photo - Davide Delaplane
Newly appointed Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce director David Delaplane found a file folder labeled “Education Committee” with a few names listed inside. “There really ought to be a college here,” he said to himself. That began months of campaigning in multiple counties to bring the idea of a tax-funded college district to a vote.

Glenwood Springs native Lucile Bogue and others established Yampa Valley College, a private, four-year liberal arts school in Steamboat Springs.



The Leadville Chamber of Commerce directors appointed a committee to look into the formation of a junior college. This first committee included Don Stephens, Robert Zaitz, Dr. Nels Sullivan, James Higday, William French, Pat Harvey and Jack East.

Central Mountain Junior College was the first proposed name.



photo - scan of the original ballot to create the CMC districtOn November 2, 1965, the voters of five counties approved the formation of the college district by more than a 2-to-1 margin. The large size of the district was based on the requirements of the State of Colorado. The junior college plan was unanimously approved by the State Board of Education.

photo - Harold KoonceIn 1965, Governing Committee member Harold Koonce from Eagle proposed that the new school be called “Colorado Mountain College.” The name was adopted immediately and unanimously.



aerial photo of the initial construction at the Spring Valley campus in 1967Leadville and Spring Valley (Glenwood Springs), representing the largest population areas, were selected as the two campus locations. Photo courtesy Aspen Historical Society.

photo - Soring Valley land donorsSpring Valley ranchers and landowners Jim Quigley, Dan and Ellen Quigley, Jim and Sharon Nieslanik, Esther and Raymond Hopkins, Kathleen Hopkins, Jackie and Peter Cabrinha, Bob Peckham, Sam Campbell and Georges H. Dapples, William E. Foster, Bruce Dixson, and Luke Anthony donated 588 acres for the West Campus.

Yampa Valley College built Willett, Bogue, and Monson Halls on Woodchuck Hill, west of Steamboat Springs. The name was changed to Colorado Alpine College.



CMC logo from 1967
CMC held its first classes in the fall of 1967 at the East Campus (Leadville) and West Campus (Glenwood Springs). The first class schedule featured an architect’s rendering of the “interim” campus building. One “interim” building remained on campus for more than 40 years.

photo - Joe Davenport from newspaper clippingDr. Joe Davenport was the first president of CMC. He flew his own plane between the two original campuses in Leadville and Glenwood Springs. Just one month after classes began in 1967, he was killed while trying to land in Glenwood Springs.

photo - students line up at a cash register at registrationIn-district tuition in the fall of 1967 was $6.75 per credit hour. Today, in-state and in-district tuition is still the lowest in the state.

Most of the college’s 22 programs were offered in the first year of college operation: Astrogeophysical Technology, Automobile Mechanics, Building Trades, Civil Technology, Commercial Photography, Data Processing, Drafting-Design Technology, Electrical-Electronics Technology, Metals Technology, Industrial Management, Farm and Ranch Management, Food Service Technology, Home Economics, Landscape Technology, Mining Technology, Office Management, Photographic Technology, Recreation Supervision, Resort Management and Secretarial Science.



In 1968, college staff scheduled continuing education classes from the Aspen Police Department, sharing a desk with the night sergeant.

By 1968, summer art classes were offered by the college at the old Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village, which later became the privately-operated Anderson Ranch Art Center.

The first classes were offered in Eagle County during 1968.



By 1969 an off-campus continuing education office was opened in Leadville.

In 1969, Richard Brewer taught western civilization, the first course in the town of Minturn.

To increase publicity, CMC’s second president, Dr. Elbie Gann, skied with several students from the east side of the Continental Divide to the west. They arrived in a late spring blizzard, surrounded by television crews and reporters.

Colorado Alpine College folded. United States International University purchased the campus and later shut operations and moved to sell the property.



In July 1971, students from across the country gathered for “Summervail” at the Antholz Ranch near Vail to study pottery, glassblowing, painting, photography, and blacksmithing.
photo - an instructor demonstrate horse barrel racing

In 1971, the Rodeo Club flew to competitions in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.

The Salida Center opened in 1971, expanding the college’s service into Chaffee County.



Summit County offered courses through the Continuing Education Office in Eagle County. Twelve students enrolled that first quarter.

Robert Wamsley, personnel manager for the Union Carbide mill, scheduled the first classes for Rifle. Students met in homes, churches, city parks and basements of businesses.

Petitioned by local business people, the college opened a center in the Eagle Community Building.



The federal government awarded the college a $31,000 grant to start a Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Garfield, Pitkin, and Eagle counties.

Sunny Waggoner was the college’s first director in Chaffee County. She established the college’s operations in the old post office building at Second and E streets in Salida and hired Evelyn Melavic to assist.



photo - CMC Student in the Auto Mechanics program at Leadville working on dragster race car
Students in the Auto Mechanics program at Leadville built a race car that won trophies at auto shows and raced at Bandimere Speedway.

CMC received full accreditation by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.



photo - welding instructor Walt Stengel at CMC LeadvilleAt Leadville, two new buildings were constructed: Crown Point, which provided a gym, auto mechanic shop, garage for snowcats, and a classroom; and Rattling Jack, home for the welding shop.



photo - historic shot of the Quigley LibraryThe Quigley Library was built at West Campus (Spring Valley), named for the Quigley families who donated land for the campus. The passive solar structure designed by Jim Gustafson was cited by the American Institute of Architects for “establishing future directions” in college architecture.



photo - former Breckenridge Townhall which became a CMC campusThe college purchased Breckenridge Town Hall and renovated it to become the new continuing education center for Summit County.

photo - CMC President Dr. Dean LillieDr. F. Dean Lillie became the college’s third president. He expanded the Continuing Education program with more class offerings and locations throughout the district.



photo - CMC building on Railroad Avenue in Rifle, ColoradoAdapting to the growing need for classes in Rifle, the college renovated the old school building on Railroad Avenue and moved to its new home in the summer.

The Leadville College Center was built. It’s now called the Coronado Café.



photo of Buena Vista, Colorado
Colorado Mountain College in Chaffee County offered classes in many temporary facilities including Salida and Buena Vista.

CMC shared an office with the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce, and Director Marge Dorfmeister – a big supporter of CMC- helped keep it going. Dorfmeister taught creative writing at CMC for 10 years.



In Leadville, the campus name was changed from East Campus to Timberline Campus.



Routt County citizens in School District RE-2 voted 2-to-1 for joining the Colorado Mountain College District in May.

photo - CMC Steamboat Springs campus under initial constructionAlpine Campus became the newest member of Colorado Mountain College.

photo - Olymic skier Billy Kidd meets with CMD staff in Steamboat SpringsOlympic medalist Billy Kidd helped develop the Marketing: Ski Business program, the first of its kind in the nation.

Architectural rendering of the CMC Glenwood Springs CenterThe Glenwood continuing education facility was originally planned as a metal building. Center Director Martha Herzog proposed a passive solar structure, which became the largest of its kind ever funded by the Department of Energy.  It received several national awards and was featured on the cover of Solar Age magazine.



From the Leadville Herald Democrat: On the heels of a major national recession and an abrupt halt to oil shale/synfuels operations in western Colorado, Colorado Mountain College felt the same economic pressures of many of the region’s businesses and industries. A decline in molybdenum operations in Lake County complicated operations and enrollments at CMC even more…. In a climate of taxpayer dissent, CMC faced a petition from taxpayers calling for the dissolution of the CMC District and the affiliation of CMC with the state system of community colleges…. Proceedings for dissolution of the district and for CMC to join the state system was rejected by the state system.



photo - CMC Aspen goofing around with a skeleton in their officeThe college converted from the quarter calendar to the semester system.

photo - CMC President Dr. Gordon Snowbarger Dr. Gordon Snowbarger was appointed as the college’s fourth president. He presided over a period of financial challenge as enrollments dipped and budget cuts were implemented.



photo - CMC President Dr. Armen Sarafian and Colorado University President CU Dr. Gordon Gee.

CMC President Dr. Armen Sarafian and University of Colorado President Dr. Gordon Gee.

Staff and faculty arranged the first comprehensive transfer agreement between a two-year college and the University of Colorado at Boulder.  CU President Dr. Gordon Gee rode the train to Glenwood Springs to sign the agreement with Interim CMC President Dr. Armen Sarafian. At a light-hearted farewell party on June 30, 1987, Sarafian was “ticketed” by Glenwood Springs Police Lt. Dion Luke for “speeding” down the road of higher education. This was a reference to the president’s reputation for being fast, both at work and on the road.



graphic - Rolling Stone Magazine coverThe March Rolling Stone profiled Colorado Mountain College in a story titled “The Cool Schools,” along with Cornell, Syracuse, Dartmouth, Penn and MIT.

Alpine Campus student, Susan Fendel won a New Bedford Prize for student writing.  Other winning entries were from Harvard and Princeton.

Two full time instructors were hired to teach at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility.

photo - CMC President Dr. Dennis MayerDr. Dennis Mayer became CMC’s fifth president. He created new opportunities for local students through transfer agreements with other institutions such as Regis University, which then brought its classes to CMC campuses.



photo - skier Megan Carney on TVSki team members Meagan Carney and Erik Petersen captured the national championships in slalom. Carney was also National Collegiate Ski Association combined champion and the Smith-Corona Academic All-American.photo - skier Erik Petersen on TV



Photo - Sheri GriffithGraduate Sheri Griffith was named “Conservationist of the Year” by the U.S. Department of the Interior and later appointed to the National Public Lands Advisory Council by Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel.

Photo - Paul ChesleyThe work of Professional Photography graduate Paul Chesley was chosen to be included in the prestigious “100 Years of National Geographic” exhibition.

photo - Peter JeschofnigProfessor Peter Jeschofnig assisted nuclear physicists from Rockwell International, conducting high altitude cold-fusion experiments at the Timberline Campus.



U.S. News & World Report included Colorado Mountain College in the “Guide to America’s Best Colleges.” The article included only 15 other two-year colleges.

Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy held its North American summer school at the Vail Center, giving Colorado Mountain College students and teachers an opportunity to learn from the masters.

photo - Denise DimonAlumna Dr. Denise Dimon, a professor of economics at the University of San Diego, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to lecture in South America.



Former President Gerald R. Ford served as honorary co-chairman of Colorado Mountain College Foundation’s first annual fund campaign with his wife, Betty, along with Fitzhugh and Eileen Scott.

photo of the original dorms on the Leadville campus.“This institution of higher education is located at a higher elevation than any other college in the United States,” was the answer in a broadcast of the popular TV quiz show, “Jeopardy!,” on December 12, 1991. The question was “What is Colorado Mountain College?”



The Leadville campus was in jeopardy of having its residence halls closed. The CMC Board of Trustees met on September 20 to decide whether or not to move forward with converting the Timberline Campus to a commuter site. The campus and Leadville community rallied,  protesting in the media and flooding the conference room at the Board of Trustees meeting. The following month, the Board of Trustees recommended that the decision to close the residence halls be put on hold.

Timberline Campus offered a blackjack dealer class.



photo - Culinary arts students work in the kitchenIn partnership with Keystone Resort, CMC started a new culinary degree program featuring a European-style apprenticeship.

Spring Valley student, Terence Wood was named by USA Today to the All-USA Academic Team, one of only 20 students nationwide.

photo - Mary EbunaTimberline Campus Professor Mary Ebuna was named Colorado Developmental Educator of the Year.

photo - CMC President Dr. Cynthia HeelanDr. Cynthia Heelan was hired as the sixth president and is the longest-serving president in the college’s history to date. During her 10 years of service, she established a new interactive video network and implemented construction of new residence halls and academic buildings at multiple campuses.



Alpine Campus student Betty Trujillo was awarded the nation’s Outstanding Adult Learner Award.

CMC co-sponsored the first Aspen Internet Festival at the Aspen Institute.



photo - Peter Jeschofnig at his deskProfessor Peter Jeschofnig received the first of two Fulbright Fellowships, this to teach in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia.

CMC retired its debt.



photo - initial construction of the CMC Chaffee CenterRon Southard and his wife Carol Perrin donated property for the Chaffee County Academic Center.



photo - CMC Lappala Center ceremonial groiund-breakingThe new Lappala Center in Carbondale was built on land donated by long-time local Ginny Lappala

CMC began offering classes via interactive video. The IVS network was the largest in the state.

A team from CMC earned a bronze medal in the American Culinary Federation Western Regional Competition.

photo - aerial shot of the Spring Valley Campus and Gates soccer fieldsThe Gates Foundation awarded more than $400,000 to build a five-field soccer park at Spring Valley.



New residence halls opened at all three residential campuses.photo - demolition of the old residential hall at Spring Valley in 1995photo - Sopris Hall on the Spring Valley Campus



The CMC Foundation launched a $4.5 million campaign to support students and programs at CMC.

The Catto Family Foundation gave a $1.5 million gift to fund leadership programs.

photo - Calaway Building on the Spring Valley CampusThe Calaway Academic Building was built at Spring Valley.



photo - Morgridge family at Aspen celebrationThe Morgridge Family donated $1 million to support arts and technology.

photo - New Discovery Academic Center in LeadvilleThe New Discovery Academic Building opened at Timberline Campus in Leadville.



photo - a CMc nursing instructor works with a pair of studentsThe Nursing program graduated its first class with commendations of excellence from the State Board of Nursing.

photo - CMC President Cynthia HeelanPresident Cynthia Heelan became the chair of board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges.



photo - Morgridge Familiy Academic Center in AspenThe new Morgridge Family Academic Center opened for spring semester classes in Aspen.

photo - photographer Carr Clifton working from a boatThe United States Postal Service issued a new international rate postage stamp featuring the photograph of Acadia National Park by CMC Professional Photography graduate Carr Clifton.

photo - Barbara MilesAlpine Campus student Barbara Miles was named to the All USA Academic Team for her academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends education beyond the classroom to benefit society.



CMC graduates assisted with ski course preparation and guest management for the Salt Lake Winter Olympics.



BackPacker magazine featured Colorado Mountain College as one of the “top five outdoor-oriented colleges or universities in America.”

photo - CMC culinary team
The CMC Vail-Eagle Valley Culinary Team won the Colorado State American Culinary Federation Junior Team Competition in Denver.

photo - CMC President Bob SpuhlerDr. Robert Spuhler was hired as CMC’s seventh president.



photo - West Garfield Campus groundbreaking
EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. gave $3 million to help build the new West Garfield Campus.

CMC began online registration. Eligible students could register for classes online, and anyone could browse all course offerings at www.coloradomtn.edu/register.

Williams Co. gave $1 million toward construction of the new West Garfield Campus.

photo - CMC Buena Vista campusThe new Chaffee County Academic Center opened for classes.



photo - a process technolgy class at CMCShell Oil pledged $600,000 to support the CMC Process Technology program.

photo - Historic Preservation students work on an old ranch houseA new Historic Preservation program was supported by major universities and Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Colorado Mountain College purchased the Hayden Ranch.

photo - Leslie Rockey with Sandy the ball pythonCMC alumna Leslie Rockey was named Colorado Veterinary Technician of the Year.

Alpine Campus students served as international monitors for the Nicaraguan election.



Charles MacDonald of CMC’s Summit Campus, was awarded Colorado’s “Student Culinarian of the Year” by the American Culinary Federation.

photo - New library at CMC Leadville under constructionA new 10,796 square-foot library at Timberline Campus in Leadville opened for students for the fall semester.

photo - exterior of the CMC Rifle Campus at duskThe $12.35 million West Garfield Campus-EnCana Academic Center near Rifle opened for the fall semester as a result of major private gifts.

The CMC Nursing Program expanded from its original location at Spring Valley (Glenwood Springs) to Chaffee and Summit counties.



Dr. Stanley Jensen became CMC’s eighth president. He oversaw the implementation of bachelor degrees, the creation of the Isaacson School for New Media, and the construction of major new facilities.



photo - CMC Breckenridge CenterAhead of schedule and under budget, the new 34,000-square-foot CMC Breckenridge Center opened on August 29. Four deans who led the Summit Campus from 1975 were on hand for the celebration.

Enrollment in distance learning courses jumped 29 percent compared to the previous fall. The most popular courses were in  social sciences, business, and medical field related studies including the college’s medical assistant program.

photo - CMC President Dr. Stan Jensen signs the American College & University Presidents’ Climate CommitmenCMC President Dr. Stan Jensen signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. CMC joined 653 other colleges and universities in its commitment to create a climate action plan leading to climate-neutral operations of the college.



The Wall Street Journal posted an article listing the top Winter Olympian-producing colleges in the United States – and CMC made the list!

Billy Demong. Photo by: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Billy Demong. Photo by: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Former CMC student Johnny Spillane won the first U.S. Olympic medal in a Nordic combined event. His silver came in the normal hill individual Gundersen competition in Whistler, British Columbia. And Billy Demong, also a former CMC student, later won a gold medal in the individual large hill Gundersen event. Both Spillane and Demong were part of the U.S. Nordic Combined Team that won its first-ever Olympic medal.

Photo - construction of geoexchange heating and cooling systems for the library and residence hall at Spring ValleyConstruction started recently on new geoexchange heating and cooling systems for the library and residence hall at Spring Valley. They were the first major projects on a year-long list of energy-efficiency, college-wide upgrades. The upgrades, totaling $3.7 million, were implemented to save money/generate funds, replace obsolete systems up for replacement, and meet required adaptations to revised building codes.



photo - archeologist uncovering a fossilMastodon fossils were found in Snowmass Village. In collaboration with the Denver Museum of Science and Nature, CMC faculty eagerly assisted with the dig and created an on-site lecture series. The dig was featured in a NOVA documentary and based on the 100,000 year-old bones a long-term climate model for high elevations was developed.

photo - CMC Alpine Ski Team member skiing gates
CMC ski team moved up to NCAA Division 1 Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association. Student-athletes began competing in the strongest collegiate conference in the nation.

In the fall semester, Colorado Mountain College began offering bachelor degrees for the first time. Students could choose from a bachelor of Science in business administration and a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies.

photo - screen shot from the Nordica Sidecountry videoIn partnership with Nordica, Ski and Snowboard Business students helped design and create the marketing strategy for the new Sidecountry line of equipment. Using state-of-the-art facilities at the Steamboat Springs campus, students developed and created prototype skis, and then tested them for Nordica in Steamboat’s famed champagne powder.



logo - Isaacson School for New MediaThe Isaacson School for New Media opened. Named for Aspen Institute President and author Walter Isaacson, the school emphasizes digital journalism, digital media production, and digital marketing and design.

photo - Nate Solder playing professional football for the New England Patriots
Nate Solder, a former CMC dual enrollment student from Buena Vista High School, played in the 2012 Super Bowl. The year before he was selected in the first-round of the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

Chevron granted $150,000 for Colorado Mountain College Rifle to provide science education for teachers. The summer science experience for local teachers was aimed at combating a statewide deficit in science knowledge among elementary and middle-school students.

photo - CMC Culinary Team, state champions, 2012The CMC Culinary Apprentice Competition Team won the state title at the American Culinary Federation State Competition. The Executive Chef at Nestle USA presented the award.

photo - exterior of the CMC Steamboat Springs Academic CenterThe three-story, $18 million Academic Center opened at CMC Steamboat, featuring the Neas Dining Hall with expansive views, geo-exchange heating and cooling, and the large Allbright Auditorium. It replaced the three original buildings of Yampa Valley College.



logo - CNN Money
CNN Money ranked Colorado Mountain College among the top 20 in the nation for successful graduation and transfer rates. The school placed 17th among nearly 800 schools nationwide, and was number one in Colorado.

The U.S. Department of Education ranked Colorado Mountain College as the third-most affordable public college in the country because of its low bachelor’s degree tuition.

photo - Rifle Integrated Energy Professor Dr. Dennis Zhang
Rifle Integrated Energy Professor Dr. Dennis Zhang earned a patent for energy extraction. He developed a new, highly-efficient process for separating biomass from algae for use in biofuels production.

An independent analysis put CMC’s impact on the regional economy at $300 million per year.

Senate Bill 33, “Advancing Students For a Stronger Tomorrow” (ASSET), created a pathway for students who recently moved to Colorado – including lawful immigrants and permanent resident aliens – to qualify for in-state tuition rates. CMC Trustees extended in-district rates to ASSET students.

photo - CMC President Dr. Carrie Hauser
Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser was selected as the ninth president of Colorado Mountain College, promising to increase accessibility and opportunity, and to “meet students where they are.”



photo - Katie Uhlaender, Bobsled & Skeleton. Photo

Katie Uhlaender, Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Continuing a tradition for Colorado Mountain College, eight former or current students competed in the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Snowsports Industries America (SIA) partnered with CMC to create the first industry-wide certification, and the first testing center for the snowsports industry.

The Aspen Institute named CMC among the top 150 U.S. community colleges, putting it in the top 13% of community colleges nationwide.

photo - snow pit used for avalanche predictionCMC Leadville employed Twitter as a community resource for avalanche education. The hashtag #AvySavvyCMC launched to track daily facts with links to trusted experts, images, and resources.

CMC received the Institution of the Year award for promoting access to higher education to disadvantaged and diverse populations from the Colorado Educational Services & Development Association.

photo - new media studio check audio in a video shoot
The first $1 million was donated to support students in the Isaacson School for New Media by Aspen residents Jessica and John Fullerton.

Saling Simon graduated from Harvard University, eight years after getting his start at CMC. The psychology major credited CMC’s small class size and approachable instructors with jump-starting his interest in higher education.

photo - nursing student setup an IVBachelor of Science in Nursing degrees were offered for the first time at Colorado Mountain College.

The Reach Your Peak program was launched in partnership with 4 other Colorado community colleges, to create excitement about learning that motivated students toward further education. Supported by the El Pomar Foundation, the program aimed to inspire middle and high school students and spark interest in college and careers.



photo - Canoeing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, these six men embarked on their “Rediscovering North America” expedition Jan. 2. From left, are Winchell Delano, Adam Trigg, Luke Kimmes, John Keaveny, Jarrad Moore and Daniel Flynn. Photo: Luke Kimmes.

Winchell Delano, Adam Trigg, Luke Kimmes, John Keaveny, Jarrad Moore and Daniel Flynn. Photo: Luke Kimmes.

CMC Outdoor Education instructor Luke Kimmes and alumnus Jarrad Moore joined the Rediscovering North America canoe expedition, paddling upstream from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. The nine-month trip resulted in an award-winning documentary film.

The President’s Scholarship offered $1,000 to every graduating high school student in CMC’s 12,000 square-mile service area.

In an effort to eliminate the need for remediation among high school graduates, the Mountain Futures Fund was established. It provided financial aid for students to pursue a college education without incurring debt.

photo - CMC study abroad students on the Kilimanjaro SummitThe study abroad program reached the continent of Africa. Study areas included high-altitude wilderness trekking and non-technical mountaineering during six days on Mt. Kilimanjaro, and meeting the local Maasai community in the town of Kiserian on the edge of the Rift Valley.