Colorado A&M shed its image as a narrow technical college and became a university in appearance and name during the 1950s.
Bill Morgan's vision fostered much of the progress at Colorado's land-grant college. The institution's eighth president took over the campus' leadership from I.E. Newsom, who served as president between the death of Roy Green in January 1948 and Morgan's start in summer 1949.
Morgan arrived with experience as former president of Arkansas A&M and as an agricultural economist who had worked as an administrator with the European Recovery Program after War World II. He was an experienced planner and a major asset to the President's Association when it tackled long-range planning for Colorado's higher-education institutions.
Providing adequate student housing at Colorado A&M was among the first evidences of the new president's planning skills. The state was experiencing a swell in the number of youth approaching college age, and Morgan wanted to prepare the institution to serve these potential students.
With the help of low-cost loans from the federal College Housing Program, Morgan and Director of Student Housing Courtlyn Hotchkiss planned the construction of several residence halls, five of which were completed between 1953-1957.
Dealing with the school's aged and cramped instructional facilities was next on the Colorado A&M agenda. Other state institutions faced the same problem, and the President's Association aggressively approached the Colorado General Assembly.
The association ran a publicity program that incorporated grassroots campaigning, newspaper publicity, political lobbying and Cold War angst. The results: In spring 1955, the state approved a new mill levy and a 20 percent increase in appropriations to Colorado's higher-education institutions.
Colorado A&M selected three priority areas - engineering, agriculture and the humanities - to benefit from the new mill-levy funds. A new Engineering Center would be completed in 1957. Then, the school relocated assorted barns, stalls and stables and constructed new facilities for animal science, plant science, horticulture and stock judging during 1959 and 1960. And finally, reflecting Morgan's commitment to the humanities, plans were set in place to construct what now are Eddy Hall, completed in 1963, and Morgan Library, completed in 1964.
As Colorado's land-grant college facilities and enrollment progressed, so did its academic offerings. The State Board of Agriculture approved a doctorate degree in civil engineering in 1951, and three years later allowed other qualified departments to offer the advanced degree. A.R. Chamberlain, future president of the institution, earned the first of the college's doctorates in 1955.
Morgan believed students earning this prestigious degree should hold it from a university rather than from a school with a name connoting a narrow technical college. So began the campaign to change the name of Colorado A&M. Vice President for Administration Harry "Hap" Dotson oversaw the campaign, and on May 1, 1957, the Colorado General Assembly approved the new name of Colorado State University.
Several people helped Colorado State emerge into true university status. Dean of Faculty Andrew Clark, who had taught math skills applicable to all disciplines, was a firm believer in broad-based learning. However, he also was instrumental in working with Morgan to seek sponsored research to build up the university.
Maurice Albertson played a major role in attracting federal and international support for water-resources research, new faculty members and graduate students. His work led to expansion of the university's hydraulics lab to accommodate research grants that later would draw even more grant dollars. Albertson and colleagues Pauline Birky and Andrew Rice also conducted a pilot study that led to creation of the Peace Corps.
Jack Cermak and his famous wind tunnels brought further prominence to the university. He completed the first of three such tunnels in 1950 to simulate airflow and wind interactions on man-made structures. Since then, the tunnels have analyzed air currents around such famous structures as the New York World Trade Center and San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
In veterinary medicine, Dean Rue Jensen took advantage of the growing public support for research and encouraged all parts of his program to expand their investigative work.
Meanwhile, philosophy Professor Willard Eddy advanced the humanities. In 1957, he started an honors colloquium that led to formal adoption of the University Honors Program. The humanities received an additional boost when Dean Austin Simonds and faculty members in the College of Science and Arts sought to bring cultural arts to campus. A fine-arts festival held in April 1958 gave birth to today's annual Fine Arts Series.
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