At the Capitol in Denver on Friday, May 31, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed Colorado House Bill 1178—officially simplifying Western State Colorado University’s name to “Western Colorado University.” The occasion capped a year of enormous transition for the university.
Leaders at Western have been taking innovative steps in recent years to shape the school’s curriculum and prepare students to meet the needs of a rapidly changing economy. Much of that work has been realized through dramatic advancements during the 2018-19 academic year.
In September 2018, the university announced a game-changing $80 million donation from alumnus Paul Rady ’78 to establish the Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering. At the heart of the gift is an innovative partnership between Western and the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering & Applied Science to extend CU Boulder’s world-class engineering and applied science education to Western.
Students enter the program through Western and transfer to CU Boulder as juniors, while continuing to study on Western’s campus in Gunnison. The inaugural cohort of the Western-CU Boulder partnership program for students of Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering enrolls in the fall of 2019 to experience small class sizes, personalized attention and the expertise of CU Boulder faculty come junior year—all while enjoying the active mountain lifestyle and stunning views of the Gunnison Valley.
Western will continue to offer its exceptional liberal arts core—the basis of Western’s long-standing reputation for premier academics—while adding major strengths to its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.
“The growth in technological advances affects every community in the nation—including those in rural areas,” said Dr. Greg Salsbury, Western Colorado University President. “Western is now able to provide the region with specialized training necessary for today’s high-paying, high-tech jobs. The new name signals that we have a bigger picture in mind focused on the growing need in our state and region to prepare young adults to fully participate in the emergent digital era. Having former trustee and board chair Todd Wheeler in attendance was particularly meaningful as he has worked tirelessly with me toward this special moment.”
President Greg Salsbury attended the signing ceremony at the Governor’s Office in the Capitol. Others invited to attend the signing included State Representative Barbara McLachlan, a prime sponsor of the bill in the legislature, as well as Western Trustees.
On July 1, the university name will legally become Western Colorado University.