A drawing from architect George E. King depicts Old Main prior to construction in 1878. Courtesy of Colorado State University Libraries, Archives & Special Collections

This fall, Colorado State will kick off 150th anniversary celebrations to mark the school’s founding on Feb. 11, 1870.

That’s when the territorial governor of Colorado authorized creation of a public land-grant college of agriculture and mechanic arts in keeping with the Morrill Act of 1862.

The Morrill Act granted public lands to each state; proceeds from the sale of those lands established public colleges and universities to educate children of the working classes. The move revolutionized public higher education with a core tenet of access and transformed traditional university curricula to improve lives and drive innovation.

Anniversary festivities begin with the President’s Fall Address and University Picnic on Sept. 19 and continue during CSU Homecoming & Family Weekend Oct. 2-6. To observe Founders Day in February 2020, the university will honor Libbie Coy, one of three students in the first graduating class of 1884 and – as the first woman to graduate from any college or university in Colorado – a symbol of the land-grant university’s abiding commitment to educational access and inclusion.