Western State Colorado University

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Western State Colorado University
Western State Colorado University.png
Type Public
Established 1901
President Greg Salsbury
Academic staff
Undergraduates 2419
Postgraduates 307
Location Gunnison, Colorado, United States
38°32′56″N 106°55′12″W / 38.549°N 106.920°W / 38.549; -106.920Coordinates: 38°32′56″N 106°55′12″W / 38.549°N 106.920°W / 38.549; -106.920
Campus Rural, 350 acres
Colors Crimson and Slate[1]
Athletics NCAA Division IIRocky Mountain
Nickname Mountaineers
Website www.western.edu

Western State Colorado University, also known as Western, is a four-year public liberal arts college located in the bucolic valley of Gunnison, Colorado. Approximately 2,400 undergraduate and 200 graduate students attend Western, with one-fourth coming from out of state. Of the 22 undergraduate majors, the most popular are business administration, biology, exercise and sport science, recreation and outdoor leadership, and psychology. Western also offers undergraduate programs in petroleum geology and professional land and resource management, both funded by donations through the Western State Colorado University Foundation. Further, it offers a low residency MFA program in creative writing, including genre fiction, poetry and screen and television writing. Students participate in the low residency MFA program from as far as way as China.[2][3] The college has one of the oldest collegiate radio stations in the state, 91.1 KWSB, which has been on the air since 1968.


Front of Taylor Hall at Western State Colorado University with sign of the school's new name, which became effective August 1, 2012

The institution was established in 1901 and opened for classes in 1911 as the Colorado State Normal School, the first college on Colorado's Western Slope. This initial focus as a preparatory college for teachers resulted in a commitment to teacher preparation programs that continues to today. In 1923 the college's name was changed to Western State College of Colorado in recognition of its expanding programs in the liberal arts at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The college continued to grow, particularly after World War II when returning veterans attended on the GI Bill, and academic and co-curricular programs capitalizing on the college's unique mountain setting were continually added. In 2012 the institution was renamed Western State Colorado University.[2][4]


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: 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.

The Mountaineers have won 93 RMAC team titles and 15 team National Championships. Individually, Western has produced 990 All-Americans and 30 Academic All-American honors.[5]


Western has a community focused culture. It is a small mountain town that is welcoming despite the cold winters. Classes are small and the professors are focused on the student and their goals more than their own personal research. This is where the "private institution a public school price" valuation statement comes from.

Western is a destination college and students choose the university in part because of the amazing recreational opportunities in the surrounding areas. Some of which include world class mountain biking, skiing, climbing, kayak, fishing, and elk hunting.

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. 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.[6]

Western State Colorado Foundation[edit]

The Western State Colorado University Foundation is a private non-profit corporation founded in 1975. It is the primary depository of private gifts from alumni, friends, corporations, and foundations used to advance the mission and goals of Western State Colorado University. Each year, the Foundation gives more than $2 million to the University, with the greatest portion directed to scholarships.[2]


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.[7]

In News

According to the Denver Post, the school has struggled finically and operated at aloss ffrom2011-2015s.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.western.edu/sites/default/files/media/raw/Western_Brand_Identity_Guidelines_083013.pdf
  2. ^ a b c "2013–2014 University Catalog" (PDF). Western State Colorado University. Retrieved 2014-10-20. 
  3. ^ "Western State Colorado University". Retrieved 2014-10-20. 
  4. ^ Fay, Abbott (1968). Mountain Academia: A History of Western State College of Colorado. Boulder: Pruett Press. 
  5. ^ http://www.GoMountaineers.com
  6. ^ Tobey, Rebecca (2007). Partners in Art: Gene and Rebecca Tobey. Albuquerque: Fresco Fine Art Publications. ISBN 978-1-934491-02-7. 
  7. ^ http://www.angelacorbett.com
  8. ^ "Shane Carwin UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  9. ^ "Runaway Champion: Exclusive Interview With Tyler Pennel". Competitor.com. 
  10. ^ Lieber, Jill (27 January 1988). "Targeting The Top". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 

External links[edit]