History Unleashed

By Ann Gill (’76) and Ben Fogelberg (B.A., 94; M.A., 98)

Colorado State University has many impressive stories to tell. Stories that make us proud to be alumni, stories that add value to our degrees, and stories that inspire us. Some are well-known, like Temple Grandin’s impact on autism awareness and humane livestock handling. Our veterinary medicine program is one of the top three in the country. We are one of the best schools in the nation for veterans according to both Military Times and U.S News and World Report. CSU is a star in sustainability, being the first university to receive a platinum STARS rating from an independent program that measures comprehensive sustainability efforts at over 800 universities around the world. The list goes on and on.

We also have stories alumni tell whenever they get together – stories of amazing, silly, or quirky moments that are also part of our past. Like any family, our “Ramily” loves to retell these stories, and the CSU Alumni Association is thrilled to share some of them in the new Iris & Michael Smith Alumni Center opening August 25. Here are a few of the best:

Wartime Aggie Mascot


Battery A, a National Guard unit composed of Aggie students, faculty and alumni, was called to active duty in WWI. When shipped to the East Coast for training exercises, the unit took with them the Aggie mascot, a bulldog named Peanuts. They shipped Peanuts home when Battery A departed for France.

Hold Your Fire ('til Longmont)

The Cannon

In 1922, cadets took the CSU cannon to Boulder for a football game and rattled locals in Longmont when they fired it on Main Street “to let the Buffalos know the Aggies were coming.”

Don't hold your tongue

The Stump

The Stump sits on the Plaza and serves as a platform for speakers. Stolen in 1967, it was located in 1971 at an apartment. The students who lived there agreed to return the Stump for a ransom of $10 and two cases of beer. Stolen again in the late 1970s and eventually located near Rustic, the Stump’s second return to campus required rescue from a ravine but no ransom.

Rams rally during crisis

The Flood

The night of July 28, 1997, between 10 and 15 inches of rain caused flash flooding on campus and along Spring Creek. Damage to campus totaled over $100 million.  Many lower-level rooms had 6 feet of water, with significant damage in Morgan Library, Lory Student Center, Eddy, Engineering and elsewhere. Despite predictions the University would have to cancel fall semester, Rams rolled up their sleeves and got to work.  Summer courses resumed two days later.  The library reopened within a month.  Fall semester started on time and, despite suffering a total loss, the bookstore had textbooks available for 85% of fall courses the first day of classes.

A Buff in the buff

And the Band Played on

During the CSU Marching Band’s halftime performance at the 2009 Rocky Mountain Showdown in Boulder, an unclothed CU student jumped onto the field and streaked through the Band’s formation. The CSU Band Director tackled him in the end zone and held him for security. Clearly unimpressed by the Buff in the buff, our Band played on!

Cow-tastrophe in Edwards Hall

Steer Clear

A steer, perhaps like the one pictured, escaped from the Livestock Pavilion in 1990. After a woman’s scream near the Visual Art Building startled the animal, it broke through a glass wall into Edwards Hall, chasing students down a hallway, and broke the door to a room, where it destroyed most of the contents. No one was injured and the steer was captured safely.

Students Demand Suds


ASCSU President Doug Phelps led more than 3,000 students at an illegal “Beer-In” at Lory Student Center in 1968 to demand the University allow students who were legally of age to drink beer on campus. Fort Collins ended its 74-year “dry town” status in 1969, and by 1970, beer was served in the Ramskeller.