Western State Colorado University

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For the California college, see Western State University College of Law.
Western State Colorado University
Front of Taylor Hall at Western State Colorado University with sign of the school's new name, which became effective August 1, 2012
Motto The Destination College
Established 1901
Type Public
President Dr.Greg Salsbury
Academic staff 109
Undergraduates 2400
Location Gunnison, Colorado, United States
Colors Crimson and Slate
Mascot Mountaineers
Website Western.edu

Western State Colorado University, also known as Western, is a four-year public liberal arts college located in Gunnison, Colorado. The enrollment stands at about 2,400 students with a high percentage, one-fourth, from out of state. The most common majors at Western are business, art, recreation, biology, environmental studies, and outdoor leadership. Within the advanced science department, 94% of the staff have a doctorate degree. Western also offers a petroleum geology program, founded and funded by Western State College alumni donations. The college also has one of the oldest collegiate radio stations in the state with 91.1 KWSB, which has been on the air since 1968.




The Western State Colorado University Mountaineers compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) at the NCAA Division II level. Mountaineer teams compete in 13 sports: cross country skiing, football, volleyball, men's cross country, women's cross country, women's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball, wrestling, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, women's swimming and diving, men's outdoor track and field, and women's outdoor track and field. Facilities include Mountaineer Bowl (elevation 7,769 feet (2,368 m)) and Paul Wright Gym (elevation 7,723 feet (2,354 m)), which are both the highest collegiate facilities in the world.


Pathfinder, a bronze grizzly bear by Gene and Rebecca Tobey

In 1994, the school commissioned Santa Fe sculptors Gene and Rebecca Tobey to create a new work for the campus. The result was Pathfinder, a six-foot-tall bronze grizzly bear, which students have a custom of kissing for good luck during exams.[2] A bronze bull elk titled Wind River stands out by the skate park, also a Tobey work of art, as well as inside Leslie J. Savage Library, a small buffalo titled Wandering Star is on display. The Gene Tobey Memorial Art Scholarship at Western State Colorado University is one of three scholarships formed at his request; the other two scholarships being at Mason High School (Texas) and USU-College of Eastern Utah in Price, Utah.[3]

Western State College Foundation[edit]

The year 2011 celebrated 100 years of Western State Colorado University. Founded in 1911 as the Gunnison Normal School, the school evolved into Western State College of Colorado in 1923 and became Western State Colorado University in 2012 by legislative action of the state government and approval of Governor John Hickenlooper enacted August 1. In 1891 the idea of a college charter was first introduced by Gunnison representatives. Four years later in 1895 the first legislative bill was introduced. Six years later the Gunnison Normal School Bill known as House Bill 27 finally passed. Ten years of investment finally paid off when 80 students registered for the elementary program (High School) and 24 enrolled in the advanced course (college work) in the year 1911. Within 12 years of opening its doors the Gunnison Normal School became the first public liberal arts college west of the Mississippi being renamed Western State College of Colorado with the passage of House Bill 35 in 1923.

Philanthropy in the history of Western State Colorado University[edit]

In the 16 years prior to the opening of the doors, the Normal School experienced several pitfalls before becoming a reality. Legislative appropriations being minimal merely created the buildings and land for the school. It was the citizens of Gunnison who loaned the monies at no interest to provide for salaries and operating expenses to run the school in the sum of 50,000 dollars, which was eventually paid back within several years.

The Borick Business Building, a 7,000,000 dollar, 25,000 square foot building and home to the Department of Business, Accounting and Economics began with the 3+ million dollar challenge of Louis Lawrence Borick (1923 - 2011), who also created the Borick Business Scholarship Endowment on behalf of his son Steve. Steve later created the Steven Borick Business and Accounting Scholarship for outstanding minority students.

The top 100 benefactors of Western's first 100 years include the most senior alumni of class of 1936, Margaret Darr Crager, the class of 1966 with the most representation, and the class of 2000, Bob Wright.

The Board of Directors of Western State College Foundation believe philanthropy will play an important role in Western's next 100 years. The Western State College Foundation, Inc. is tax-exempt under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and gifts to it are deductible uner Sec. 170(b)(1)(A)(iv).

Information in this section is referenced to Heritage to Horizon: Celebrating Western's 100 year legacy, Western State College Foundation, Report of Appreciation 2010 - 11. Publication.[4]


In Books[edit]

Western State Colorado University is one of the settings in Eternal Starling, the first book of the Emblem of Eternity trilogy by Angela Corbett.

Notable Alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Western State College is now Western State Colorado University", Press release (Western State Colorado University), 2012-08-01, retrieved 2012-08-16 
  2. ^ Tobey, Rebecca. Partners in Art: Gene and Rebecca Tobey, p. 260. Fresco Fine Art Publications, 2007. ISBN 978-1-934491-02-7
  3. ^ ibid, p.345.
  4. ^ This publication can be picked up at the Aspinall Building, 909 East Escalante Drive, Gunnison, Colorado and contains all the names of benefactors and other alumni and memorials of the people who contributed to Western State Colorado University.
  5. ^ "Shane Carwin UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014. 

External links[edit]