corps. As of 2007, there were 21 CC alums serving abroad.
There is an average of 250 days of sunshine, 14.8 inches of precipitation, and 42.7 inches of snowfall each year.
The average class size at CC is about 13. Classes normally have a 25-student limit and 25 percent of the classes have eight or fewer students.
84 percent of Colorado College students are involved in community service compared to the national average of 36 percent.
CC students are entitled to take a free summer session course at any time before they graduate.
Colorado Springs is also one of the most active lightning strike areas in the United States. This natural phenomenon led Nikola Tesla to pick Colorado Springs as his location to build a lab and study electricity.
Colorado Springs is home to the US Olympic Training Center, which is only a five-minute drive from campus.
Colorado Springs was named the Fittest City in America in 2008 by Men’s Fitness.
Colorado College has a three-year residency requirement. Residential living is considered a significant part of a student’s total educational experience, and students are only granted permission to move off campus early for disability-related reasons (and even then, only if Colorado College cannot accommodate the student on campus).
The major dorms on campus are traditionally the two freshman-only dorms Slocum and Loomis, the sophomore-only Mathias, and girls-only Bemis. However, the school officially integrated these dorms as all underclassmen and co-ed as of the coming 2008–2009 school year. Slocum is the newest dorm on campus, known for slightly bigger rooms and big windows. However, along with Mathias, Slocum is far-removed from the ‘hub’ of residential life, instead closer to the academic buildings on campus as well as the main quad. Loomis is older, having much more ‘traditional’ dorm rooms (aka small, cramped, etc). However, Loomis has a reputation of being a ‘party’ dorm as it is located in the midst of all the upperclassmen housing and apartments. Bemis is a historic building, typically compared to Hogwarts in terms of its inner architecture, and is known to be clean, quiet, and impossible to get into. Mathias is the crazy party dorm on campus. Though designed by a prison architect with hallways built to prevent rioting, there is always some huge party going on in Mathias. The dorm is crappy in comparison to the others and also on the far edge of campus, but it does contain the campus convenience store and is also the primary ‘pre-gaming’ destination.
The dorms on campus contain singles, doubles, and some forced triples. There are some ‘houses’ in Mathias where a ‘cluster’ of singles and doubles are separated from the main dorm by their own hallway; however, these are extraordinarily difficult to get, especially because there are only a handful of them and you must be in perfect disciplinary standing in order to qualify to live in them. There are also the a few handicap rooms/suites in Slocum and Loomis that have their own bathroom, but you cannot request to live in them and only end up there by chance. Overall, housing is far from a nightmare and most are more than happy with their living situation. Furthermore, because the administration is integrating the dorms, more options will be available in the coming years.
There are also the typical small houses, language houses, and apartments on campus. The small houses on campus are all historic buildings and have grandiose rooms; most rooms have high ceilings, huge windows, and the occasional balcony or window seat. The small houses, however, are difficult to get into and are only open to upperclassmen. The language houses are also known to be great in terms of size and living quality and always host various free dinners. The Western Ridge Apartments, open only to juniors and seniors, are a college student’s dream. They not only overlook Pikes Peak but also have two floors, a kitchen, a family room, and multiple single bedrooms. Another perk? Living in an apartment exempts you from the on-campus dining requirement; a definite plus once you’ve had two or three years of Rastall.