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Ask Cam

Naming names

February 21, 2011

The proud, the mighty, the wooly one - Cam the RamQuestion:

Cam, I just came from the Founders Day celebration on the Plaza, and this guy was telling me our name hasn't been Colorado State University for very long. What's the big idea?

Cam's answer:

Only if you think 54 years is not very long. In the Wooly World of Rams, that's pretty long, in my humble opinion.

Glad you asked, though. I think the history of our University's changing names throughout the years is pretty interesting. Hence, I dug up some info in Emeritus Professor James Hansen's book, Democracy’s College in the Centennial State, and here's the results.

Changing names, changing eras

When the first class began in September 1879, the school was officially known as the State Agricultural College of Colorado and unofficially as Colorado Agricultural College and the State Agricultural College. Similar to the nicknames most of us have, the variety of unofficial names for our school became part of society’s vernacular, waxing and waning with the times.

(And my own name is a perfect example! I'm Cam, Cam the Ram, Cammie, the Camulator, Wooly One, Ramster, Ram-bo, and on and on. Call me anything, just don't call me late for dinner!)

In 1935, the college was renamed Colorado State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, and in 1944, Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College. Also in the 1940s, the student body adopted a new college nickname and mascot, the Rams. (And that's the era from whence came my name - CAM: Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College.)

In 1957, under President William Morgan, the institution became Colorado State University by an act of the General Assembly. The end. 

Yours in vernacular waxings and wanings,

Cam the Ram