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Western Colorado University—Top Tier Education on Colorado’s Western Slope

Western Colorado University - College Fair Guide

Nestled in the Gunnison Valley of the Colorado Rockies, Western Colorado University provides a “base camp” for a premier-quality education. Originally established to train teachers for Colorado’s Western Slope, Western now provides 100+ areas of study in one of the most unique university settings in the world.

Designated by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Colleges in the West for the last five years in a row and recently named a College of Distinction for 2018–19, Western’s location, academic excellence, and devoted faculty combine to offer students an individually engaged education and an exceptional lifestyle.

“This school in the heart of the Rocky Mountains has been attracting academically adventurous students for more than a century, but in the last couple of years some incredible things have caused quite a few more candidates to check us out,” says Greg Salsbury, Ph.D., President of Western Colorado University.

High Altitude Campus with High-Quality Academics

With renowned programs in Environment & Sustainability, Biology, Geology, Energy Management, Exercise & Sport Science, Business, Recreation & Outdoor Education, and a full range of degrees in the physical and social sciences, students benefit from Western’s small interactive classes, personal attention, and hands-on experience that are not possible at larger institutions.

Western also provides an ideal outdoor laboratory for the physical sciences. The Rocky Mountains provide a rich and varied geologic environment, and nearly 80 percent of Gunnison County’s 3,239 square miles is federally owned, making it a perfect environment for fieldwork.

For example, one Western research facility is the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Located 35 miles north of campus, the laboratory was once a thriving mining camp and today is a high-altitude field station that conducts pioneering research on climate change. The facility attracts students, researchers, and professors from all over the world.

Along with all the amazing academic opportunities, the Gunnison Valley also offers an unending variety of recreational options. Adventure-minded students have everything they need for an exciting and exploration-packed college career. From hiking, mountain biking, and fishing in the summer to snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and fat biking in the winter, student’s options are limitless. Alpine skiing and snowboarding can also be enjoyed during the winter months at nearby world-class Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

For students who are more interested in pursuing indoor adventures, Gunnison Valley offers a wealth of entertainment. From art galleries to art walks, farmers markets, film festivals, theatres and weekend-long events, there’s different cultural opportunities for everyone.

Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering

As if that’s not enough, several groundbreaking academic programs now allow students to earn nationally ranked Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering in Gunnison.

Western announced the opening of the Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering last September, home to an innovative partnership between Western and the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering & Applied Science.

Through this groundbreaking academic partnership, students can now earn Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder while living in Gunnison and attending Western.

Students in this program take advantage of Western’s small, individualized classes and exceptional student–faculty interaction while earning a Bachelor of Science degree and diploma from the University of Colorado Boulder, ranked among the top-20 public engineering schools in the nation.

The new school was made possible by the largest donation in Western’s history, an $80 million gift from Paul M. Rady, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Colorado-based Antero Resources and Antero Midstream. Rady is a 1978 graduate of Western with a bachelor’s degree in Geology.

Private School Feeling with a Public School Price

With just over 3,000 students, Western students receive the same outstanding personal attention, exceptional faculty interaction and hands-on experience that one would expect at a small, private college while only paying a public university tuition.

In addition, all Western students are considered for merit scholarships when they’re admitted. Eighty percent of students receive some sort of financial aid, helping keep student costs down and value high. Upon graduation, students can launch their professional careers with 33 percent less debit than fellow students who attend other institutions.

“We are proud to serve our state and country by preparing our students to contribute meaningful work in communities across Colorado and beyond,” says Salsbury. “From cybersecurity experts to social workers and teachers, Western graduates play major roles in their fields.”

Ready to join the Mountaineers? Find out more at

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