History & Traditions

  • 1870

    CAC Founded

    On Feb. 11, 1870, Governor Edward McCook signed a territorial bill authorizing the creation of what today is called Colorado State University. McCook’s authorization built on a piece of legislation called the Morrill Act, which Congress passed and President Abraham Lincoln signed in 1862 to provide grants of public land to establish colleges.

  • 1891

    Extra, extra!

    First issue of the Rocky Mountain Collegian published.

  • 1909

    The Oval

    The oval serves as the heart of Colorado State University.  It was designed in 1909 as an aesthetically pleasing way to connect main campus buildings.  Surrounding the Oval are historic buildings including Johnson Hall, which was the original student center and the Music Building which was built as a library.  Old Main was the cornerstone of the oval until it was burned to the ground during a demonstration in 1970.

  • 1914

    CAC’s First Homecoming

    In October 1914, Colorado Agricultural College President Charles A. Lory announced the school’s first-ever alumni reunion – a football game pitting the present team against the alumni. The alumni won, 3 – 0, but showed they weren’t above a little humor. Professors Glover and Pennock took the field for the alumni. Glover scored on the first play, but the touchdown didn’t count because the alumni had 13 men on the field.

  • 1920

    Loud and Proud


    The customary firing of a cannon during CSU football games started in 1920 and is one of the oldest, and certainly the loudest, of CSU traditions.

  • 1924

    First painting of the “A”


    Aggie students voted to emblazon an “A” on a hill west of campus during a special assembly held December 4, 1923. Work began shortly after, but wasn’t completed until September 20 the following year. It stretched 450 feet from top to bottom, and 210 feet across at its widest point. Today, the lighting of the A lifts school spirit to even greater heights during Homecoming & Family Weekend’s Friday Night Lights event.

  • 1935

    Birth of A&M

    Colorado Agricultural College renamed Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

  • 1954

    CAM christened

    At halftime at the Colorado A&M vs. Wyo. basketball game, President Morgan christened the school mascot “CAM.” Members of the Alpha Zeta fraternity served as handlers and keepers of CAM at that time. Today, Ram Handlers are selected to proudly represent Colorado State University and the Alumni Association on a volunteer basis.

  • 1957

    Colorado A&M becomes CSU

    In 1957, the Colorado General Assembly approves the new name of Colorado State University.

  • 1970

    Landmark lost

    Old Main is destroyed by arson amid anti-Vietnam War unrest across campus.

  • 1994

    CSU Football wins first WAC championship

    A CSU road victory against 6th-ranked Arizona put CSU on the map as they finished the regular season ranked 10th in the nation.

  • 2015

    Enrollment exceeds 32,000

    For the first time in history, CSU’s overall enrollment surpasses 32,000. The incoming freshman class is the most diverse in the University’s history.

  • 2021