What is now Colorado State University began with the Morrill Act of 1862 stating that each state was to create a “land-grant” college to educate all people, and teach such branches of learning as those related to agriculture and the mechanical arts. Universities until then, had been only professional schools (i.e., doctors, lawyers, and teachers). Land-grant universities opened-up higher education to business, farmers, and those engaged in-trade. The Second Morrill Act of 1890 also included a provision that led to the creation of 17 land-grant universities for black students.
In short, Colorado State University’s history, mission, and philosophical basis began with a commitment to increased access for those who, due to economic or social conditions, had not previously been offered full participation in the academic enterprise.
It was with this mission in mind that the Alliance High School Partnership was created in 2006. As the first University in the country to create a “First Generation Award,” Colorado State felt that the Alliance Partnership was the next step in its long history of serving underrepresented populations in gaining access to higher education. The Alliance Partnership is consistent with our mission, our values, and our goals as the state’s Land-Grant University.
Alliance High School Partnership is Created
In September 2006, we identified the 10 Alliance Partner High Schools Alliance Partner High Schools based on a number of factors, including:
- the percentage of students eligible for the free or reduced lunch program
- racial and ethnic makeup of the student population
- number of students who represent the first generation in their family to attend college
- schools that represented diverse geographic regions of the state
The Partnership was then launched in April 2007 when Alliance high school principals, counselors, and teachers were special guests of the University at the CSU Monfort Lecture Series featuring renowned anthropologist, Jane Goodall. Prior to the lecture, a meeting was held allowing us to share the vision of the Alliance Partnership and also provide the Alliance Partner high school representatives with the opportunity to meet each other and other Colorado State University staff.
The first Alliance high school graduates enrolled at Colorado State in fall 2007. Since then, partner high schools have identified their needs and CSU has responded with programs and resources. Out of this partnership have emerged the Alliance Award, Alliance Access Visits, Family Visits, and more. The Partnership continues to evolve as more Alliance high school students embrace the vision of pursuing their education beyond high school.