Colorado College

The Colorado College (CC) is a private liberal arts college in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was founded in 1874 by Reverend Thomas Nelson Haskell in his daughter's memory. The college enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduates at its 90-acre (36 ha) campus, 70 miles (110 km) south of Denver. The college offers 42 majors and 33 minors, and has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1.[3] Famous alumni include James Heckman, Ken Salazar, Lynne Cheney, Thomas Hornsby Ferril, Marc Webb, and Steve Sabol. Colorado College has an acceptance rate of 13.5%[4] for the Class of 2023, was ranked as the best private college in Colorado by Forbes,[5] and was listed as tied for the 23rd-best National Liberal Arts College, and as the No. 1 Most Innovative Liberal Arts School, in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report rankings.[6] In addition, Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Colorado College 16th in its 2018 rating of best value liberal arts colleges in the U.S.[7]

Colorado College
MottoScientia et Disciplina (Latin)
Endowment$765.2 million (2018)[1]
PresidentJill Tiefenthaler
Location, ,
United States

38.848°N 104.823°W / 38.848; -104.823
CampusUrban, 90 Acres
ColorsBlack and Gold[2]
AthleticsNCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC)
Division I National Collegiate Hockey Conference, men's ice hockey
Division I Mountain West Conference, women's soccer

Colorado College is affiliated with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Most sports teams are in the NCAA Division III, with the exception of Division I teams in men's hockey and women's soccer.


Colorado College was founded in 1874 on land designated by U.S. Civil War veteran General William Jackson Palmer, the founder of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and of Colorado Springs.[8] Founder Reverend Thomas Nelson Haskell described it as a coeducational liberal arts college in the tradition of Oberlin College. Like many U.S. colleges and universities that have endured from the 19th century, it now is secular in outlook, and it retains its liberal arts focus.

Cutler Hall, the college's first building, was completed in 1880 and the first degrees were conferred in 1882.

William F. Slocum, president from 1888 to 1917, oversaw the initial building of the campus, expanded the library and recruited top scholars in a number of fields.[8] In 1930, Shove Chapel was erected by Mr. John Gray, to meet the religious needs of the students (though Colorado College is not religiously affiliated).

Katharine Lee Bates wrote "America the Beautiful" during her summer teaching position at Colorado College in 1893.


The college offers more than 80 majors, minors, and specialized programs including: Southwest studies, feminist and gender studies, Asian studies, biochemistry, environmental science, neuroscience, Latin American studies, Russian and Eurasian studies, and American cultural studies, as well as an across-the-curriculum writing program. In addition to its undergraduate programs, the college offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree. Tutt Library has approximately half a million bound volumes. In 2012, Colorado College yielded a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1.[9]

Block plan

Colorado College follows a unique schedule known as the "block plan" in which students study one subject intensively for three-and-a-half-week "blocks", followed by a 4.5 day break. The intensity stems from the time commitment (classes meet for a minimum of three hours Monday through Friday) as well as the demand for engaging rapidly with complex content. Advocates say this allows for more lab time, field research, and an intensive hands-on learning experience with fewer distractions. Critics say that this approach to learning does not allow adequate time for students to digest complex topics.

The block plan epitomizes experiential learning. It is common for classes to take short or extended trips to apply classroom concepts in the real world. Because students only take one course for the duration of the block, professors have the flexibility to develop these types of excursions. For example, a renewable energy course might travel to a local wind farm or a geology class may take a week in Moab, Utah to study geological patterns in the region. A satellite campus in Crestone, Colorado at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains known as "Baca Campus" offers a retreat destination often utilized by language, philosophy, writing, and religion courses. Baca Campus boasts a lodge, conference center, classroom, restaurant, and student townhouse facilities. Some courses will even spend an entire block immersed in an area of interest. These occur both domestically and internationally.

After each block, students are rewarded with 4.5 days off. Most students head off campus, often involving some type of outdoor exploration.

Every student begins the Colorado College journey with a "First Year Experience" course, or FYE. This is a back-to-back block spanning 8 weeks and functions as a freshmen seminar course.

Students can also take blocks during winter and summer breaks. In January, the college offers "half blocks," an intensive 10-day course fulfilling a half credit. Meanwhile, summer blocks are three weeks long, and there are also graduate blocks of differing lengths. In parallel with the students, professors teach only one block at a time. Classes are generally capped at 25 students to encourage a more personalized academic experience.


Colorado College is considered a "most selective school" by U.S. News & World Report.[10]

For the Class of 2023 (enrolled fall 2019), Colorado College received a record 9,454 applications (an increase of nearly 1,000 applicants over the Class of 2022) and admitted 13.5%, the lowest acceptance rate in the school's history, with 547 incoming students.[4] Students of color make up 27 percent of the incoming class, 15 percent are Pell Grant recipients, 9 percent first-generation students, and 9 percent international students. Nearly 15 percent of the class is from Colorado (14.6 percent) and 71 of its members are part of the Bridge Scholars Program, which offers a welcoming community, supportive mentoring, and engaging and challenging coursework for first year students.[11]

Additionally, the class include 48 QuestBridge students; QuestBridge is a non-profit organization that matches high-achieving, underserved students with opportunities in higher education. CC is now in the sixth year of its partnership with the QuestBridge organization. [12]


University rankings
Forbes[13] 92
Times/WSJ[14] 111
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[15] 27
Washington Monthly[16] 66

In its 2020 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranks Colorado College as tied for 27th best liberal arts college in the nation and No. 3 among the most innovative national liberal arts colleges.[6] The most innovative schools are those "making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities."[17]

Kiplinger's Personal Finance places Colorado College 16th in its 2017 ranking of best value liberal arts colleges in the United States.[7]

In 2019, Forbes rated it 92nd overall in "America's Top Colleges," which ranked 650 national universities, liberal arts colleges and service academies.

CC is considered a "Hidden Ivy."


Students must satisfactorily complete 32 credits to graduate in addition to specifying a major of study and fulfilling those requirements. The college offers a unique alternative for students who wish to design their own major. However, standardized cross-cutting requirements still apply, though these criteria are fairly broad compared to those at comparable colleges.[18]

Student Life


The small campus of 2,000 boasts more than one hundred clubs and student groups, ranging from professional groups, interests clubs, and social groups. Among them are intramural sports groups, which have a strong presence on campus. There are a vibrant array of intramural teams, ranging from broomball to ultimate frisbee.[19]


Most students live on or directly adjacent to the college campus, fostering a closed and tight-knit community. During the first two years of study, students are required to live on campus in one of the student dorms, while apartments and student-owned housing become available as upperclassmen.[20]


Both inside and outside of the classroom, students at Colorado College have a reputation for being collaborative, intellectual, and adventurous. A 'work hard, play hard' motto is commonly referenced on campus. However, 'play' for Colorado College students is distinctive. Many students share a thirst for outdoor exploration, and can be found hiking, biking, climbing, and skiing, among other things. Colorado College's proximity to the Rocky Mountains and several mountain resort communities create an ideal environment for these types of activities. Students are also active in community engagement activities to advance social justice and sustainability.


Many of the earliest campus buildings, including Bemis, Cossitt, Cutler, McGregor, Montgomery, Palmer, and Ticknor Halls, are on the National Register of Historic Places, along with Shove Memorial Chapel and the William I. Spencer Center. Arthur House or Edgeplain, once home to the son of President Chester A. Arthur, is also on the National Register.[21]

Since the mid-1950s, newer facilities include three large residence halls, Worner Campus Center, Olin Hall of Science and the Barnes Science Center, Honnen Ice Rink, Boettcher Health Center, Schlessman Pool, Armstrong Hall of Humanities, and the El Pomar Sports Center. The face of campus changed again at the beginning of the 21st century with construction of the Western Ridge Housing Complex, which offers apartment-style living for upper-division students and completion of the Russell T. Tutt Science Center. The east campus has been expanded, and is now home to the Greek Quad and several small residence halls known as "theme houses."

Some of the more recent notable buildings include Tutt Library, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and later expanded and renovated by Pfeiffer Partners to be the largest carbon-neutral academic library in the United States, which received the 2019 AIA/ALA Library Building Award and a 2019 Architizer A+ Award, Packard Hall of Music and Art, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, and the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, which was designed by Antoine Predock with input from faculty and students.

Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center

Colorado College's Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, completed in 2008 and located at the intersection of a performing arts corridor in Colorado Springs, was designed to foster creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration. It is home to the college's film, drama and dance departments and contains a large theater, several smaller performance spaces, a screening room, the I.D.E.A. Space gallery, and classrooms, among other rooms. The building is also LEED certified.


The school's sports teams are nicknamed the "Tigers." Colorado College competes at the NCAA Division III level in all sports except men's hockey, in which it participates in the NCAA Division I National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and women's soccer, where it competes as an NCAA Division I team in the Mountain West Conference. CC dropped its intercollegiate athletic programs in football, softball, and women's water polo following the 2008–09 academic year.[22]

In 1994, a student referendum to change the athletic teams' nicknames to the Cutthroat Trout narrowly failed, by a margin of 468-423.[23]

The Tigers hockey team won the NCAA Division I championship twice (1950, 1957), were runners up three times (1952, 1955, 1996) and have made the NCAA Tournament eighteen times, including eleven times since 1995.[24] In 1996, 1997, and 2005, CC played in the Frozen Four, finishing second in 1996. Fifty-five CC Tigers have been named All-Americans.[25] Hockey Hall of Fame coach Bob Johnson coached the Tigers from 1963 to 1966.[26]

The current hockey coach is Mike Haviland, who had been head coach of the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League and was an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League.

KRCC radio

Colorado College operates National Public Radio Member Station KRCC-FM. In 1944, KRCC began as a two-room public address system in the basement of Bemis Hall. Professor Woodson "Chief" Tyree, Director of Radio and Drama Department at Colorado College was the founder and inspirational force in the program that one day became KRCC-FM. In 1946, KRCC moved to South Hall (where Packard Hall now stands) on campus where two students, Charles "Bud" Edmonds '51, and Margaret Merle-Smith '51, were instrumental in securing a war surplus FM transmitter. KRCC began over the air broadcasting in April 1951 as the first non-commercial educational FM radio station in the state of Colorado.

KRCC broadcasts through a series of eleven transmitters and translators throughout southern Colorado and a portion of northern New Mexico. KRCC's main transmitter, atop Cheyenne Mountain, broadcasts three separate HD multi-cast channels, including a channel run completely by Colorado College students called the SOCC (Sounds of Colorado College).

Notable people


Colorado College's alumni include a Nobel Prize winner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, 2 MacArthur Fellows, 14 Rhodes Scholars, 31 Fulbright Scholars, and 68 Watson Fellows.[27] CC has also graduated 18 Olympians[27] and 170 professional hockey players, including over 30 current and former NHL players.[28][29]

Selected notable graduates include:

Faculty and staff

Notable faculty members include:


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  6. "Colorado College". U.S. News & World Report.
  7. "Kiplinger's Best College Values: College Rankings, 2017". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. December 2017.
  8. Colorado College. History of Colorado College Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on: 2010-05-19.
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  10. "Colorado College". U.S. News & World Report. 2016.
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  16. "2019 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  17. "Most Innovative Schools – National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. 2020.
  18. Requirements • Colorado College
  19. The Curriculum • Colorado College
  20. On-Campus Housing • Housing & Conferences Colorado College
  21. El Paso County – Colorado State Register of Historic Properties Archived December 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. History Colorado. June 8, 2013.
  22. Tough Times, Tough Decisions: Athletics Cuts at CC | Bulletin
  23. The Trout that Almost Was | Cipher
  24. Colorado College | Ice Hockey History NCAA Tournament Archived September 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  25. Colorado College | Ice Hockey History All-Americans Archived February 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  26. Colorado College | Ice Hockey History Coaches Archived September 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
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  31. "Marcia McNutt Elected 22nd NAS President; New Treasurer, Council Members Chosen" (Press release). National Academy of Sciences. February 16, 2016. Archived from the original on February 21, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
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  33. Grant, Katie. "The Road to Writing Is Not Always Paved". Colorado College Bulletin.
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  36. "Peter Blasenheim". Colorado College. Archived from the original on May 27, 2011. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  37. Hayward, Steven (2011). Don't Be Afraid. Knopf Canada. pp. 313. ISBN 0676977367.
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  39. "2012 Finalists". Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  40. William Heuslein (January 19, 2010). "The Man Who Predicts The Medals". Forbes.

Further reading

  • Dunn, Joe P., "A Mission on the Frontier: Edward P. Tenney, Colorado College, the New West Education Commission, and the School Movement for Mormons and ‘Mexicans,’" History of Education Quarterly, 52 (Nov. 2012), 535–58.
  • Loevy, Robert D. Colorado College: A Place of Learning, 1874–1999. Colorado Springs: Colorado College, 1999.
  • Reid, J. Juan. Colorado College: The First Century, 1874–1974. Colorado Springs: Colorado College, 1979.
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