50 YEARS OF
50 YEARS OF
EXPLORE OUR HISTORY
Pre-1876 – One of the earliest depictions of Auraria showing the Cherry Creek dividing prospectors looking for gold and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians who used the region as a campsite. Courtesy of Jerome Smiley, History of Denver, Rebecca Hunt Collection.
Read about the history of Early Auraria and its native peoples here.
1876 – Colorado is granted statehood and University of Colorado (CU) is founded
1880 • 35,629
Colorado State Capitol building opens in Denver.
1900 • 133,859
1920 • 256,491
1940 • 322,412
1960 • 493,887
The South Platte River
floods in Denver
1964 – CU Regents promote “Denver Extension Center” to “University of Colorado – Denver Center.”
1965 – Colorado General Assembly creates the Colorado commission on Higher Education to coordinate and provide long-range planning for all of the state’s higher-education institutions.
1968 – Auraria site in Denver chosen for a three-college campus.
1969 – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development designates Auraria an urban renewal area, allocates $12.6 million for site acquisition and relocation. Denver voters approve $6 million Auraria bond issue. Auraria residents are forced to relocate. Learn more about the displacement of the Aurarians here.
1969 – College of Environmental Design established (with graduate programs in Denver, undergraduate programs in Boulder).
1970 • 514,678
1970 – Regents define role of Denver Center on new Auraria campus as primarily providing graduate and professional education.
1972 – Colorado General Assembly approves $40 million for Auraria construction. Presidents of CU, Metro State, and CCD agree to a plan for the shared campus: CU offering graduate and pre-professional programs, Metro State undergraduate degrees, and CCD occupational programs. Voters approve state constitutional amendment providing for CU campuses in Denver and Colorado Springs.
1973 – CU Denver School of Education is formally established (becomes the School of Education and Human Development later in 2004). CU Graduate School of Public Affairs established (becomes the CU Denver School of Public Affairs in 2007)
1973 – Harold H. Haak formally named the first chancellor ever at CU Denver.
1973 – Constitutional amendment establishing additional CU campuses goes into effect. Regents rename the Denver Center the University of Colorado at Denver (CU Denver).
1974 – Regents establish the CU System, with a president and chancellors at four campuses: Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, and the Health and Sciences Center.
Vietnam War ends
1979 – State Senator Hugh Fowler proposes merging CU Denver and Metro State into Metropolitan University of Colorado. Ultimately, no merger occurs.
1980 • 492,365
1985 – Dwayne C. Nuzum named CU Denver Chancellor
The Berlin Wall falls
1990 • 1,528,000
Colorado Convention Center opens in Denver
Denver International Airport opened to the public.
1998 – College of Arts and Media is founded for the 1998-1999 academic year.
1998 – CU Denver purchased the Lawrence Street Center building for Graduate School of Public Affairs and departments from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Business and Administration
Google is launched
2000 • 556,094
2009 – The Science Building opens on the Auraria Campus.
2012 – Donald M. Elliman, Jr. named Chancellor of CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus
U.S. Supreme Court strikes down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalizing it in all 50 states.
2020 • 717,630
COVID-19 outbreak begins.
2020 – Jake Jabs Event Center celebrates grand opening
2021 – CU Denver opens its first on-campus housing dedicated to first year students with the grand opening of the City Heights Residence Hall and Learning Commons
2021 – Chancellor Michelle Marks presents new Strategic Plan for 2030 aimed at creating a more equitable, accessible and innovative future for Denver and Colorado
2021– New Engineering, Design and Computing Building is announced. Construction to begin 2023.
2022 – CU Internationally renowned artist and CU Denver alum, Thomas Evans aka Detour, paints first-ever public murals on Auraria campus
2022 – CU Denver announces plan for new restoration of historic Auraria homes as part of the Ninth Street Historic District project
2022 – CU Denver receives the Military Friendly Schools Gold Award Designation for dedicating resources to ensuring veterans’ academic and future success.
2022– CU Denver joins the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities to increase opportunity for those historically underserved by higher education.