Published: Dec. 1, 2015

Barack Obama

When Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit CU-Boulder, there was no primary election underway or debate on his schedule. This left time for a surprise visit to The Sink, where he mingled with patrons and autographed a wall inside.

You’ll find Obama’s name beside a spray-painted stencil of celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s face, both preserved beneath plastic for posterity.

After adventuring on The Hill, Obama addressed a crowd of nearly 10,000 students at Coors Events Center, focusing on the value of higher education and ways to make it more affordable for more people.

“I want all of you to know that the degree you earn from Colorado is going to be the best tool that you’ve got to achieve the American promise,” he said.

In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower visited a federal lab in Boulder, but did not come to campus.

Photography by Patrick Campbell