Western Colorado University is a private liberal arts college in the Gunnison Valley, a rural part of the state adorned with lakes and mountains. Commonly known as Western, the university is 180 miles from Denver, Colorado’s capital and largest city.
Western was founded in 1901, and opened as a teaching college 10 years later. Teaching programmes remain an important part of Western’s offering today. It was the first university in the state to introduce a liberal arts-based curriculum. Previously Colorado State Normal School and Western State College of Colorado, it became Western State Colorado University in 2012, and is now known simply as Western Colorado University.
One of the top 100 colleges in the West, it has also been ranked as one of the best five universities in the US at which to study environmental science. Western is one of the best value institutions in Colorado, and describes itself as one of the most affordable universities in the country. Class sizes at the university average 17, with well over half comprising fewer than 20 students.
Western’s cohort of postgraduate students doubled in size between 2010 and 2015, and master’s courses at the university include gallery management & exhibits specialisation, and high altitude exercise physiology. It is also one of the few US universities to offer petroleum geology and professional land & resource management courses. Its 350-acre campus enjoys spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains.
Lauren Kleppin, one of the fastest marathon runners in the US, and former mountain biking champion David Wiens, both went to Western. More than 20 Olympians studied at the university.