Thursday, December 3, 2015

UCCS to mark its 50th anniversary

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 3:09 PM

click to enlarge TOM KIMMELL
  • Tom Kimmell
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has long been preparing to mark its 50th anniversary Thursday night.

Governor John Hickenlooper and Mayor John Suthers will be among the attendees at tonight's celebration. Sadly, it won't be quite as jovial as was originally hoped. The celebration comes just one day before the funeral service for UCCS Police Officer Garrett Swasey, one of three people killed at the Nov. 27 Planned Parenthood shooting and the first UCCS police officer to die in the line of duty.

The University will acknowledge Swasey in the ceremony, which takes place at 5:30 p.m in Berger Hall.
COLORADO SPRINGS – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and a former chancellor who advised U.S. President Bill Clinton will be honored guests at a Dec. 3 celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of UCCS.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in Berger Hall, UCCS faculty, staff and community leaders including Hickenlooper, Suthers and members of the Colorado legislative delegation, will gather to officially end a yearlong celebration dedicated to the 50th anniversary of UCCS. Throughout the fall semester, UCCS celebrated its 1965 founding with a series of events including speakers, time capsule openings, alumni events, parades and a fundraising gala. The program was changed to include recognition for UCCS Police Officer Garrett Swasey, the first UCCS police officer to die in the line of duty. Swasey was killed Nov. 27. His funeral service is scheduled for Dec. 4.

“We are humbled to have served the educational needs of southern Colorado for 50 years,” Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said. “And we are honored that current leaders of our state, city and campus will join us in recognizing this milestone and remind us of the value of higher education to the future of our state.”

Hickenlooper will deliver a proclamation declaring Dec. 3 as “UCCS 50th Day” and offer brief remarks. Suthers, a former instructor of criminal justice at UCCS, is also expected to offer brief remarks about the social and economic impact of UCCS on Colorado Springs. They will be joined by Neal Lane, Houston, who served as assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology under President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001.

Lane was UCCS chancellor from 1984 to 1985, leaving to serve as provost at Rice University, Houston. He now serves as a physics and public policy lecturer at Rice and serves on the board of advisers of Scientists and Engineers for America. In 2009, Lane received the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.

On June 15, 1964, then Colorado Governor John Love signed legislation that allowed the University of Colorado to assume custody of the defunct 80-acre Cragmor Sanatorium property. On Oct. 13, 1964, the $1 sale of the Cragmor property was announced and the Colorado General Assembly appropriated funds that allowed campus operations to open in Jan. 1965.

From its original 80 acres, UCCS has expanded to control more than 400 acres between North Nevada Avenue and Union Boulevard in northeast Colorado Springs. The campus now boasts six colleges, is ranked among the top Western regional public universities, and enrolls more than 11,000 students in on-campus programs and another 2,000 students in online programs.

To see a timeline of UCCS growth and details of other 50th anniversary events, visit

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in Colorado. The university offers 39 bachelor’s degrees, 20 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 11,300 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit

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