UCCS 50th anniversary celebration Thursday

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Gov. John Hickenlooper, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and Neal Lane, a former chancellor who advised President Bill Clinton will be honored guests at a Dec. 3 celebration of UCCS’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. today 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 university’s 50th anniversary. 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 campus 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 in a press release. “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 proclaim Thursday “UCCS 50th Day.”

Suthers, a former instructor of criminal justice at UCCS, is also expected to speak about the university’s social and economic impact on Colorado Springs. They will be joined by Lane of Houston who served as assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology under Clinton from 1998 to 2001.

Lane was UCCS chancellor from 1984 to 1985, leaving to serve as provost at Rice University. 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 Gov. John Love signed legislation that allowed the University of Colorado to assume custody of the defunct 80-acre Cragmor Sanatorium. On Oct. 13, 1964, the $1 sale of the Cragmor land was announced and the Colorado legislature appropriated funds that allowed UCCS operations to begin in January 1965.

UCCS has since expanded to more than 400 acres between North Nevada Avenue and Union Boulevard in northeast Colorado Springs. UCCS is one of the fastest-growing universities in Colorado, offering 39 bachelors, 20 masters and five doctoral degrees.

To see a timeline of UCCS’ growth and details of other 50th anniversary events, visit uccs.edu/50th.