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The 1880s: Academics, research, and outreach

January 29, 2010

On Feb. 11, Colorado State will honor the creation of the institution, the values that have sustained it, and its mission of service through teaching, research, and engagement with a Founders Day celebration, with events at the State Capitol and on campus in Fort Collins.

Charles L. Ingersoll, the second president (1881-1891), of what is now known as Colorado State University.

First academic semester

During Colorado Agricultural College’s first academic semester, the institution operated more as a college-preparatory program to prepare its students for their scholarly futures. True college-level instruction began the following spring semester after the CAC enacted a five-year course program to include an additional year for college-prep.

In the spring of 1882, President Edwards resigned and his successor, Charles Ingersoll, took over and helped the agricultural arm of the college to develop.

Research, teaching, and outreach

Research, teaching and outreach in the agricultural field flourished during the following years with the assistance of Ainsworth Blount, CAC’s first professor of practical agriculture. During his tenure at CAC, Blount contributed significant work to the development of Colorado’s dominant spring wheat adding $14 million to the wealth of the state by World War I.

In 1883, CAC began studies in animal science with the hiring of veterinary surgeon George Faville. During the fall of the same year a mechanics shop opened under the direction of Ingersoll, setting grounds for a future engineering program.

First three students graduate

President Ingersoll believed that while agriculture and engineering programs attracted male students to CAC, the university was in need of curriculum driven to meet the needs of female students as well. In response, Elizabeth and Maud Bell were hired and began teaching female-driven courses in English, history and modern language in 1885.

Colorado Agricultural College graduated its first three students during this decade, developed four defined courses of study, grew to 11 full-time faculty members, built numerous new research laboratories and installed electric power throughout campus buildings.

Written by Sarah Gianti, CSU Department of Public Relations intern, Journalism and Technical Communications ‘10.

Contact: Jennifer Dimas
Phone: (970) 491-1543