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Celebrating 80 Years - 1998, University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Tags: #Celebrating80Years

UCCS currently has more than 12,000 students enrolled.

#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.


While alive, the Penroses were consistently committed to support Colorado’s students and educational institutions, through both grants and scholarships. One way El Pomar’s Trustees have continued this legacy is through support for the University of Colorado Foundation, which is El Pomar’s 5th-highest grant recipient to date. The CU Foundation manages private financial support for the University of Colorado, including all four campuses: Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Anschutz Medical. In particular, given the Foundation’s deep roots in the Pikes Peak region, El Pomar has established a strong legacy of giving to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.



The UCCS Main Hall once served as the Cragmor Sanitorium.

Grantee Spotlight: University of Colorado Colorado Springs

While it is now a prominent institution in Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) is still a relatively young organization. Interestingly, its origins tie back to the region’s status as a healthcare destination rather than a center for education. In its early history, Colorado Springs was seen as an oasis for those suffering from tuberculosis. Soon after the city was established, founder General William Jackson Palmer gifted 100 acres of land and $50,000 so that Dr. Edwin Solly could establish a tuberculosis sanitorium along Austin Bluffs. The Cragmor Sanitorium opened in 1905 and while it initially served the wealthy elite, it later transitioned to a rehabilitative health care facility for Navajo Indians and today serves as the UCCS Main Hall.

In the 1920s, the University of Colorado offered courses at various locations in Colorado Springs. The University of Colorado didn’t have a permanent presence in Colorado Springs until George J. Dwire sold the Cragmor Sanitorium to the University of Colorado for one dollar and the “Colorado Springs Center” opened.  On June 13, 1965, UCCS celebrated its first registration with tuition costs of $13 per semester hour  ($143 for a full course load) for residents. For the next seven years Colorado Springs Center operated as a local division of the University of Colorado Boulder. In 1974,  four distinct CU campuses were officially established, including UCCS.

In 1990, El Pomar Foundation made its first endowment to a public university as a grant toward what is now known as the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization (EPIIC) at UCCS. The Institute serves to aid in the development of new ideas and products, aid people in taking their ideas to market, and connect academia with the business community and local, state, and federal government.

Unveiling of the El Pomar Center cornerstone, 1999

UCCS continued to grow throughout the 1990s: in 1996 the University offered on-campus housing to students for the first time and shortly thereafter, the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences merged with UCCS. In 1998, El Pomar provided a capital grant toward the construction of the El Pomar Center, which houses the Kraemer Family Library. El Pomar Center, which opened in 2001, also features the University’s iconic clock tower.

Recent years have seen rapid development for UCCS, which remains the only public university serving Colorado’s 2nd-largest metropolitan area. From its original 80 acres, UCCS has grown to encompass 530 acres across northern Colorado Springs. It now serves more than 12,000 students and is continuing to expand along the North Nevada Avenue corridor. Most recently, UCCS celebrated the opening of the Ent Center for the Arts, a 92,000 square-foot performing and visual arts complex.

As Mr. William Hybl, CEO and Chairman of El Pomar commented in 1998, “The continued success of UCCS is critical to Colorado Springs’ emerging role as a leading city in the American west,” a statement which rings as true today as it did then.

El Pomar in 1998:

El Pomar invested significantly in education in 1998. Top grantees in education included Colorado College, University of Colorado Foundation, Stanley British Primary School, Wyatt Edison Charter School, and Denver School District 1. Most of these grants supported capital requests and renovations. In total, El Pomar made 257 grants in 1998, distributing $16.5 million across the state. Also of note in 1998, El Pomar was honored by the American Society of Fund Raising Executives with the National Outstanding Foundation Award.



Spotlight by Janni Conrad

Images courtesy of UCCS