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University of Colorado President's Office records

Identifier: COU:3283

Scope and Contents

The President's Office Archive includes the papers generated by University Presidencies of Livingston Farrand (1914-1919) through Judith Albino (1991-1995), and are divided into ten series. The first series, Series I, TOPICAL FILES, makes up the bulk of the archive. Series I is broken down into six time periods within which topics are filed alphabetically: 1913-1919, 1917-1923, 1919-1969, 1970-1985, 1985-1991, and 1991-1995. The vast quantity of material, however, dates from 1970 when the University expanded considerably in size and scope of operation. The time periods roughly coincide with the establishment of the President's Office in Macky (1913); President Farrand's resignation (1919); the careers of two presidential secretaries; and the presidencies of William H. Baughn and E. Gordon Gee. The material includes topics relating to campus events, organizational correspondence, college and departmental correspondence, gift correspondence, issue files, and some individuals. Series I-D also contains additional sub-office files: General Correspondence, Government Relations, Projects, Staff Files, and University Relations. Until 1985, Series I contains material on all the campuses except the Health Sciences Center (Medical School/Center). Series I-E reflects a newer filing system which breaks out all the campuses, leaving topical files, president's office material, staff taskings, staff files, and the office files of Special Assistant to the President, Suzanne Kounkel. In 1991, the President's Office re-organized aspects of their filing system, allowing some materials dated after 1991 to be filed in more appropriate places. When attempting to file newer information, the archival staff conformed to the newer filing system whenever possible.

Series II, CHRONOLOGICAL FILE; Series III, FINANCIAL/BUDGET; Series IV, HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER (MEDICAL SCHOOL/CENTER); Series V, BOARD OF REGENTS; Series VI, CLOSED RECORDS; Series VII, BOULDER CAMPUS; Series VIII; COLORADO SPRINGS CAMPUS: Series IX, DENVER CAMPUS; and Series X, APPOINTMENT BOOKS were all pulled from the above files for organization reasons or Privacy Act purposes. Series II contains the presidential chronological correspondence file from 1969 through 1995. 1984 correspondence is not present, and 1985 through 1986 is represented by an alphabetical listing. Series III contains material pertaining to accounts, audits, budgetary information (including the Joint Budget Committee), faculty salary increase reports, and financial data. However, in 1991 through 1995 some information, like faculty salary increase reports, was filed in individual campus series or in Series I, in an effort to conform to the newer filing system. Series IV consists of the correspondence subject files pertaining to the Health Sciences Center (previously the Medical Department/School/Center). Series V holds all files relating specifically to the Board of Regents: chronological correspondence, rules, and the Regent Subcommittee on the UCMC/UCHSC. Series VI contains six categories of records which are closed to research unless otherwise authorized by the President's Office: personnel records, privilege and tenure files, student records, legal files and correspondence, search records, and University of Colorado Foundation, Inc. Series VII, VIII, and IX contain materials of the Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver Campuses respectively, following 1985. Prior to 1985 these campus's materials can be found in Series I-D. Series X holds presidential appointment books from 1971 though 1991. Missing years include 1980, 1982, and 1986.


  • 1913 - 1995

Conditions Governing Access

This collection contains or may contain private and personally identifiable information (PPII). Researchers must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement in advance of access to collection materials. Contact for more information.

Researchers may also be asked to submit an access request for these records to the President's Office. Please contact for more details.

Box numbers restart at the beginning of each series or addition. If you are requesting boxes please indicate with series or addition you are requesting the box from.

Copyright Statement

The University Libraries may not own the copyright to all materials in this collection. Researchers are responsible for contacting the copyright holder(s) for this material and obtaining permission to publish or broadcast. The University Libraries will not grant permission to publish or broadcast this material and are not responsible for copyright violations resulting from such use.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers may not make notes, reproductions (including photographs), or other record of any private and personally identifiable information (PPII) located in this collection and may not publish, publicize, or disclose that PPII to any other party for any purpose. Exclusions may apply to researchers who have obtained authorization from the University of Colorado Institutional Review Board to produce human subject research records in de-identified form. All researchers must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement indicating their understanding of the use restrictions for PPII found in this collection. Contact

Historical Note

The history of the President's Office more than reflects the history of the University of Colorado, at certain points in time they are one and the same. In the University's first fifteen years, the President's Office made up most of the university administration. The first President (1877-1887), Joseph Sewall, Harvard educated with both an M.D. and a Ph.D., firmly set the University on its professional and humanistic courses with both a scientific and classical curriculum. His greatest troubles stemmed from inadequate legislative financial support and an overdependence on a mill levy for university funding. Sewall advocated increased enrollment and growth, and, in the process, a music department (1883), a medical department (1883), an engineering department (1885), and a school of pharmacy (1885) were established. Enrollment, however, lagged behind. Horace Morrison Hale, the second President (1887-1891), and a former Regent, recognized and addressed the problems of underfunding and under-enrollment to the extent that when he resigned, the University's future seemed no longer in doubt.

James H. Baker (1892-1913) was unwilling to be merely the caretaker of a small underdeveloped "academy." Instead he vigorously promoted, expanded, and cultivated the University. By 1914, the University contained many of its modern characteristics: the College of Liberal Arts (1892), Law School (1892), and a Graduate School (1909). During Baker's term, enrollment rose from 170 to 1200 students, the faculty expanded from 30 to 200, and nine new buildings were erected. The curriculum underwent continuous expansion, but always maintained a balance between scientific, professional, and classical emphases.

The challenge of World War I and the presidency of Livingston Farrand coincided, during which time Farrand was able to further solidify University financing and begin negotiations for shifting the Medical School to a new Denver campus. Farrand took a leave of absence in 1917 to head a medical mission in Paris, France. Acting President George Norlin was left with the burden of guiding the University through the war years. Resembling an military cantonment, the University became a training ground for officers, a center for the "Americanization" of "alien" immigrants around the State, and a campus-wide hospital during the influenza epidemic of September, 1918. When President Farrand did not return to Colorado, Norlin was chosen to be his successor in 1919.

Norlin's twenty-year-term was marked by another spurt of growth in university enrollment (1,300 - 4,400), and the adoption of the Tuscan Vernacular "Colorado" style of architecture in an impressive array of new buildings (McKenna, Hellems, Ketchum, Carlson, Balch, Sewall, and Norlin). The development of the University's Medical School in Denver was perhaps his greatest achievement. The Great Depression forced Norlin to look to Eastern corporate boardrooms and the Federal Government when State support withered.

In 1939, after twenty-two years at the helm of the University, George Norlin was followed by yet another long term President, Robert L. Stearns. Stearns held the post until 1953, aside from a brief absence during World War II. A lawyer, Stearns met problems and changing circumstances practically and expeditiously. He dealt with the drop in wartime enrollment by bringing R.O.T.C. establish-ments and a Naval Training Center onto campus without sacrificing civilian education. He rapidly compensated for the postwar surge in enrollment by erecting both temporary housing and additional dormitories. Popular and successful, Stearns was nevertheless plagued by political problems during his final years in office. The Red Scare engulfed the campus in 1951 when a number of faculty members became the focus of a State-wide anti-communist crusade.

The University's focus shifted after World War II from being a collection of teaching colleges to becoming a major research and and graduate study institution. Prior to the war, little separated the University of Colorado from other regional public universities. Following World War II, university research programs, including the High Altitude Observatory (1946) and the Upper Air Laboratory (1948), grew in number and quality. In 1949 the University was ranked 12th in the nation for dollar-volume and effectiveness in research. The real turning point was achieved during President Darley's Administration (1953-1956). Darley, while Dean of the Medical School and Center, had played a vital role in the shift toward a more technical, scientific approach to medical education. During his presidency, Darley brought his "scientific" vision to the University at large: sponsoring and expanding existing programs, promoting the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (1951), the Nuclear Physics Lab (1955), and attracting scholars and grants to support scientific and technical research.

In 1957, Quigg Newton (1957-1963) both inherited Darley's vision and was the beneficiary of a huge increase in research funds made available as a federal response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik. Newton applied considerable political skill to matching of a new "quality" research with expanded federal support. By 1962, large government grants had been gained to create the Joint Institute of Laboratory Astrophysics (1962), the Institute of Behavioral Sciences (1957), and the HAO had evolved into the National Center for Atmospheric Research (1960). Engineering, Physics, and Chemistry were among the departments which were catapulted to regional, and later national, prominence as important scholars attracted students, grants, and further researchers who, in turn, continued the process of academic and scientific achievement.

Presidents Ward Darley and Quigg Newton had to contend with an increasing number of events and trends pressing from outside the campus while fostering a colossal growth in the size and complexity of the University. The arrival of G.I. Bill students along with the first wave of "Baby Boomers" led to a 50% increase in enrollment (12,538 in 1963). However, more controversial issues arose as well. The National struggle over racial issues intruded into University life when President Darley attempted to desegregate the University's social, honorary, and professional fraternities and societies (1954-1956). The continuation of the Cold War increased the rift between conservative Coloradans and the University's liberal faculty and students. This growing perception of political polarization was exemplified by the Goldwater - Colorado Daily Affair in 1962.

By 1963, the university had become the fifth largest institution west of the Mississippi River. In 1966, the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology was established, housing its own electron microscope. The next year, C.U. was invited to join the Association of American Universities (AAU), which consists of 58 leading universities in the U.S. and Canada. As of 1990, UCB was one of two AAU universities in the Rocky Mountain region. By 1973, the Psychology Department had achieved recognition and was a major recipient of grants. The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) was established in 1975 as the on-campus research affiliate of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 1991, UCB ranked fifth, nationally, in NASA funding and is one of only nine selected as NASA space research universities. Fourteen UCB alumni are, or have been, astronauts.

Not all attention was focused on the sciences. Between 1968 and 1974 a National Defense Education Grant funded research in educational technology, curricula, computers, and telecom-munications. The School of Education was able to bring in faculty, scholarships, grants, and students apply them toward various educational studies. In addition, university prominence led to growth and excellence in other fields. As funds became available, Central Administration targeted certain departments for additional funding for attracting faculty and students or promoting research.

The University of Colorado, though established constitutionally as the campus at Boulder, developed to serve the state's academic needs. Beginning with Presidents Baker and Farrand, attempts to move the Schools of Medicine and Nursing to Denver came to fruition in 1924 during George Norlin's term as president. Research efforts at what has become the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center have resulted in the first liver transplant in the world (1963), advances in the eradication of Small Pox and Influenza (1965-1985), the first fetal cell transplant in Parkinson's Disease research (1988), the first synthetic enzyme (1990), and the first three-dimensional image of the human body from anatomical sections (1990).

President's Baker, Farrand, and Norlin also pushed the university's outreach program which included a Department of Correspondence and Extension in Denver (1912). During the 1960's, the name Denver extension was changed to the University of Colorado - Denver Center. At the same time, an extension was established in Colorado Springs in order to provide for the higher education needs of a growing high technology industry and an established military complex within the community. In 1974, the University of Colorado was reorganized into four campuses: Denver (UCD), Colorado Springs (UCCS), Health Sciences Center (UCHSC), and Boulder (UCB).

By the 1980's, major grants were being attracted to UCD in the fields of environmental research, health administration, alternative education and large scale computation. The National Veterans Training Institute has received major funding from the U.S. Department of Labor from 1987 through 1991. Initially, UCCS primarily focused on the needs of the Colorado Springs community. However, original intentions to establish a major program in electrical engineering/computer sciences came to fruition with a doctoral program, established in 1986. UCCS received a U.S.D.E. grant to create five core curriculum centers in 1989, and in 1990 received an El Pomar Foundation Grant to build a Tech Center on Campus. UCCS is the only university in the country with an ionized cluster beam machine, which is used in super conductor research. Between 1963 and 1975, campus social and political upheaval distracted public attention from the university's growth and academic achievements. While only one example in the nationwide youth protest, the University of Colorado provided a highly visible stage on which national questions were addressed. In the highly charged atmosphere of the period, the office of the President became a lightning rod in the storm which pitted the State's press, electorate and legislature against protesting students and sympathetic faculty. Presidents Joseph Smiley (1963-1969) and Frederick Thieme (1969-1974) had to contend with student protest over the in loco parentis style of University discipline. Arguments erupted over dormitory visitation, free speech, free press, minority questions, gender issues, and the Vietnam War. The Colorado press, populace, legislators, and even some Regents tended to view such protest as subversive or irresponsible, and accused the President of leniency, at best, or complicity, at worst. Unfortunately, "the Generation Gap," which found many local manifestations, was not in any President's power to resolve.

During the 1970's, Presidents Thieme and Roland Rautenstraus (1974-1979) committed the university to the support of minority education: the Migrant Action Program, the United Mexican American Students, the Black Studies, and Women's Studies programs along with minority counseling and affirmative action. In addition, a new relationship was created between the university and student body, allowing more student participation in university affairs and a new definition of students as "adults." The political storms and protests which dominated the headlines from 1965 to 1976 distracted attention from other developments: the enormous growth of the student body (12,000 at Boulder in 1963 to 43,476) at all campuses by 1990); increasing sophistication and quality in technical, scientific, and professional education and research.

Since 1975, Presidents Rautenstraus, Arnold R. Weber (1980-1984), and E. Gordon Gee (1985-1990) have attempted to address the declining ratio of support provided by state and federal governments. Consequently, Presidents have been forced to seek ever more support from private sources, alumni, and corporations. Tuition has become increasingly important as a source of revenue, and as a result Presidents have sought hikes in tuition on an annual basis. Between 1979 to 1989, at UCB, in-state tuition rose 157%, while out-of-state tuition rose 208%. Despite the growing burden of continuous fundraising, Presidents Weber, Gee, and William H. Baughn (1985, 1990-1991) set in motion programs which resulted in a new UCB Research Park with first tenant US West, a new Engineering Library, a co-generation power plant, a Nobel Prize in chemistry (1989), a Rhodes Scholarship, two new parking garages, a National Championship Football Team (1990), a new biomedical research building (UCHSC), along with a large increase in grants to both UCD and UCCS.

Organizationally, the President's Office appears to have been located in Woodbury prior to 1913, or in the President's House itself. Little formal organization for such an office existed until University administrative offices moved to Macky in 1913. The first President's Secretary, Grace Craven (1918-1945), served in an office which was composed of only the President and a secretary.

The second phase began in 1941, when the Dean of Faculties and another secretary joined the staff until 1957. During this time, various special assistants were added to the staff temporarily but the core remained at five. The third phase began in 1963 when President Smiley reduced his staff to two secretaries: Louise McAllister (1941-1971) and Lillian Pohorilak (1957-1990). This phase continued with the President's Office moving to Regent Hall in 1964.

President Thieme built up the staff again with various special assistants, as did Roland Rautenstraus, moving staff functions out when they grew too large. The office made its final move to the University Administration Center (914 Broadway - the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity House, 1931-1969) in 1974. Several sub-offices were established, moved, and reestablished from 1974 to 1990 as a number of staff functions continued to be juggled between the President's Office and those of the Vice Presidents. Public Relations, Affirmative Action, Government Relations, and Policy and Planning Development were among the many offices to have passed through the above process.

In 1991 the President's Office experienced a "first" with the induction of Judith Albino, the University's 17th and first woman president. After three relatively un-controversial presidents Judith Albino's Presidency (1991-1995) would combine initial promise with continual conflict. Regents, administrators, students, and faculty supported Albino's appointment as president, even though she was not among the search finalists.

Most hailed her as someone who would bring about changes for women and minorities, and for having "people skills." Nevertheless, Albino's appointment was subject to scrutiny when the press questioned of the legality of the search procedures. Soon after, the media disputed her attempt to hire her husband as the official keeper of the presidential mansion, her freeze the budget in July of 1992, and the expenditure of tax payer money on the presidential mansion. Other CU controversies, such as the imbroglio over UCCS sabbatical leave procedures, tended to include Albino, as well.

When Albino was not confronting external press inquiries, she faced internal squabbles. In February of 1992, CU head football coach Bill McCartney, in a televised appearance, called homosexuality an "abomination of almighty God." Again she faced criticism over her handling of the ever controversial football coach. Over a thousand letters and telephone calls came into the president's office--a majority in favor of McCartney, a few in favor of the right to free speech, and a minority opposed to McCartney's use of his position to further his political agenda. Her attempts to resolve this issue took place six months prior to the state-wide vote on Amendment 2, the hotly debated state constitutional amendment which attempted to curtail gay rights.

During Albino's tenure, faculty and students of color and women along with their allies challenged Albino to improve their representation among the student body and in departments. She faced these challenges by working to increase women faculty members and by aiding in the creation of the Ethic Studies Department. Between 1991 and 1995 the number of minority students rose from 12.4% to 14.8% system-wide. In addition, female student enrollment rose from 50.7% in 1991 to 51.2% in 1995, also system-wide. She also oversaw the development of the University Diversity Plan, and she supported Title 9, which increased opportunities for women in athletics.

Albino's fiscal approach allowed the University System to operate in spite of state government's continued frugality. CU received the lowest state tax dollar per resident of any AAU public university in the state. During her tenure the President's Office lowered administrative expenses, while directing the savings back into academics. At the same time her efforts led to a 54% increase in grants and contracts from 1990 to 1994. And for the first time in history, the system-wide budget for 1994 and 1995 grew to over one billion dollars.

Albino ensured, during her tenure, that academics remained a top priority. She increased the number of core classes offered at CU by 9%, and under her presidency CU obtained the highest graduation rate for four year graduates of all four year institutions in the state.

Albino's strong support for UCCS and UCD lead to her popularity with these campuses--something previous Presidents had not stressed enough. Her administration also oversaw the creation of student residential housing on the UCCS campus in 1994, and she revitalized faculty governance by forging an agreement with the System-wide Faculty Council.

However, despite advancements in minority representation, support of academics, and the connections built between campuses, she experienced difficulties weathering questions of the press, faculty, and other members of the administration. In April of 1992 the issue of Albino's effectiveness as a leader divided the graduate student government, and in January of 1994, administration, deans, and faculty called for Albino's resignation, which regents rejected by a 5-4 margin.

Faculty members, in March of 1994, voted and stated that they had lost faith in Albino's ability to lead, and by April of 1994 she received a "D-" from faculty members. Other complaints from the faculty included Albino's perceived inability to articulate the University's missions and strengths, to address the public on issues concerning the University, to consult students, faculty, and administration on governmental issues, to coordinate goals of separate campuses, and to accept personal responsibility for the problems and mistakes of the Central Administration.

In October of 1995 Albino announced her decision to leave her position as President by November of that same year, some eight months before her term was up. She claimed that she was ready to leave the University to pursue other ventures. The same day she announced her decision, she was honored as Woman of the Year by Boulder community members.


455.75 linear feet

Language of Materials



The University of Colorado President’s Office Papers contains topical files and correspondence from the office’s establishment in Macky Auditorium in 1913 up to 1995. Subjects include Americanization, World War I, Klauder campus architecture, World War II, McCarthyism, In Loco Parentis, the transformation of the University into a research institution, the anti-Vietnam War student movement, the expansion of the University into four campuses, minority rights, gender equity, and methods used by the University to confront variations in State and Federal financial support. The papers contain correspondence and files relating to the Board of Regents, the four campuses, and the rising number of System Administration offices.

Processing Information

This collection remains organized by addition in which it was recieved and is largely grouped together by President. The finding aid is currently in process and a complete PDF list of materials can be requested by contacting

Box numbers restart at the beginning of each series or addition. If you are requesting boxes please indicate with series or addition you are requesting the box from.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States