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University History

Origins of an urban campus

Many paths have led to the current University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus.

CU Anschutz began with the establishment of the CU School of Medicine in 1883 on the Boulder campus. CU Denver originated in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder and gained its independence in 1973.

In 2004, the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to combine the CU Anschutz Medical Campus with CU Denver. Today, the consolidated University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus includes two of the four campuses that make up the University of Colorado system. ​

Here's a timeline of our evolution:

The School of Medicine opens in Old Main in Boulder—two professors, two students, two classrooms.


The current College of Nursing is founded.


Competing private schools objected and took the case to the Colorado Supreme Court, which sent clinical services back to Boulder.


Colorado State legislature rules the hospital can indeed have a clinical site in Denver.


The Denver and Gross Colleges of Medicine in Denver merge with CU's School of Medicine, paving the way for the permanent move to Denver.

The American Medical Association gives the newly-formed college a Class A rating.

The school offers free dispensary and treats 20,000 cases annually.

The city of Denver gives Denver City and County Hospital to CU for clinical instruction.


The current Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is founded.


The School of Medicine moves into a quadrangle of four brick buildings at Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.


Denver offerings grow to 34 programs at undergraduate and graduate levels as the University of Colorado Denver Center.


The current College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is established under the name, the College of Undergraduate Studies at Denver Center.


On Jan. 11, 1973, lawmakers, upon proclamation of the governor, amend the state constitution to establish additional CU campuses, transforming the University of Colorado—Denver Center into the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver).

The current School of Education and Human Development is established.

The current School of Public Affairs is established.


Harold Haak becomes the first CU Denver chancellor (he had become vice president in 1973).


CU Denver students begin taking classes on the Auraria Campus.


​CU Denver faculty, students and alumni launch the "Save UCD" campaign and march on the Colorado State Capitol to preserve the university's sovereignty in the face of a potential merger.


​​The current Business School is established.


​​​The current College of Arts & Media is created.


​​​​CU Denver acquires the CU Building at the corner of 14th and Larimer Streets.


​​​The first university of its kind in China, International College Beijing (ICB) was established in 1994 between the University of Colorado Denver and China Agricultural University.


​​​Fitzsimons Army base will close. Negotiations begin to create a new health sciences center.


University offices move into the Lawrence Street Center at 14th Street.


​​​The University of Colorado Board of Regents votes to combine the Anschutz Medical Campus with the Denver Campus for a consolidated university.


​​​The new health sciences campus being built on the site of the closed Fitzsimons Army Medical Center is named the Anschutz Medical Campus in recognition of more than $90 million in donations from the Anschutz Foundation.


​​​By the end of 2008, academic and research operations of all CU Anschutz Medical Campus health sciences schools and colleges have relocated to the new campus, joining the affiliated University of Colorado Hospital and Children's Hospital.


The University of Colorado Board of Regents vote unanimously to affirm consolidation of the health sciences and downtown campuses and the name, University of Colorado Denver.


​The Business School moves into its own building at the corner of 15th and Lawrence Streets.


CU Denver breaks ground on the new Academic Building at the corner of Larimer Street and Speer Boulevard.

CU Denver launches a brand-new mascot, Milo the CU Denver Lynx.

CU Denver

1201 Larimer Street
Denver, Colorado

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CU Anschutz
Medical Campus

13001 E. 17th Place
Aurora, Colorado

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CU South Denver

10035 S. Peoria Street
Lone Tree, Colorado

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