Published: Aug. 29, 2019 By

More than 40 students are beginning their engineering education this week in Gunnison, Colorado, as the inaugural class in a new partnership program between CU Boulder and Western Colorado University.

The highly qualified class includes 28 mechanical engineering students and 15 computer science students, with two-thirds of students hailing from Colorado. The majority are new first-year students, but the cohort also includes several transfer students.

Dean Bobby Braun at laptopStudents listen to Dea n Braun at welcome lunchCU Boulder Dean Bobby Braun joined Western President Greg Salsbury and other administrators in greeting the new students on Thursday via video with a message of welcome to the students in this unique program that’s transforming engineering education across the state.

“You hold a special place in our college’s history, and we’re proud to have you join our community,” Braun said. “Not only are you opening the door to a prosperous and exciting future for yourselves, you’re also helping strengthen our state and nation’s economy, security and quality of life.”

The partnership, announced in fall 2018, allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or computer science from CU Boulder while taking all courses on the Western campus in Gunnison. Participants complete their first two years as Western Colorado University students before taking upper-level courses taught by CU Boulder faculty who live and work full-time on the Western Slope.

In addition to smaller classes and lower overall tuition, participants in the program can take advantage of career fairs, research programs and other opportunities on the CU Boulder campus. When the time comes, all will be invited to don cap and gown and join the graduation ceremonies in Boulder.

The partnership was made possible through the support of Western alumnus and CU Engineering Advisory Board member Paul Rady, chairman and CEO of Antero Resources, a Denver oil and gas company. Construction is underway now on a 75,000-square-foot facility to house the Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science and Engineering, slated to open in 2020.