Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo officially) is a public institution of higher learning located in Pueblo, Colorado in the United States. Colorado State University-Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive state university with an enrollment of more than 4,600 students, including nearly 200 international students. Fully accredited and part of the Colorado State University System, CSU-Pueblo provides relevant professional coursework, superior instruction with a small professor-to-student ratio, and state-of-the-art technology for an ever-changing global economy. Invaluable hands-on experiences prepare CSU-Pueblo graduates for the demands of the modern world. Until 2003, the school was known as the University of Southern Colorado.
CSU-Pueblo's campus of more than , crowns the north end of Pueblo, a historically and culturally rich city of more than 100,000 located in the colorful Pikes Peak region of Southern Colorado. Pueblo is situated on the Front Range, within convenient driving distance of both Denver and Colorado Springs.
The Evolution of a Regional, Comprehensive University
Colorado State University-Pueblo has evolved from a three-room junior college at the Pueblo County Courthouse on the third floor with 63 students and two (2) instructors to a regional comprehensive university offering 29 baccalaureate and six master degree programs, serving more than 4,000 students from all 50 states and 23 countries. Over the past 75 years under four different names, the institution has graduated more than 35,000 students from 41 states and 32 countries. Today, more than 14,000 graduates live in Colorado.
The idea for starting a college in Pueblo initially was proposed in 1926, when a bill was put before the state Senate to begin a four-year school in the city. The bill was defeated by one vote, which put a halt to the idea of starting a college in Pueblo.
In the years following the Great Depression, the idea for a college in Pueblo was revived through the efforts of a local school teacher at Centennial High School, Eric T. Kelly.
At the time, Pueblo's primary employer, steelmaker Colorado Fuel & Iron Corp., no longer was hiring, a drought and dust storm was plaguing all of Southern Colorado and the City still was trying to recover from the devastateding floods of 1921.
Kelly organized a committe composed of several local business leaders to discuss the possibility of getting a college started, among them Frank Hoag, Jr., publisher of The Pueblo Chieftain and Star-Journal newspapers, Dr. C.N. Caldwell and J. Arthur Phelps.
The school originally was planned to be named San Isabel Junior College, but by the time the school had received incorporation it was changed to SCJC. The name change was made in an effort to broaden the recruitment area for the college.
The first classes at SCJC were held in the fall of 1933 in three vacant rooms on the third-floor of the Pueblo County Courthouse. Sixty-three students (31 full time and 32 part time enrolled and the staff consisted of two full-time and eight part-time instructors, a registrar and Kelly, who agreed to serve as the dean of students. of that first class of students, 17 would earn a degree with the first graduating class of 1935.
The university has operated under five different names:
Southern Colorado Junior College provided two years of college instruction in the arts, literature, and science, adult education and vocational opportunities, and coursework to complete a high school program.
Taking advantage of the Junior College Act of the General Assembly, the Pueblo County Junior College District was formed, making the college part of the public school system supported by county-wide taxes. The name change to Pueblo Junior College brought with it a change in mission. The institution offered the first two years of general study at the college level, providing the educational foundation for students seeking to transfer to complete their higher education degrees at four-year colleges and universities, and continued to offer a range of practical courses for those not seeking a higher education degree.
The 30th anniversary year saw the State enact legislation making the institution a four-year degree granting college and a member of the state system of higher education. The first juniors were enrolled in 1963, followed in 1964 by the first seniors and the first bachelor's degrees awarded in 1965. The name change to Southern Colorado State College reflected recognition of the need for more advanced degrees and an increase in the number of students pursuing a four-year degree in the southeastern region of Colorado. In 1964, Colorado State Senator Vincent Massari led the college to become a 4 year university. Senator Massari was instrumental in obtaining funds for a new campus in the Belmont area of Pueblo, moving from the old junior college campus on Orman Avenue.
As the demand for higher education programs increased, the number of academic degrees offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels increased. The first graduate program to be offered was the Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in industrial education beginning in 1972. In recognition of an expanded role and scope, the institution was granted university status and was renamed the University of Southern Colorado.
In May 2002, Governor Bill Owens signed legislation changing the mission and name to Colorado State University-Pueblo effective July 1, 2003. Today, the university is a regional, comprehensive institution with a focus on professional studies such as business, nursing, social work, and teacher education.
The University of Southern Colorado now Colorado State University-Pueblo adopted the "ThunderWolf" as its mascot prior to the 1995-96 academic school year. The ThunderWolf came to life as USC looked to modernize its image following over 60 years of being known as the "Indians." The legend of the "ThunderWolf" is as follows:
"The thunderwolf was discovered in the Southern Colorado foothills in 1933. The species is thought to be indigenous only on the city of Pueblo's beautiful horizon from the Spanish Peaks to the south to Pike's Peak to the north. A regal and majestic animal, the thunderwolf has evolved into the wisest and strongest of all beasts. The thunderwolf is cloaked with hair as blue as Colorado's skies, and with a mantelet of hair around its neck as white as Colorado's snow-capped mountain peaks. Longer guard hairs, as red as Colorado's rocky soil, abound throughout the white mantelet. Some say they have seen lightening bolts in the thunderwolf's large blue eyes.
Because it is an intelligent and inquisitive animal, the thunderwolf expands its knowledge and understanding of the environment daily. Although the thunderwolf exhibits a cooperative team spirit when hunting with the pack, it also is an individualistic thinker which helps the pack burst through paradigms when solving problems.
One of the most distinctive characteristics of thunderwolves is their ability to form unusual partnerships with other species to protect the environment for the general good. Their excellent communication skills have led some observers to believe thunderwolves may be able to communicate to different species from other countries.
Colorado State University-Pueblo is proud to be known as the ThunderWolves, and we hope the thunderwolves are proud of us as well."
The original ThunderWolf logo was put into place prior to the 1995-96 school year. Designed to elicit fear and reverence, the original logo contained a detailed head of a ThunderWolf with a mountain range in the background. After a few years of use, the logo was eventually scrapped for a more easily reproduced logo that contained the letters "USC".
The logo remained in use until the University of Southern Colorado changed its name prior to the 2003-04 school year to Colorado State University-Pueblo. While the university's main logo changed to mimic that of its parent institution, Colorado State University, the ThunderWolves logo went in another direction. Sleek and smooth, the ThunderWolves' remade logo as CSU-Pueblo remains today.
Students can choose from twenty-seven undergraduate programs. Classes are taught by faculty members, never graduate assistants, so you can be assured of expert instruction and a quality education.
Colorado State University-Pueblo's academic colleges are:
CSU-Pueblo belongs to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, an NCAA Division II conference. They have a successful baseball and racquetball team, as well as other sports such as basketball, golf, soccer, volleyball, and tennis. The 2005-2006 women's basketball team won the RMAC title. In 2007, the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System approved to bring back American football, wrestling, and women's track & field.
Since a college education extends beyond the classroom, CSU-Pueblo offers social, cultural, recreational, and personal development opportunities through involvement in more than 70 clubs and organizations. The Student Recreation Center introduces students to all that Colorado has to offer in outdoor activities. Rock-climbing, biking, rafting, hiking, and, of course, skiing are a few of the opportunities offered.
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