Adams 100

A Once in a Century Celebration

The year 2021 will mark 100 years since Adams State University was established.

Ira Richardson 1st president of Adams State
Ira Richardson

Billy Adams, a Colorado legislator who would later become the 25th governor of the state, worked for three decades before obtaining the authorization to found Adams State Normal School in 1921. His goal was to educate teachers for remote, rural areas, such as the San Luis Valley, and teacher education remains an important emphasis for Adams State today.

The site for Adams State Normal School was selected in November 1921 when the first Board of Trustees came together. The Trustees selected 60 acres acquired on the edge of Alamosa.

In 1924, Alamosa families and businesses pledged $27,000 to support the school in lieu of state funding. Three years later, the state reimbursed the money.

Ira Richardson was named the first president of Adams State in 1925. That same year, Helen Eagle of Monte Vista became the first student to register for courses and Adams State held its first session in the summer of 1925.

Adams State invites you – its alumni, its faculty and staff, its friends and supporters – to re-engage, re-connect and re-commit the values of Adams State as the leading rural-serving institution in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

Billy Adams

Billy Adams on Harley DavidsonWith only a grade school education himself, Billy Adams came to the SLV in 1879 at the age of 17 to begin ranching. Within three years, he was mayor of Alamosa. Alamosa was a rough-hewn town in those days. The Rio Grande typically flooded each spring, turning Main Street to mud. Once the college was built, a hedge of Russian olive trees had to be planted along the campus edge to keep out herds of horses.

Then, as now, potatoes were the area’s primary cash crop. But grain and vegetables were also raised, as well as cattle, sheep and pigs. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad shipped them east.

The perseverance demonstrated by Billy Adams in founding his teachers college also characterized those who took over the task of making Adams State more than a dream.

Adams State News

Total fall enrollment at Adams State is 3,039 students

“We are extremely pleased with the growing number of students we are serving at the graduate degree level, and we believe our undergraduate student enrollment mirrors what other universities across the state and country are experiencing,” said Adams State President Cheryl D. Lovell.

Re-Engage. Re-Connect. Re-Commit.

We need your help, as alumni and friends of Adams State, to tell the story.

Tell us how you’re doing and tell us someone you remember.

Upcoming Activities

February 2021

Adams100 Kickoff Celebration

May 2021

Spring Graduation

August 2021

Welcome Back Students, Fall 2021 Semester

October 2021

Homecoming Activities

December 2021

Adams100 Closing Activities


old Adams State parade through downtown Alamosa

Adams100 Sponsors

Billy Adams Sponsor

Alamosa State Bank

Harriet Dalzell Hester Sponsor

Ira Richardson Sponsor

San Luis Valley Federal Bank

Adams100 Documentary Sponsor

Centennial Lecture Series Sponsor

Individual Sponsors