Jump to main content

Alumni Association History

UNC's alumni relationships have developed through the generations. From early homecoming celebrations to the founding of the association, take a look at the history of UNC's Alumni Association through the years.


First Homecoming

UNC’s Homecoming tradition goes back to 1923 when the football team squared off against Montana State.

Homecoming programming quickly expanded beyond the gridiron to keep pace with our growing campus and the diverse interests of our students and graduates. Today’s Homecoming celebration includes activities with decades of history as well as some that engage our university community in fresh and exciting ways.


UNC names first Honored Alumni

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

1965 & 1966

UNC Alumni Association & UNC Foundation are 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. A year later and under 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.

2014 & 2015

Anniversaries & Celebrations

2014 marked the university's 125th anniversary and with it the celebration of a shared history and many notable alumni contributions. The UNC Alumni Association then celebrated its golden anniversary - 50 years since its founding - in 2015. 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.


The role of alumni in welcoming a new president

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.


The Alumni Association gets a new home in 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.


100th Homecoming

UNC celebrated it's 100th Homecoming along with Family & Friends weekend, October 9-15, 2023. Visit the Homecoming photo album to celebrate memories new and old.

As part of the celebration, UNC launches the Alumni Oral History project aiming to update information and collect stories from among more than 140,000 living alumni.

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.