Diversity at CC
From the moment of its earliest inception, Colorado College was intended to be a coeducational institution, "open to both sexes and all races."
Colorado College held its first classes on May 6, 1874. Twenty-five students were in attendance, among them 13 men and 12 women in the first class sessions.
First Female Faculty Member
The first known female faculty member at Colorado College was Minna Knapp from Germany. She assisted with teaching of German and music. Mary S. Mackenzie was also present in the early days of the college, assisting a male professor with his teaching duties. In the style of the time, Miss Mackenzie, who subsequently married, was identified by her married name, Mrs. Cornelius S. Gambrill.
First Literary Society
Male students organized the first literary society called Phi Delta Pi; it met each Friday night. The purpose of the club was to improve the speech and debate skills of the students. Public literary exhibitions, including declamations, orations, and debates were presented every Friday night.
First Female Graduate
Agnes Caldwell 1886, fifth person to graduate from the college, during a time when the idea of a college education for women was still a radical concept.
Woman's Educational Society
The Woman's Educational Society (WES) of Colorado College was formed in April under Mary Montgomery Slocum’s leadership (the wife of Colorado College’s third president, William Frederick Slocum) to give “physical, intellectual, and spiritual aid to young women who are students in any department of Colorado College.” The organization was intended to act as a bridge between female community members in Colorado Springs interested in supporting the growth of the college and female Colorado College students.
Montgomery Hall opened as the first permanent residence for women.
Minerva Literary Society
On October 14, Eloise Wickard of the English Department invited five girls to her home. The result was the formation of the Minerva literary society. The society received enthusiastic approval and support from the college.
Women's Right to Vote
Colorado became the first state in the United States where women were granted the right to vote in all elections.
Katharine Lee Bates
During the summer, a professor of English at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Katharine Lee Bates, came to Colorado Springs to teach in the Colorado Summer School of Science, Philosophy, and Languages, hosted by Colorado College. During her time at the college, Bates took a wagon ride to the summit of Pikes Peak, the 14,110-foot high mountain located to the west of Colorado Springs. The beautiful views she saw from the mountaintop inspired her to write a poem, later set to music, entitled “America the Beautiful.”
First International Student Graduates
The college graduated its first international student, Taizo Nakashima, from Japan.
First Dean of Women
Ruth Loomis was appointed Colorado College’s first dean of women. Through her work, she aimed to bestow a legacy of elevated moral standards and social etiquette for women at the college. It was stated that Loomis, in effect, “maintained a college for women in a coeducational institution.” Loomis was the first administrator of either sex hired by Colorado College.
Residential Capacity for Female Students
The residential capacity for female students increased three-fold with the building of Ticknor Hall.
More Societies for Females
The Minerva literary society founded in 1891 proved so successful it was followed by two other female societies in 1899, Contemporary and Hypatia. The societies organized socials, dances, picnics, musicals, and banquets alongside their literary and debate activities.
Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington, African-American educator and founder of the Tuskegee Institute, spoke to a standing-room only crowd at Colorado College on January 28.
Another Residence Hall for Women
McGregor Hall, the third hall for women on campus, opens with funds raised by the Woman's Educational Society (WES).
Breaking the Color Line
The color line was first broken in Colorado intercollegiate athletics when two African Americans, Fred Roberts and Charles Jackson, played on the undefeated 1905 football team.
Student Government for Women Students
The Student Government Association for Women Students was founded to provide “the utmost freedom of individual action possible in community life with the highest mental and moral development.” By having their own student government, female students played an active role in writing and enforcing the rules under which they conducted their social lives. The organization was later renamed the Quadrangle Association, which gave way to the Associated Women Students (AWS) that united all women on campus in a common organization.
Alumnus Starts African-American Newspaper
After graduating from Colorado College in 1906, Frederick Roberts began an African-American newspaper in Colorado Springs called The Light. He was also the vice president of the Freemen Mining and Development Company and a delegate to the National Negro Business League Conference. In 1918, he moved to Los Angeles, his home city, and became the first African-American elected to the California State Legislature.
First All-College Student Governance
Student Commission (later known as the Associated Students of Colorado College) formed as the first all-college student governing organization.
Josephine Morrow became the registrar at Colorado College. Morrow held the position for 37 years, until 1947.
First Woman with a Ph.D. to Teach
The first woman with a Ph.D. to teach was Leila Clement Spaulding, who taught classics from 1911 to 1914. She also was the resident female faculty member in Ticknor Hall (a women’s dormitory). After Spaulding, Colorado College began hiring more female faculty members with a Ph.D.
Eleanor Davis served as director of women’s athletics from 1914 to 1930.
Pi Kappa Alpha
Pi Kappa Alpha was established.
Mabel Barbee Lee
Mabel Barbee Lee became dean of women in 1922. She was faced with the challenge of adapting social policies for women at the college to keep pace with shifting national attitudes, as students began to vocalize their discontent with administrative policies that dictated students’ social lives.
Marcus Garvey Speaks at CC
Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican political leader, journalist, and orator, visited Colorado Springs in the spring of 1922. Speaking at Perkins Hall, his speech was compared by the Colorado Springs Gazette to the oratory work of Booker T. Washington. A fierce proponent of black nationalism and Pan-Africanism, Garvey was the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).
Lillian B. Hardee
Lillian B. Hardee, class of 1923, is the first known African-American woman to graduate from Colorado College. (She is not, however, the first African-American woman to attend CC – that was Edna Deason Walker, who took classes at CC from 1910 to 1913.) Very little is known about Hardee, other than that at some point she married a man named Eric G. Bodden.
Delta Alpha Phi
Delta Alpha Phi was established, bringing the total to seven fraternity chapters on campus.
Louise Kampf served as the college librarian for 29 years from 1929 to 1958.
“New Colorado College Plan”
The faculty and Board of Trustees approved the “New Colorado College Plan” for the 1930-1931 school year. The plan included the transformation of literary societies on campus into nationally established sororities during the 1930s, under one condition: women would not live in their sorority houses the way men lived in fraternity houses. The four women’s literary societies existent at the time were reorganized as chapters of national sororities. Minerva was made Delta Gamma, Contemporary became Kappa Alpha Theta, Hypatia was accepted by Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Zatalathian became Gamma Phi Beta. Female students not interested in Greek life started more inclusive social groups such as the “Barbetts,” the “Campus Club,” and “Independent Women.”
Stroud siblings Effie Evelyn and Kelly Dolphus both graduated from Colorado College in 1931. Dolphus was the first African-American Phi Beta Kappa graduate at CC. Effie received a master’s degree in library science at Columbia University and became head of the New York Public School library system. In 1991, Colorado College held a banquet in her honor and presented her with a plaque of recognition.
World War II
With a majority of male students absent during World War II, women took greater charge of student activities on campus. Female students took major responsibility for serving on student government, publishing the student newspaper, and publishing the yearbook.
International Student Program
In cooperation with the Institute of International Education (IIE), the college initiated an international student program with each of the five fraternities present to provide room and board for male international students. The federal government paid their tuition through IIE. A newly formed Foreign Student Committee, composed of students, administered the program under the guidance of a professor. In following years, the program was expanded to include female students after the four sororities and the Woman's Educational Society (WES) made arrangements for their support.
The student body had grown to represent 45 states.
Alpha Phi was installed as the fifth sorority on campus.
Foreign Student Program
A Foreign Student Program was established to “help promote a better understanding between the United States and other countries of the world.”
Taylor Dining Room becomes the first co-educational dining hall on campus.
Two refugees from the Hungarian Revolution, Paul Szilagy and Lazlo Torma, enrolled at the college under the sponsorship of the Foreign Student Program.
Foreign Student Committee joined with a group of townspeople, headed by Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, to sponsor the Summer Crossroads, a program in which international students from other colleges and universities convened at Colorado College for a week before returning to their homelands - this program lasted for over 30 years until 1991. Elizabeth Wright Ingraham was a local architect and partner at the firm Ingraham and Ingraham. Elizabeth was also the granddaughter of the world-famous Frank Lloyd Wright.
Alpha Lambda Delta
A chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta, a freshman women's honorary society, was established on the campus during the spring to give added emphasis to academic achievement.
Dorothy Bass Spann
Dorothy Bass Spann, a lifelong Colorado Springs resident who helped advance civil rights, graduated from CC with the class of 1957. She later authored “Black Pioneers: A History of A Pioneer Family in Colorado Springs”
The French House was established.
Civil Rights Protest
Growing concern of the student and faculty community about the violation of civil rights of blacks became evident in the fall when a number of students and faculty participated in a demonstration at The Colorado Springs City Hall to protest the death of four black girls in the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama.
Minority Students Elected
The freshman class elected three minority students as their class commissioners: Ray Jones, Richard Lopez, and Gordon Aoyagi.
Free Speech Movement
As The Free Speech Movement spread, the Associated Women Students and the Associated Students of Colorado College came under pressure to reevaluate and liberalize the strict residence hall policies at the college. The result was a non-violent campus revolution in which a new form of student government was created that did away with the old system of having one student government for women students (to make and enforce social rules) and a second student government for both men and women (to deal with more general campus matters of interest to students). The new student government which emerged was called the Colorado College Campus Association (CCCA). The CCCA consisted of a majority of elected student members along with minority representation of the faculty and the Dean’s Office.
The college established the Asian Studies Program in the fall of 1964. However, the program did not constitute a major.
WES Celebrates its 75th Anniversary
March for Selma
Students organized a march (over 500 students and faculty) to the Colorado Springs City Hall on March 13 to “protest the treatment of Negroes in Selma, Alabama.”
First African Americans to Serve in Student Government
Terry Fonville, class of 1965, became the first African American to serve on the Associated Students of Colorado College (ASCC) council.
The official position of the college on racial discrimination was emphasized when the faculty met to adopt a statement that no organization on the campus would be permitted to operate under regulations which, in letter or spirit, discriminated against a racial or religious group.
Civil rights leader James Farmer spoke on the “Civil Rights Revolution in America,” sponsored by the Inter-Fraternity Council and Panhellenic in conjunction with Forum Committee.
Minority Student Scholarship Fund
The Minority Student Scholarship Fund was established.
Summer Crossroads Participants 1966
African-American social critic, writer, author, and lecturer Louis Lomax, spoke at Colorado College on April 18, 1968.
Initial Discussions on the Block Plan
Another Co-ed Dormitory
Mathias Hall, previously a men’s dormitory, was converted into a coed dorm.
Associated Colleges of the Midwest
Colorado College joined the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.
The NAACP began its first year at Colorado College in November with a voter registration drive in which students canvassed Colorado Springs to help register voters.
Influential civil rights advocate Dick Gregory spoke during a press conference held at Colorado College.
A Student-Faculty Committee on Minority Rights was formed by members of the college community who felt that minority enrollment needed to be addressed at Colorado College.
The first ever International Day on March 26, 1970, included exhibits, films, and a dinner to foster appreciation and understanding of the 20-some international students at Colorado College.
Start of the Block Plan
Colorado College implemented the Block Plan at the beginning of the 1970 academic school year.
All residence halls on campus were granted the option of housing both male and female students, if approved by majority vote of the residents of the hall.
Associated Women Students
The Associated Women Students (AWS) voted to dissolve their organization as “no longer practical or viable."
The student organization Ayuda was established on campus for women's health needs. One of its major goals was to press for equal numbers of men and women in the student body. At that time, there were almost twice as many males as females. It took approximately 20 years, but by the early 1990s, Ayuda’s goal of a balanced student body was achieved.
Chicano Voices Raised
CC students found the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano Aztlan (or MEChA). Seeking to educate, establish pride and identity in Chicano heritage, MEChA’s mission of empowerment and cultural reclamation was taken under the umbrella of SOMOS in 1999.
Gay Liberation Front
President of the college Lloyd Worner vetoed the charter of the Gay Liberation Front at CC.
Admissions Policy Changes
Admissions policy changes in March 1972 encourage an equal male-to-female ratio.
Since Colorado College received U.S. Government funds for scholarships, scientific research, constructing dormitories, etc., Title IX had a major impact on athletic activity at the college. Changes followed in the years and decades after.
Black Student Union
Black Student Union (BSU) founded.
Clarence Sterne, Jr.
Colorado College hired its first black full-time faculty member. Clarence Sterne, Jr. served as the college’s tennis coach.
Women's Athletic Facilities Protest
One of the first effects of Title IX was an increased awareness that Colorado College lacked the facilities to accommodate the expansion of female sports programs. To highlight this shortcoming in women’s athletic facilities, in 1973, 20 female students staged a “shower in” in one of the men’s locker rooms in the college’s El Pomar Sports Center.
The Women’s Commission was formed to create a permanent organization designed to represent women’s rights and interests. The primary goal of the Women’s Commission was to present more instruction on women and women’s accomplishments in academic courses.
Reacting to the pressures created by Title IX, President Lloyd Edson Worner hired Laura Golden to organize a formal intercollegiate sports program for female students. Golden engaged the student body to determine athletic interest, and eight intercollegiate varsity sports for females were established: field hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, snow skiing, softball, tennis, and track and field.
Minority Faculty Recruitment
The faculty passed a policy statement on minority faculty recruitment aimed at increasing the representation of minority groups.
Laurel McLeod, hired in 1977, was the last employee to bear the title of dean of women. As dormitory rules for women students were progressively relaxed and reduced, the major role of dean of women had ceased to be necessary. The position evolved from dean of women, to dean of students, to finally vice president for student life during her tenure.
The student body was inspired to create a petition which addressed a perceived “lack of adequate affirmative action guidelines for administrative hiring.”
ACM Program for Minority Students
The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Program for Minority Students and Academic Careers began, established to encourage minority students in ACM colleges to consider and prepare for academic careers.
Apartheid Rally for Divestment
Summer Crossroads Participants, June 1987
Sexual Orientation Added to CC’s Anti-Discrimination Policy
Consortium for Faculty Diversity
CC joined the Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD). The early goals of the Consortium included encouraging U.S. citizens who were members of under-represented minority groups to complete their graduate programs and to consider faculty employment in liberal arts colleges. The Riley Scholars-in-Residence Program grew out of our participation with the CFD. The program reflects the conviction that a strong minority presence on the faculty benefits the entire college community. Scholars of African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American ethnic identity afford the college a diversity of experience and perspective otherwise difficult to attain. In addition to their teaching and scholarship, Riley Scholars interact regularly with students and participate in such functions as departmental seminars.
Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance
The Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance (BGALA) was founded.
The Office of Minority Student Life was founded, headed up by Rochelle Mason ’83. Championing and guiding the college towards a mission of greater cultural, racial, and socioeconomic diversity, the office transitioned in 2007 to the Office of Minority and International Students (OMIS) – continuing to be directed by Rochelle until 2009 and her appointment as a dean of the college. In July, 2014, OMIS transformed into the newly inaugurated Butler Center, currently under the direction of Paul Buckley.
Native American Student Association
The Native American Student Association (NASA), now Native American Student Union (NASU), became a chartered student organization.
Native American Heritage Week
The Native American Student Association sponsored the first annual Native American Heritage Week and Pow-Wow.
Asian American Student Union
Students founded the Asian American Student Union (AASU) which became a chartered student organization in 1994.
Minority Association of Pre-Health Students
The Minority Association of Pre-Health Students became a chartered student organization.
Mike Edmonds Joins CC
Mike Edmonds joined the Colorado College community in August of 1991 as the dean of students. With his prior experience in student life and as a faculty member at the University of Mississippi, Dean Edmonds quickly established himself as one of CC’s leaders. In 2005, Edmonds transitioned to his current role as VP for Student Life/Dean of Students, continuing and expanding his role within the CC community.
Gorman Minority Scholars Program
The Gorman Minority Scholars Program began in September 1991 and ran until 1993. It worked to acquaint minority scholars at Gorman Middle School with college life at Colorado College through a buddy system with mentors from CC.
Festival of African Culture
Colorado College hosted its first annual Festival of African Culture on March 28, which took place in Armstrong Hall and included dancers, drummers, arts and crafts as part of “A Night in Africa.”
African American Youth Leadership Conference
The first annual African American Youth Leadership Conference was hosted on campus.
First Woman President
Kathryn Mohrman became first woman to serve as president of Colorado College. She occupied the office for nine years, from 1993 to 2002.
Campus Diversity Rally
The Accountability Coalition, in addition to representatives from the Asian American Student Union, Bi-sexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance, Black Student Union, Feminist Collective, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, and Native American Student Association, joined forces to organize a rally on May 8 to highlight the need for diversification on campus.
The International Student Organization becomes the Multicultural Organization of Students and the International Community (MOSAIC).
President Kathryn Mohrman created the college’s first Diversity Council to give prominence and visibility to a strategic priority on diversity by the college. The Council was reconfigured in 1998.
Women’s Studies Major
25 years after the Women’s Commission was first organized, a Women’s Studies major was recognized as part of the curriculum. Colorado College did not adopt a Women’s Studies major until it had a female president (Kathryn Mohrman).
The Glass House
The Glass House becomes a permanent multicultural residence at Colorado College, after two years as a theme house. Built at the turn of the 20th century in a Moorish architectural style, the house — officially known as the Lennox House — was a legacy of William Lennox, a local banker and CC trustee from 1901-1936. Opened as a campus student center in September 1937, the Glass House is now home to a multicultural awareness learning, support, and programming community, supported by the Residential Life and Housing Office.
Summer Bridge Program
The Summer Bridge Program is inaugurated. Students are invited to campus for a one-block course in August if they identify as one of the following:
- First-generation college students (neither parent has completed a four-year college degree)
- QuestBridge Scholars
- Attended a high school that offered relatively limited opportunities for advanced coursework
Bridge courses are limited to 15 students, providing them the opportunity for extra attention and advice from the professor.
MECHA became SOMOS, an organization dedicated to educating students about Latino/a culture.
President Richard F. Celeste introduces “Vision 2010,” the goals of which were to:
- Hire more tenure-track faculty
- Provide more funds for faculty research and student Venture Grants
- Evaluate and improve the General Education requirements to include 3 units of Diverse Cultures and Critiques, The West in Time (one two-block course), 2 units of Scientific Investigation of the Natural World.
Vision 2010 set a major goal of increasing diversity in the student body, which meant recruiting, retaining, and graduating more American ethnic minorities and international students. The percentage of minority students in the student body grew from 12-13 percent to 17-19 percent under Celeste's presidency, and international students grew to 6 percent.
Coretta Scott King
In 2003, Coretta Scott King delivered the William Jovanovich Lecture and Capstone Address at Colorado College to an overflowing crowd.
EQUAL (Empowered Queers United for Absolute Liberation), a student organization seeking to provide a safe space for all who are queer, questioning, gay, lesbian, bizexual, or transgendered, is founded.
Black Student Union
Black Student Union becomes a chartered student organization.
Queer-Straight Alliance was founded.
Feminist and Gender Studies
Women’s Studies became the Feminist and Gender Studies Program.
Additions to the Anti-Discrimination Policy
The college added "gender identity, gender expression" as an additional category for protection in Article IX of its Equal Opportunity Statement and in its Anti-Discrimination Policy.
The Colket Center for Learning Excellence sought to ease the adjustment to Colorado College for incoming under-resourced students.
Marian Wright Edelman
The Commencement speaker was Marian Wright Edelman, African-American founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, and a recipient of an honorary degree from Colorado College in 1999.
African American Youth Leadership Conference
Colorado College hosted the 22nd annual African American Youth Leadership Conference.
Diversity and Equity Advisory Board
The Diversity and Equity Advisory Board was established to promote and support diversity and equity among staff and faculty.
Founding of The Butler Center
The Butler Center at Colorado College seeks to inspire and create an intellectual and social culture that is inclusive and respectful towards all. Serving as the college’s hub for diversity, inclusion, and intercultural exchange, The Butler Center took over the duties of the Office of Minority and International Students (OMIS), established in 1990. Named for Ellis Ulysses Butler Jr. ’40, one of Colorado College’s earliest African American alumni, The Butler Center honors Ellis’ legacy and generous gifts to his alma mater by working towards his vision of a more inclusive and welcoming future.
Paul Buckley joins CC
Paul Buckley joins CC as an assistant vice president and inaugural director of The Butler Center. Arriving from Dartmouth College, where he served as assistant dean of undergraduate students, Buckley holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse University, as well as a master’s and bachelor’s degree from the University of Albany. Leading the efforts of The Butler Center, Buckley works towards broadening diversity and inclusivity at CC.
The Colorado College Student Government Association (CCSGA) initiated Courageous Conversations, a discussion series aiming to engage the student body in fruitful, productive conversations on highly stigmatized topics submitted by CC students. Courageous Conversations topics have included immigration, the hookup culture, political differences, gender and sexuality, and the petition to diversify the curriculum.
Students participated in protests as a response to the grand jury decision that police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Homecoming 2016 LGBTQIA+ Stories
At Homecoming 2016, receptions for LGBTQIA+ alumni and students, as well as alumni and students of color, were held. We spoke with four members of the CC community; Alan Woo ’71, Han Sayles ’15, Karl Jeffries ’91, and Shanna Katz Kattari ’06. These are their stories.
Responding to Representation: Staging Asia and Asian America
CC hosts panel discussion “Responding to Representation: Staging Asia and Asian America,” focused on two plays - “The Mikado” by Gilbert and Sullivan and “Yellow Face” by David Henry Hwang – that were sharing rehearsal space and being performed the same weekend. Attended by both CC and Colorado Springs community members, the panel discussed the role and responsibility of those in the performing arts, the legacy of cultural appropriation, the realities of finding accomplished actors regardless of ethnicity, and the disheartening fatigue of continually challenging the homogeneity of Asian representations.
- In April, President Jill Tiefenthaler announced a campus-wide effort to better “listen to and understand the lived experiences of marginalized members of our community, in order to recognize our own role in creating and perpetuating inequity.”
- The faculty voted to eliminate the West in Time general education requirement in an effort to move toward a more diverse and equitable curriculum.
We acknowledge the work of Zita Toth ’16, CC Archivist Jessy Randall, Amy Brooks, and others on the creation and curation of this timeline and its content. Additional reading includes, but is not limited to: Robert Loevy's “Colorado College: A Place of Learning, 1874-1999,” Robert Loevy's “Colorado College: 1999-2012, into the 21st Century,” and J. Juan Reid's “Colorado College: The First Century, 1874-1974,” all available at the Colorado College Bookstore.
We know we haven’t captured all the important moments for diversity at CC. If you have suggestions for additions or changes to this timeline, please contact CC Communications.