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The history from the Colorado Aggies to the Rams

(Graphic Illustration by Nick Perl | The Collegian)

In the past, Colorado State University has had a history of names and changes that have shaped the way we know it now. To begin our Aggie adventure, in 1870, Gov. Edward McCook signed a territorial bill creating the school.

A few years later, President Elijah Edwards, along with two other faculty members, was the first to open the doors to the Agricultural College of Colorado in 1879. Its first graduating class wasn’t until 1884, but these students made their marks through the school, attending as alumni at the school’s first-ever homecoming game many years later. 

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This game was in October 1914 and had the alumni going against the football team at the time. The alumni ended up winning the game 3-0 but had their own fun, scoring the only touchdown, which did not count since there were 13 players on the field.

Then, in 1954, CAM the Ram was announced as our school mascot halfway through a Colorado A&M versus the University of Wyoming basketball game, named after the acronym of the school’s name.”

Now, the school celebrates homecoming with a football game that our team plays during their regular season. Shortly after came the school’s oldest and noisiest tradition; shooting the cannon has become such a huge part of football program tradition. CSU shoots the cannon before the game on kickoff and every time the football team scores.

In 1924, we saw “The A” on the hill west of campus, which was specially assembled on Dec. 4, 1923, and completed on Sept. 20, 1924. It has become an iconic way for new students to feel more connected as there is always an offer to hike to “The A” when they arrive on campus. During Homecoming and Family Weekend, students are able to see “The A” on campus at night because it is lit up. 

The birth of Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was in 1935, removing the Colorado Agricultural College name. Then, in 1954, CAM the Ram was announced as our school mascot halfway through a Colorado A&M versus University of Wyoming basketball game, named after the acronym of the school’s name.

This began the transition of Colorado State going from Aggies to Rams. CAM the Ram was first handled and cared for by the Alpha Zeta fraternity members but is now looked over by the Ram Handlers that volunteer and are picked by the CSU Alumni Association.

The name for Colorado A&M did not last a long time, and in 1957, the Colorado General Assembly approved the new name: Colorado State University. After the change to CSU, in 1994, the Rams football team won their first Western Athletic Conference championship against a sixth-ranked University of Arizona team while CSU was ranked 10th in the nation.

Fast forward to the 21st century, in 2015, Colorado State’s enrollment surpassed 32,000 students, with the incoming freshmen being the most diverse in the school’s history. Now, 150 years later, Colorado State still promotes the Aggie name, but the school announces themselves as the Colorado State University Rams. 

Bryson Schminke can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @brysons81.

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