CU-Boulder Heritage Center Highlights 1956-63 University Changes

Published: Dec. 30, 1997

Nearly 35 years after the end of his presidency at CU-Boulder, Quigg Newton returned to campus last fall for the opening of “A Changing University for A Changing World: The Newton Years.”

The tribute at the CU Heritage Center documents world and local events from 1956 to 1963 and will be on display through March 1998.

“CU was at an early stage of fundamental transition from being a good university to a more mature university with emphasis on education and research,” said Newton. “The role my colleagues and I played was to accelerate, but by no means complete, that transition,” Newton said. The period was marked by the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik and the subsequent efforts of the U.S. government to improve higher education. CU received increased funding and research grants as a result of the government’s mission. Existing programs were expanded and science and engineering research facilities were created, all becoming a tremendous catalyst for growth at CU.

There also were clashes during the period over deeply felt issues including the distribution of left-wing papers on campus, racial tensions over the “Little Bit of Dixie” homecoming theme in 1959 and the notorious Sonny Grandelius football recruiting scandal. The display documents these and many other events with photos and clippings from the era.

The Klauder model has been included in the exhibit because the concept of having a Design Review Board was developed during Newton’s administration, indicating a real commitment by the university to preserve the architectural design themes and building materials used by architect Charles Klauder.

“Recent headlines identifying CU as one of the top 10 research universities in the country illustrate the results of efforts begun during the Newton administration to shape the University of Colorado into a modern research university,” said Kay Oltmans of the Heritage Center project. “The exhibit spans the decades from the developmental stages of this intellectual and physical plant expansion to current research and building projects.”

Campus planning came into its own during this period of expansion. The Design Review Board was developed, and there was new respect for Klauder’s 1919 campus plan, after a respected firm updated the plan to accommodate 20,000 students.

The “Newton Years” display includes a campus model showing changes in the campus plan. A long-range plan was in effect from 1963 to 1979 and today the Heritage Center is currently working from a 1990 plan with a new version planned for early 1999.

The CU Heritage Center is located on the third floor of Old Main on the Boulder campus and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Admission is free of charge, and the exhibit will run through March 1998.

For more information call the CU-Boulder Heritage Center at 492-6329.