Joe Hunter has been a student in the CSU System for almost two
years, even though he just started school in Fort Collins last
Instead, Hunter began his college education at CSU-Pueblo, a
regional comprehensive university that is part of the CSU
“I loved it there,” said Hunter, a sophomore business major. “I
felt it was good if you’re seeking a specialty major such as
nursing or automotive. I was in the automotive program.”
Although CSU-Pueblo used to be called the University of Southern
Colorado, Barbara Montgomery, the university’s provost and vice
president for Academic Affairs, said that it has been part of the
system for years.
“I think it’s important to keep in mind that (CSU-Pueblo) has
been part of the same system for a number of years,” Montgomery
said. “There has been collaboration in the past, but now there’s a
commitment to strengthen the collaboration.”
The name change went into effect on July 1, but Montgomery said
discussions began in the late 1990s and continued for almost five
“There were conversations then about pros and cons and what
might happen (under the name change),” Montgomery said. “We were
required to do detailed studies to see what changes would result if
legislature passed off the name change.”
Tom Milligan, assistant vice president of University Relations
at CSU, said the name change represents a closer relationship
between the two institutions.
“We look at it as an opportunity to closely integrate efforts of
the two institutions with very different missions,” Milligan said.
“(CSU) attracts more Colorado residents than any other school. We
have outreach offices in virtually every county.”
Milligan said more collaboration is taking place to meet the
“As we move forward to serve Colorado better, we’re making the
impact on the state stronger,” Milligan said.
Kevin Oltjenbruns, vice provost of undergraduate studies at CSU,
said there are informal conversations unfolding to determine a
different kind of partnership.
“There are early discussions about a possible partnership with
CSU-Pueblo so some of their students might be able to work with our
students to earn a dietetics concentration,” Oltjenbruns said. “The
reason is that there is a professional need for many qualified
dieticians and CSU-Pueblo doesn’t have a program.”
Although these conversations have begun, Oltjenbruns said
nothing is set in stone.
“Time will tell which collaboration will become a reality,”
Admissions and academics remain separate between the two
institutions right now. The application process is separate, but in
the future officials are discussing a possible
“There are different admissions standards,” Milligan said. “We
are a highly selective institution. If a student isn’t admitted
here, he or she may be able to begin in Pueblo. There’s work going
on in that issue.”
The CSU-Pueblo professors are still the same as when the
institution was called USC. Montgomery said faculty members are
quality teachers at the university.
“We have typical faculty members, a pretty prevalent model of
higher education,” Montgomery said. “They are very well
Hunter agreed the professors are good.
“(The professors) were all in touch with the students, sincere
and held a close relationship with the class,” he said.
Despite how new the name change is, officials from both schools
agree that it has been beneficial to the CSU System.
“There has been an impact on enrollment (at CSU-Pueblo),”
Milligan said. “It’s not dropping like it has in the past. It’s
going the right way. That’s important. The benefit to the system is
that it grows stronger and benefits the state.”
Montgomery agreed that the changes have had only benefits.
“CSU-Pueblo enhances education opportunities in the south part
of the state,” she said. “Forty to 50 percent of students here are
place-bound, which means they have significant responsibilities in
this region. It would be difficult to live away and go to
Officials said that while continued expansion of CSU to other
parts of the state is not out of the question, there is no plan for
future expansion right now.
“CSU takes great pride in its name and it should,” Montgomery
said. “It represents educational opportunity for the state and we
take great pride in the special part of the role in bringing
benefits to Colorado.”