Colorado Women's College

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Colorado Women's College (CWC) is a women's college in Denver, Colorado that opened in 1909 as a private, independent, institution. The school merged with the University of Denver in 1982 and continues to operate as a division within the University that focuses on evening, weekend, and online courses for women.[1]

Porter Hall (now President's Hall) at the former Colorado Women's College campus
Curtis Hall (now Gaebe Hall) at the former Colorado Women's College campus
The chapel at the former Colorado Women's College campus
The chapel and amphitheater at the former Colorado Women's College campus


CWC was founded by the Rev. Robert Cameron, the pastor of Denver's First Baptist Church, who wished to open a women's college in the Western United States that would be equivalent to Vassar College in terms of prestige and academic offerings.

Incorporated in 1888, the college did not open until 21 years later. It received its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission as Colorado Woman's College in 1932, which it maintained until its closing. The college was renamed Temple Buell College in 1967 in honor of a local philanthropist who made a $25 million (USD) gift to the college the year before. The name-change alienated old grads and their donations fell. Ironically, the Buell "gift" was in fact a legacy in the philanthropist's will (Temple Buell 1895-1990). In response to these financial struggles, the college changed its name to Colorado Women's College. A residential college, CWC had an active social life for students. The campus newspaper was titled The Western Graphic; other publications included yearbooks and scrapbooks. The college also had athletic offerings, including field hockey and basketball.

By the late 1970s, the college had experienced continued falling enrollment and funding, with higher education specialist Gary A. Knight deeming the college "financially desperate" and lacking enough prospective students, the "lifeblood" of the college, to sustain itself. In 1982, CWC's assets were sold to the University of Denver, a private university that opened The Women's College of the University of Denver that same year. The University considers that unit, which subsequently regained its original name as the "Colorado Women's College," to stand in historical continuity with the original, independent, "Colorado Women's College."[2] The original Colorado Women's College campus was home to the Women's College until 2001, when it became the Denver campus of Johnson & Wales University.

2015 Reimagining[edit]

On 18 February 2015 University of Denver issued a press release that they will "reimagine the College’s future" of CWC and cease operation at the "end of the 2016 academic year." The University of Denver reported there were 152 students enrolled in the program. Alumnae have organized as Denver's Sisters United to save Colorado Women's College.

Notable alumnae[edit]

Rebecca King, Miss America 1974


  1. ^ "Colorado Women's College". Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ "History of the Colorado Women's College". Retrieved December 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°40′50″N 104°57′54″W / 39.680632°N 104.964916°W / 39.680632; -104.964916