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About the Alumni Association

Proud to be Bears

The University of Northern Colorado Alumni Association is a growing, global network of UNC Bears. Founded in 1965, we are graduates, continuing students, parents and friends. Our goal is to ensure that alumni and students - Bears of all generations - are actively engaged in their university.

Today, the alumni association is a non-dues based program open to all alumni and students. Administered by the Office of Alumni Relations, the association aims to:

  1. Establish UNC as a valuable resource for alumni and students
  2. Elevate the profile and impact of alumni to inspire relationships and involvement in UNC
  3. Strengthen communication between UNC and its alumni, and alumni with one another
  4. Deliver diverse engagement opportunities designed to increase awareness of and broaden involvement in UNC priorities

And we want you to join us. Get involved in your university because we believe that

"Once a Bear, Always a Bear!"

Alumni Association History


UNC's first Homecoming

A tradition that spans generations, UNC first celebrated the homecoming of alumni in 1923. Today the event and tradition of Homecoming includes the alumni association, athletics, student life, Greek life and the Greeley community at large.


UNC names first honored alumni

Nearly 150,000 individuals have earned a degree from the university since its founding in 1889. In 1947, then named Colorado State College of Education began to honor a select group of alumni for their accomplishments and service to their alma mater.


Alumni Association is founded

In 1965, under the leadership of then named Colorado State College President Darrel Holmes, the alumni association was founded. The association's original board was comprised of nine members including its first president, Greeley businessman Charles Lott and first executive secretary Mearl Grabill.


Foundation is founded

With the leadership from alumna Judy Farr, the now named UNC Foundation was established to provide support for and steward the donations made to the university.


UNC celebrates 100 years

UNC's centennial celebration was marked in 1989. That year the university honored 100 distinguished alumni for their contributions to their respective fields and the university.


Association merges with UNC Foundation

The UNC Alumni Association merged with the UNC Foundation in 2004. The merger transferred fiduciary and administrative oversight of alumni activities to UNC Foundation management but kept the program identity of the alumni association and association's board. Following the merger, alumni association offices move into the renovated Judy Farr Alumni & Development Center in the spring of 2005.


Foundation transfers administration to university

In 2010, UNC President Kay Norton moved the administration of alumni relations and development from the UNC Foundation to a new cabinet position, the Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations. Along with the move, the UNC Alumni Association became a program officially administered by the university with support from the alumni board.


UNC celebrates 125th birthday

2014 marked the university's 125th anniversary and with it the celebration of a shared history and many notable alumni contributions.


UNCAA goes golden

The UNC Alumni Association celebrated its golden anniversary - 50 years since its founding. Monthly highlights and celebratory events marked the occasion on campus and throughout the alumni association's programs that year.


Campaign for UNC

Officially announced in March 2017, the Campaign for UNC became the university's first comprehensive, public fundraising campaign. With a goal of raising $45 million, the campaign also set a goal of engaging 10% of the university's alumni through philanthropy, participation or volunteerism. The Campaign for UNC officially concluded on December 31, 2018. 


Presidential Rollout

UNC welcomed President Andy Feinstein to campus at the start of the 2018-2019 year. The year was full of alumni events and activities including the Colorado Road Show, Presidential Investiture and Campaign for UNC Celebration.

With so much activity, President Feinstein helped the university and alumni association close the academic year having exceeded both the fundraising and engagement goals of the campaign. More than $54 million was committed and more than 12,000 alumni connected and engaged with UNC.

Moving forward, President Feinstein has brought back the Class of 1910 motto, Rowing, Not Drifting, as he calls on faculty, staff, students and alumni to work together in the interests of UNC's future.


University Advancement

President Feinstein announced a restructuring of the university's external operations. As of May 2019, the UNC Alumni Association operates under the new division of University Advancement, resulting from the integration of the former division of Development and Alumni Relations with the former division of University Relations. The integration provides alumni a greater opportunity for engagement across the university and leverages the strength of the alumni network in support of the university's community relations and marketing initiatives.

Do you have questions or additional history to share? Contact the UNC Office of Alumni Relations at alumni@unco.edu to help us tell the story of UNC's alumni relations over time.