In 2021, Adams State will celebrate its 100th anniversary, a milestone that calls for reflection on how the school has evolved. While much has changed, the school’s relationship to its community has not. Throughout its history, Adams State has been crucial to enhancing educational opportunity, economic development, and cultural enrichment in the San Luis Valley and surrounding region.

Adams State was founded in 1921 for the purpose of educating teachers to serve rural areas of Colorado, including the San Luis Valley. The goal then, as now, was to provide students with an exceptional education and the individual care and attention that would allow them to succeed.

In 1952, the school embarked on a ten-year building program, during which the majority of the campus’ current facilities were constructed. Adams State’s enrollment grew from 349 in 1950 to over 2,000 in 1965. Meanwhile, its curricular focus expanded from teacher education to include undergraduate programs in a variety of disciplines, as well as graduate programs.

In 2000, Adams State was Colorado’s first higher education institution to be federally designated a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Since then, the university has been awarded a total of $14.1 million in Title V grants designed to strengthen HSIs.

Today, the university continues its commitment to serve underrepresented minorities, first-generation, and low-income students by focusing on access and affordability. Since fall 2016, undergraduate students enrolled in on-campus classes have been guaranteed no tuition increases through their fourth consecutive academic year of enrollment. Adams State is the first and only institution in Colorado to offer this unique program.