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CU-Boulder's history is one of vision and determination-useful traits for pioneers dreaming of educational opportunities in the days of the Colorado Territory. In 1876, both the university and the state of Colorado were formally established. Forty-four students formed the first class, taught by three instructors. Situated on a "barren and wind-swept plain," Old Main housed not only the first classrooms, but the president's home, the library, and the janitor's quarters.
In the 135 years since that modest beginning, our university has blossomed in size and quality-attracting superb faculty, staff, and students to our breathtaking campus set against the Flatirons. We have built strong academic programs in the sciences, engineering, business, law, arts, humanities, education, music, and many other disciplines. Over the years, we have also claimed a number of Nobel laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and elected members of prestigious national organizations and academies.
Today, we embrace our role as the Colorado's flagship public research university. The rich interplay of ideas across academic boundaries on our campus has fostered a spirit of innovation and discovery that puts us in a unique position-both to serve the people of Colorado and to enhance the well being of humankind through excellence in our teaching, research, creative work, and service.
CU-Boulder has one of the most majestic and popular college mascots in all of intercollegiate athletics, a real buffalo named Ralphie. "Ralphie IV" and her handlers lead the football team out on the field at the beginning and second half of each football game.
The buffalo first appeared in 1934, three weeks after a contest to select an official school nickname by the Silver & Gold newspaper had come to an end and "Buffaloes" was the winning entry. For the final game of the '34 season, a group of students paid $25 to rent a buffalo calf along with a real cowboy as his keeper. It took the cowboy and four students to keep the calf under control on the sidelines, a 7-0 win at the University of Denver on Thanksgiving Day. For a complete history, visit CUBuffs.com.
Since 1888, CU-Boulder students have proudly worn the official school colors: silver and gold, symbolizing the mineral riches of Colorado. Today, black is often used as a background color to provide greater contrast for the gold.
On June 9, 1935, President Norlin, an articulate speaker, gave a baccalaureate address that has become the traditional charge to graduates of the university. It is now read at each commencement on all four CU campuses.
He said in part: "The university consists of all who come into and go forth from her halls, who are touched by her influence and who carry on her spirit. Wherever you go, the university goes with you." This charge has inspired generations of CU graduates ever since.
Alma Mater Song
Hail, all hail our Alma Mater!
Ever will our hearts be true:
You will live with us forever,
Loyal we will be with you.
We will sing forever your praises,
Ever more our love renew,
Pledge our whole devotion to you.
Dear old CU!
Read about other graduation traditions >>
The first University Bell was hung in the belfry of Old Main in 1878. It signaled class changes until 1926, when a large crack appeared during the celebratory ringing that followed a football victory over the Colorado School of Mines.
The carillon bells (a set of bells played by a keyboard) are located in Macky Auditorium and they can be heard ringing out across campus at the top of the hour.
As a member of the Boulder community and the University of Colorado, I agree to:
I will strive to uphold these principles in all aspects of my collegiate experience and beyond.
Go to Colorado Creed website
For 63 years, experts in every field imaginable have converged on campus for a week in April to discuss everything from cancer and the justice system to alien encounters and what makes a person attractive. The conference has attracted many notable people including Patch Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Molly Ivins, Arthur Miller, R. Buckminster Fuller, Steve Allen and Roger Ebert, to name a few.
See the schedule for the Conference on World Affairs
For more than five decades, summer evenings at the Mary Rippon Theatre have rung with laughter and lament as professional and amateur actors bewitch audiences. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is the second longest running Shakespeare festival in the country, and in 1975 it became the seventh theatre in the world to perform the entire Shakespeare canon.
Go to Colorado Shakespeare Festival website
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