Project Mission &Goals

To deepen CU Boulder's institutional memory, Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano established the CU Boulder History Project in January 2020, and asked Associate Professor Polly E. Bugros McLean from the College of Media, Communication and Information to serve as project chair, confident in her extensive knowledge of the history of the campus and the Boulder region.

Since the project's inception, a cross-generational, multidisciplinary committee led by McLean and supported by collaborative working groups, history watchers and community partners has endeavored to discover CU Boulder's untold stories – and often complex history – through intersectional perspectives. The collaborators have worked to capture and preserve the experiences of the unique people, singular voices and milestone events that have helped make CU Boulder what it is today. Among the project's guiding principles are commitments to:

  • Providing a more complete and accurate telling of CU Boulder’s history
  • Drawing out new and diverse stories from missing, overlooked or forgotten voices
  • Building the campus's understanding of its strengths and flaws throughout its history
  • Supporting a process of change through openness, transparency, collaboration and accountability

Teams & Committees

The project has been supported by six working teams that provide subject matter expertise and institutional perspectives. Team leaders organize meetings, maintain an information-sharing system, and meet monthly with the project chair to guarantee that research, workflows and project deliverables can be produced and delivered in a timely manner.

A resource committee whose members include students, faculty, staff and alumni across generations as well as city archivists from Boulder and Denver has provided additional subject matter expertise and unique perspectives and has served as an additional checkpoint to guarantee the delivery of research, workflows and project deliverables.

Checkpoints & Monitoring

Checkpoints on campus and in the Boulder and Denver communities have been established to keep various audiences and interest groups aware of the project. The project chair has met with the deans of all of CU Boulder's colleges and schools, with the chairs of the ethnic studies, history, English, journalism and women and gender studies departments, and with the Boulder Faculty Assembly, a shared governance group for CU Boulder faculty members.

The project has also benefitted from community partnerships with the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver and the Carnegie Library for Local History in Boulder. William Wei, a CU Boulder history professor and former Colorado State Historian, and Al Ramírez, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience, have served as trusted consultants since the beginning, meeting with the project chair on a regular basis.

Project Timeline

After a Covid-19 pandemic delay, the project committee resumed its work in February 2021, and the committee and working groups have held regular meetings. A comprehensive report with their findings and recommendations is expected in spring 2024.