Western State College

Western’s huge “W”, located on Tenderfoot Mountain, overlooks Gunnison and is the largest collegiate symbol in the world. The lighting of the “W” is a homecoming tradition and is anticipated by alumni and Gunnison residents alike. The students of Western State College are a valued addition to Gunnison and add a youthful mix to the community. Western State students have such fond memories of their experience here that many return to make this natural playground their permanent home.

Western State College was established as the “Colorado State Normal School” in 1901. It went on to become Western State College of Colorado in 1923, and still today is an institution invested in a liberal arts curriculum that provides a rich learning experience for all 2,400+ students who attend. The classroom is just one venue for learning, however the “outdoor” classroom proves to be one the students of Western value as they experience hands on learning opportunities.

The landscape of Western State College is ever changing with new buildings adding their own flavor of architecture mixed in with the historical roots of old campus. Recent additions include, the College Center, the Borick Business Building and The Pinnacles student apartment complex. Slated for completion in early 2014 is a 120,298 square foot recreation center/fieldhouse that will include a new indoor track, a High Performance Laboratory, 54 ft. tall climbing tower, and many new exercise rooms as well as new fitness equipment.

Western State College, at 7,700 feet above sea level, provides an excellent training ground for the development of exceptional athletes. Since Mack Miller claimed Western State College’s first individual national championship in men’s cross country skiing in 1957, the Mountaineers have gone on to collect another 96 individual national championships in Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field (21 National Champions), Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field (42 National Champions), Men’s and Women’s Cross Country (8 National Champions), Wrestling (16 National Champions), Men’s Swimming and Diving ( 1 National Champion) and Men’s and Women’s Skiing (9 National Champions). Western State athletic teams have also collected an impressive 89 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference team titles.