In 1979, the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder faced a threat: Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm’s budget proposal suggested eliminating the School of Education and encouraged making the University of Northern Colorado the state’s “center of excellence” for education.

According to the Daily Camera’s Feb. 8, 1979, edition, School of Education graduate students assembled to fight back, and Dean Richard L. Turner urged graduate students to start a letter-writing campaign to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. At the time, the University of Colorado Boulder offered the state’s only PhD research degree in education. While UNC offered a Doctor of Education degree, it was a practitioner’s degree.

“CU is the only major research university in the Rocky Mountain region, and removing the education component would be a serious mistake,” Turner said. 

Furthermore, “phasing out the School of Education would cost the city of Boulder at least $9 million in economic activity by students and faculty,” CU Chancellor J. Russell Nelson told the Board of Regents. He concluded that the motion would save the state very little money while eliminating a “well-developed, mature and effective educational program.” 

Later that spring, the Daily Camera reported that the outcry from the dean, students and campus aided in the retention of many of the same fields of graduate education that are the hallmark of the School of Education’s graduate studies today: research and evaluation methodology, curriculum and instruction, social and multicultural foundations, and educational-psychological studies.

Pictured: Dean Richard L. Turner of the CU Boulder School of Education urged graduate students to begin a letter-writing campaign aimed at preventing a proposed phase-out of the school from Gov. Dick Lamm. (Daily Camera Collection, CU Heritage Center)