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The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder, UCB officially; Colorado and CU colloquially) is a public research university located in Boulder, Coloradomarker. Considered a Public Ivy, it is the flagship university of the University of Colorado system and was founded five months before Colorado was admitted to the union in 1876. The university's colors are silver and gold to reflect the mining history of the state.

Comprising nine colleges and schools, the university offered over 150 academic programs and enrolled 28,988 students and granted 6,781 degrees in 2007. Six Nobel Laureates, seven MacArthur Fellows, and 17 astronauts have been affiliated with CU Boulder as students, researchers, or faculty members in its history. The University received $266 million in sponsored research in 2007 to fund programs like the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physicsmarker, JILA, and National Institute of Standards and Technology's NIST-F1 atomic clock.

The Colorado Buffaloes compete in nine intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference. The Buffaloes have won 23 NCAA championships: 17 in skiing, five total in men's and women's cross country, and one in football. Approximately 1,500 students participate in 34 intercollegiate club sports annually as well.


The CU Boulder campus.
On March 14, 1876, the Colorado state legislature passed an amendment to the state constitution which provided money for the establishment of the University of Colorado in Boulder, the Colorado School of Minesmarker in Goldenmarker, and Colorado Agricultural College in Fort Collinsmarker, now known as Colorado State Universitymarker.

Two cities competed for the site University of Colorado: Boulder and Cañon Citymarker. The consolation prize for the losing city would be home of the new Colorado State Prison. Cañon City was at a disadvantage as it was already the home of the Colorado Territorial Prison (There are now six prisons in the Cañon City area).

The cornerstone of the building that would become Old Main was laid September 20, 1875. The doors of the university opened on September 5, 1877. At the time there were few high schools in the state that could adequately prepare students for university work, so in addition to the University, a preparatory school was formed on campus. In the fall of 1877, the student body consisted of 15 students in the college proper and 50 students in the preparatory school. There were 38 men and 27 women, and their ages ranged from 12–23 years.


The main CU-Boulder Campus is located about south of the popular Pearl Street Mall. It is composed of academic and residential buildings as well as research facilities. The East Campus is about a quarter mile from the main campus and is composed mainly of athletic fields and research buildings.

"The Hill" borders Campus to the West and is a central location for shops, restaurants, bars, etc. The Hill is also prime real estate for students, given its central location and proximity to campus. The majority of Greek fraternities and sororities are on the Hill.


Old Main
In 1917 the university was undergoing a massive expansion. This triggered debate over the architectural style of the campus. The consensus was that the University should be built in a unified style, but which style was the center of the debate. Some wanted to follow the style of Macky Auditorium, which was Neo-Gothic, while others wanted to use the Collegiate Gothic style of many East Coast schools. However, Charles Z. Klauder, the head architect of the firm hired to do the construction, presented then President Norlin with sketches of new buildings in Italian Rural Architecture. This style was developed in the mountains of northern Italymarker, and Klauder and Norlin felt that it was a harmonious fit with the Boulder foothills.

The most obvious characteristics of this style on the Boulder campus are the rough, textured walls and the sloping, multi-leveled roofs with red tile. The sandstone used in the construction of nearly all the buildings on campus was selected from a quarry in Lyons, Coloradomarker. The architecture had a rugged yet classical feel, fitting for a western University. Klauder’s vision for the campus took nearly twenty years to complete, and laid the foundation for the future design of the campus.


Norlin Library
Until 1903, the library collection was housed with the rest of the school in Old Main. The growing size of the library required a move, as the weight of the books was causing physical damage to the floor. The cornerstone for the first separate library building was laid in January 1903, and the building was opened in January 1904. When the new Norlin Library opened in 1940, the old library turned over to Theatre department, and was converted into classrooms and a theatre.
Norlin Library main entrance
Norlin Library was the last building to be designed by Klauder. There are two inscriptions on the western face of the building, overlooking the Norlin Quadrangle. Both were composed by Pres. Norlin. The larger inscription reads “Who knows only his own generation remains always a child” and the smaller inscription on the marble just over the door reads “Enter here the timeless fellowship of the human spirit.”

Macky Auditorium

Macky Auditorium
Macky Auditorium is a large building on the University of Colorado campus, which plays host to various talks, plays, and musical performances. Andrew J. Macky was a prominent businessman involved with the town of Boulder in the late 1800’s. Macky served as the President, as well as a stockholder of the First National Bank, an institution founded by another early CU supporter Lewis Cheney. Macky is credited with a number of landmarks throughout Boulder, where he was a carpenter and involved in politics.

The Auditorium opened its doors in 1923, thirteen years after construction started. Macky's adopted daughter, May, sued for a third of Macky's estate, a case which took thirteen years to settle. May was angered that her father left her no money in his will, while leaving $400,000 to CU for the hall’s construction. The university eventually won the case, and the majority of critical construction on the building resumed.

The building has a variety of architectural elements from various buildings around the globe that President Baker, CU’s president at the turn of the century, admired. The design of the auditorium is primarily Neo-Gothic, with the primary materials being sandstone and red tile, like the rest of campus. The result is a unique building, with two large towers and sprawling ivy, that sets itself apart from the rest of the CU campus. Macky was refurbished in 1986, with improved seating, custom carpeting, modern plumbing and an elevator. Currently there is an electronic bell system in the towers of Macky which rings the hours during the day.

Macky is the home of a two departments both in the College of Music, the Jazz Studies Department and the Choral Department, and it houses an art gallery which is open Wednesdays, and to patrons during performances. A wide range of entertainers perform at Macky each year, from Phillip Glass to Wilco. The hall houses almost all performances by the Boulder Philharmonic, the Artist Series, and the CU Opera. Macky is also the home of many lectures including the famous Conference on World Affairs held at CU each spring.

Macky is also the location of a campus murder. In July 1966, Elaura Jaquette, a twenty year old student, was lured into the west tower of the building by Joseph Morse, a janitor at Macky. She was raped and brutally murdered in the organ practice room. The murder room is now a storage room. Campus legend claims her ghost still haunts the building.

University Memorial Center (UMC)

Dalton Trumbo Fountain Court behind the UMC on July 13 2006
In 1947, Colorado Governor Lee Knous issued a proclamation to create a memorial to Colorado's servicemen at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A proposal to house this memorial in a student union building resulted in a remarkable fundraising effort. The University Memorial Center opened its doors in October 1953 with President Robert Stearns presiding over the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Pundits of the day described the building as "opulent" and "breathtaking," and the UMC quickly became the central landmark of the Boulder campus. A 1964 addition created a new book store, conference facilities, additional dining facilities, and offices to house the rapidly growing student activities and organizations. The expansion was financed through bonds granted by student fees.
North Side of UMC
The 1960s and '70s put the UMC at the center of student activism as students staged strikes, grape boycotts, love-ins, sit-ins, and walk-outs. The UMC Fountain Court (now the Dalton Trumbo Fountain Court) became a familiar sight to network television news watchers as the famous and notorious promoted their cause at CU-Boulder. Entertainers as diverse as Ramsey Lewis and the Grateful Dead have performed in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. The UMC Connection, a student entertainment center in the basement, is a more informal gathering place, featuring pool tables and a small bowling alley. It also features Club 156, which hosts concerts from local and up-and-coming bands. In 1986, students passed another bond issue to remodel the food services area. The Alferd Packer Grill was transformed to the current food court concept and students have since enjoyed the addition of other vendors including Subway, Dominos, and Celestial Seasonings Teas and Coffees.

Recreation Center

In 1973 the student recreation center was built on the CU-Boulder's main campus, by the architect James Wallace. The funding to build the recreation center came entirely from student fees, which also funded the expansion in 1990. It is currently 213,000 square-feet and operates on a $5 million annual budget. The center is co-managed by the division of student affairs and UCSU, CU-Boulder's student government. It is located on the northern edge of campus next to Folsom Stadium. It is open 7 days a week and on average 16 hours a day with most of its facilities available for use during those hours.

Mary Rippon Theatre

The view from the back of the Mary Rippon Theatre
The Mary Rippon Theatre is an outdoor theater and the site of many cultural events, notably the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. The Theatre was named after Professor Mary Rippon, the first female instructor at the University and one of the first female University instructors in the United States. She taught German and French. Professor Rippon was so popular with students that when attempts were made to replace her with a male instructor, the student body revolted en masse, and Rippon kept her job.


Norlin Library features two art galleries, several dedicated art spaces, and art works on display throughout the building. The CU Art Museum features cutting edge works of modern and contemporary art, as well as historical art works. The Museum's permanent collection includes over 5,000 works of art from numerous time periods and cultures. The UMC Art Gallery exhibits a variety of visual offerings ranging from student works created on campus to presentations of internationally recognized artists. Andrew J. Macky Gallery showcases the work of both local and national artists and is housed in the historic Macky Auditorium.


University of Colorado Museum of Natural Historymarker has one of the most extensive natural history collections in the Rocky Mountain and Plains regions, representing the disciplines of Anthropology, Botany, Entomology, Paleontology, and Zoology. The CU Heritage Center [37198]tells the stories of CU-Boulder's past and present and is housed in Old Main, the first building constructed on campus. Seven galleries exhibit art and memorabilia associated with CU faculty and alumni. Fiske Planetarium and Science Center features a . planetarium dome and produces laser shows, live concerts, and an on-going series of public programs. Fiske also offers a hands-on science museum with interactive exhibits and space-themed art.

Performing arts facilities

The University of Colorado College of Music presents over 400 performances and educational events bringing together faculty, students, and guest artists each year through the Pendulum New Music Series. They present musical genres including classical, jazz, world music, and new music. Colorado University Theatre and Dance is home to the Charlotte York Irey Dance Theatre, the University Theatre, and the Loft Theatre. Over a dozen productions are presented each year featuring student and faculty actors, dancers, choreographers, directors, and designers.


The University of Colorado is divided into several colleges and schools. While the College of Arts and Sciences is by far the largest, the university also consists of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the schools of Architecture and Planning, Education, Journalism and Mass Communication, Music, Law, and the Leeds School of Business. Most, if not all, of these colleges and schools also incorporate masters and doctorate level degree programs. At the University, there are currently approximately 3,400 courses available in over 150 disciplines comprising 85 majors ranging from Accounting to Women's Studies.

University of Colorado School of Law is the smallest and most selective of the colleges. The Wolf Law Building, the new home of the Law School, was dedicated on September 8, 2006, by United States Supreme Courtmarker justice Stephen Breyer.

The Leeds School of Business has an enrollment of 3,300 students including undergraduates, master's candidates, and Ph.D. candidates. The Ph.D. entrepreneurship program ranks first in the nation. The undergraduate program ranks 39th in the country and the undergraduate entrepreneurship program ranks 14th in the nation. The MBA program ranks 26th among all public universities. The faculty are ranked 38th in the nation according to the Academy of Management Journal.

CU-Boulder adopted a honor code in 2000 following growing concerns about academic dishonesty on campus in the late 1990s. A copy of the code stating "On my honor, as a University of Colorado at Boulder student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance on this work" is engraved on a metal plate and posted in every classroom on campus.

Undergraduates who seek an academic challenge may participate in CU's Honors Program. Begun in the 1920s, the Honors Program currently consists of the top ten percent of incoming freshmen and participating undergraduates with a 3.3 GPA or greater (on a 4.0 scale). The program offers over 40 honors classes each semester taught by tenured or tenure-track professors and limited to class sizes of 15 students. Honors students also have the opportunity to graduate with honors, high honors, and highest honors, by writing and defending a thesis during their senior year. The program extends into the residence halls through the Kittredge Honors Program. The Presidents Leadership Class is a program for top scholars at the University of Colorado. Scholars participate in a four-year leadership development program. The program provides great opportunities to the top fifty students at CU from every major and discipline.

One option for students (mostly freshman and sophomores) living on campus is to join a residential academic program (RAP). Each RAP focuses on a curricular theme, and offer courses in the residence hall itself. The programs also include educational activities.


As of 2006, there were more than 3,800 tenured or tenure-eligible faculty members, as well as 4,400 non-tenured adjunct professors and instructors. Current faculty include Nobel laureates John Hall (physics, 2005), Eric Cornell (physics, 2001), and Thomas Robert Cech (chemistry, 1989). Former faculty member Carl Wieman was also awarded a Nobel prize for his work with Eric Cornell during his career at the University of Colorado. Controversial writer Ward Churchill was a professor of ethnic studies until July 2007.

Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education

The Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education (CAETE) is a partnership between the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. As the distance learning and professional studies arm of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, CAETE provides courses from the College to working professionals via the Internet and CD-ROM. Students can take courses for professional development or toward earning a master's degree or graduate certificate (in some disciplines) in aerospace engineering, computer science, electrical, computer and energy engineering, engineering management, and telecommunications. Founded in 1983, CAETE currently receives over 1,000 enrollments a year from over 250 job sites in Coloradomarker, across the nation, and abroad.


The Campus Press was the University of Colorado's student newspaper before becoming the CU Independent in August 2008. It began as a weekly printed newspaper and became an online daily in 2006. The online edition features a weblog facility for students.

The Campus Press staff comprised approximately 60 editors, reporters and photographers, responsible for providing the online edition with new content at least once a day. Most contributors were members of the University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, but most other schools are represented too. There were around 20 editors, including campus editors, responsible for editing stories' content; section editors, who constructed and assigned stories to their respective sections; and online editors, who update and maintain the website. A managing editor and an editor-in-chief oversee the production of daily online editions. Online editions include blogs, slide shows, commentary, news, sports. and features.

The Campus Press was founded by Mal Deans. At the time of its conception, the paper published a printed edition every week. The paper was originally titled The Working Press. Dave Sikardi was the first student editor. The Campus Press was the first online newspaper in Colorado, beginning in April, 1994.

In August 2006, however, the Campus Press officially launched as an online-only newspaper, abolishing the print edition entirely. The move was not without controversy, and the Campus Press's tagline on the Web site was edited from "CU's only independent student voice" to "CU's only student voice". The Campus Press became independent of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, changing its name to the CU Independent. The new Web site launched on January 12, 2009.

CU Independent is an affiliate of UWIRE , which distributes and promotes its content to their network.

Noted alumni

The University of Colorado at Boulder ranks fourth among U.S. universities in number of astronauts produced, not including military academies.

Notable accomplishments at CU

  • First to create a new form of matter, the Bose-Einstein condensate, just a few hundred billionths of a degree above absolute zero.
  • First to observe a "fermionic condensate" formed from pairs of atoms in a gas.
  • Developed the "FluChip" to aid physicians in diagnosing respiratory illness and differentiating between three types of influenza and other viruses that cause similar symptoms.
  • First Place in the 2002 and 2005 National Solar Decathlons. (An international competition in which students and faculty from the Engineering and Architecture programs collaborated to design, construct, transport and live in a sustainable residence. These were the first two runnings of this competition.)
  • The number one university recipient of NASA funding
  • Currently maintains most financially powerful student government in the nation

Campus organizations

The University of Colorado Student Union

The University of Colorado Student Union, also referred to as UCSU, serves at the student government for the university. The government contains three branches- executive, legislative, and judicial. The government is the most financially powerful student government in the United States. The government controls over $35 million dollars and has absolute autonomy in all financial and student fee decisions. It is considered a great honor and privilege to be elected to a position within the student government.

The Buff Bus

The Buff Bus is a student shuttle that runs between off-campus housing and the main campus. The buses serve students with two routes through campus. The route from The Williams Village Residence Halls and Bear Creek Apartments runs all day and brings passengers to campus from the remote residence halls and the apartment complex. The College Inn route runs for two hours in the morning and again in the evening and circulates through campus to and from that dormitory. The Buff Bus can also be chartered for special events and trips.

The Williams Village Buff Bus runs from 6:45 am to midnight Monday through Friday, and 10:00 am until midnight on Saturday and Sunday. The College Inn bus runs every 15 minutes from 7:30am to 9:30am Monday through Friday and 5:00pm to midnight Sunday through Friday. It is a primary mode of transportation by many students living in off-campus housing. Many Buff Bus drivers are students, with a few exceptions.

The fleet includes buses manufactured by NovaBus, Gillig, Neoplan, Thomas Built Buses, Navistar International Corporation, and Blue Bird Corporation. Some of the buses in the fleet are powered by biodiesel manufactured from fryer grease. The idea started as a class project for CU Environmental Engineering student Andrew Azman and four other students after hearing a talk from biodiesel pioneer, Joshua Tickell. The conversion of the Buff Buses to biodiesel was supported by a student referendum. Used fryer grease from the dining halls around campus is now processed into fuel for the Buff buses, leading some to comment that the bus exhaust smells like french fries.

Hiking Club

Founded in May 1919, the Hiking Club is the longest running student organization at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It is a non-profit, student-run organization for university students and affiliates interested in hiking and outdoors activities, with hundreds of active members on campus.

The club organizes member-led trips every weekend, and travels throughout the Rocky Mountain Region during breaks to wilderness areas in New Mexicomarker, Wyomingmarker, and Utahmarker. Depending on the outing, a variety of activities are featured such as climbing, mountain biking, hot-springing, and backpacking. Examples of frequent trip destinations include the nearby Indian Peaks Wildernessmarker, ascents of Colorado's fourteeners, and day-hikes among the picturesque Flatironsmarker.

The club motto, "half mile more," dates back to the 1940s of the club's tradition-rich history. A slide show of the club's activities is shown on campus during semi-annual new member meetings and the alumni association meets annually.

Radio 1190

KVCU AM-1190, popularly known as Radio 1190, is a college radio station affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder. Staff of the station are compensated with funds provided by the University of Colorado Student Union while operating funds are raised during biannual on-air pledge drives. It is also run by volunteers from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Boulder Freeride

Boulder Freeride is the ski and snowboard club at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It was started in 1933, and has thrived on the CU campus as a student run, nonprofit organization . It was designed to promote skiing, and later, snowboarding at the University of Colorado, Boulder campus. Boulder Freeride is the largest student group on campus, as well as the largest collegiate ski and snowboard club in the nation.

Boulder Freeride is active year-round. Fall activities include a camping trip, BBQs, popular ski and snowboard movie premieres, and one of the year’s biggest events, Welcome Freeriders.

Boulder Freeride organizes a number of ski trips each year. Past trips have included a Thanksgiving trip to Steamboat Springs, COmarker, an annual trip to Aspen, COmarker to see the X Games, spring break trips to Innsbruck, Austriamarker, Whistler, BCmarker and Chamonixmarker, Francemarker, and summer surf trips to South America.

Program Council

Established in 1953, Program Council is a student run group that coordinates concerts and movies played on campus throughout the year . Program Council mainly focuses on organizing concerts around campus. Over the years, this group has brought such acts as The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., The Ramones, and many more to the University of Colorado. Concerts vary in size ranging from large scale concerts, to smaller local acts, some of which are free to attend. Besides concerts, Program Council also hosts a film series throughout the year which allows students to see soon-to-be-released movies as well as cult classics for free in one of the large lecture halls on campus.

The Herd

The Herd is one of the largest student alumni groups in the nation, with over 6,000 members.. The Herd's main goal is increasing school spirit. Therefore, the Herd encourages students to attend school activities such as sports games and club meetings. The Herd also sponsors free bus rides to the ski slopes, discounts around Boulder, and pre-game parties. Twenty-five student leaders run the group; the group is open to currently enrolled students.

Volunteer Resource Center

The Volunteer Resource Center is a student funded organization aimed towards promoting volunteerism in the Boulder community. They provide a database with volunteer opportunities of 250 organizations around campus and in the Boulder area.. The CU Boulder Campus was recently one of 3 U.S. Universities to receive the Presidential Award for Exemplary Student Community Service in 2008. The Volunteer Resource Center hosts or participates in special volunteer events and activities including Alternative Breaks, Better Boulder Better World, and The Buffalo Can Challenge. The Volunteer Resource Center also a yearly Volunteer Internship Program which engages six selected students through an interview process to create events aimed at involving more freshmen in volunteering, effectively managing all logistics of the event, and implementing the events on campus.


Established in 1985, NightRide is based in the University Memorial Center. NightRide provides a free evening escort to CU's students, faculty and staff. NightRide will escort riders anywhere on campus and within the city of Boulder. In order to use NightRide, the rider calls the NightRide phone number and a driver will come to pick up the rider. Each driver drives a CU minivan or other CU owned car that is clearly marked with the CU NightRide name and phone number.

Sports, clubs, and traditions

Sports teams at the school are called Buffaloes. The varsity athletic teams participate in the NCAA’s Division I (FBS for Football Bowl Series, see Bowl Championship Series) as a member of the Big 12 Conference (North Division for football). The school's live mascot is an American Bison named Ralphie. The official school colors are silver and gold, as opposed to the common belief of black and gold. Silver and gold were chosen to represent the state's mineral wealth, but the colors did not look good together on the uniforms, so black was substituted. There are three official fight songs: "Glory Colorado," "Go Colorado," and "Fight CU."

In 1934, the University teams were officially nicknamed the "Buffaloes." Previous nicknames used by the press included the “Silver Helmets” and “Frontiersmen.” The final game of 1934, against the University of Denvermarker, saw the first running of a buffalo in a Colorado football game. A buffalo calf was rented from a local ranch and ran along the sidelines.

The logo of CU athletics
CU's varsity teams have won national championships in skiing, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, and football. Conference championships have also been won in several sports. Several club sports, such as cycling and triathlon, have won national championships in addition to the varsity teams.

In football, CU enjoys major rivalries with the Nebraskamarker Cornhuskers and the Colorado Statemarker Rams in the "Rocky Mountain Showdown." The game is sometimes played at the neutral site Invesco Field at Mile Highmarker. Since the 1990s, Colorado and Nebraska have finished their respective seasons in a nationally televised confrontation on the Friday following Thanksgiving.

The CU ski team has won 16 National Championships at the Division I level. The sport is not sponsored by the Big 12 Conference, however.

CU also includes a spirit program. The spirit program consists of three teams: two Cheerleading squads, and the CU Express Dance Team. The Cheerleading Program consists of a competitive co-ed squad as well as a competitive all-girl squad. Both the Cheerleading squad and the Express Dance Team compete at NCA/NDA College Nationals. In 2007, the Cheerleading squad finished sixth at NCA Nationals in Daytona Beach, Floridamarker. All squads support the home games of football, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Basketball and Women's Volleyball teams, along with other athletic and social events.

The costumed mascot CHIP is also a part of the CU Spirit Program. CHIP is a costumed buffalo that represents the University of Colorado at numerous athletic and social events.Along with the Cheer and Dance Program CHIP competes on a national level once a year against mascots from around the country including, Bucky Badger, Sparty, Aubie, Goldy Gopher and many other Hall of Fame mascots. Most recently CHIP competed in the 2009 UCA national competition and was crowned #1, and the national champion after performing a skit titled "CHIP's Favorite Video Games".
Folsom Field
CU also maintains one of the largest Club Sports departments in the U.S. It supports over 30 club teams with leading clubs such as crew, cycling, ultimate Frisbee, swimming/diving, fencing, men's lacrosse, softball, ice hockey, Rugby union, and the CU Triathlon Team.

Boulder offers a variety of political student organizations which cover the full spectrum of politics. Among them are Amnesty International, which focuses on human rights worldwide, as well as the College Democrats and the College Republicans.The University of Colorado also offers many clubs promoting diversity and human rights, such as the Gay Straight Alliance. Students can also choose from a plethora of clubs and organizations centered on ethnicities and countries, as well as different religious groups.

See also


  4. CU Hiking Club

External links

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