Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Ask Cam

The naming of names

September 1, 2009


Dearest Cam, Since Colorado wasn't inducted into the union as a state until 1876, and CSU was originally founded in 1870, what was the name of the university back then?

Cam’s answer:

Dearest Cam! That feels almost as good as a belly rub on my wooly hide!

Interesting question. I have to admit I never thought about how Colorado joined the union (the 38th state to do so) a few years after CSU was founded. In fact, Fort Collins was incorporated as a town in 1873, three years before statehood. That’ll show some depth to our history!


Elijah Evan Edwards (1831-1915), first president from 1879-1881.

Naming names

I consulted CSU’s definitive history book, Democracy’s College in the Centennial State by James Hansen, and discovered a bunch of cool stuff. Colorado’s territorial government did, indeed, enact legislation locating an agricultural college here in 1870, when the population of the entire state was not quite 40,000.

A rose by any other name

When the first class (with five students) 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 wide variety of unofficial names for our school became part of society’s vernacular, waxing and waning with the times.

Doesn’t end there

More (official) names were to come. In 1935, the college was renamed Colorado State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, and in 1944, Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Phew. Almost done.

Now we’re CSU

In 1957, under President William Morgan, our institution became Colorado State University by an act of the General Assembly, and that’s the name we’ve all come to know and love.

But feel free to work up your own nicknames for our mighty CSU – as long as those names don’t confuse us with the band of Buffalos that inhabit regions south of us!

Just call me:
Cam the Ram