Adams State College

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Adams State College is a small state-supported liberal arts college in Alamosa, Colorado, U.S., in the San Luis Valley.



Adams State was founded in 1921 as a teacher's college but now offers a variety of programs including masters degrees in many fields. Billy Adams, a Colorado legislator who would later become governor, 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. The college's first graduate, [1] in 1926, was Harriett Dalzell Hester, who went on to become the school's librarian and Alamosa County's schools superintendent. With only a grade school education himself, 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 olives 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. The communities of Alamosa and the San Luis Valley faithfully supported the efforts of individuals such as Dr. Ira Richardson, the college’s first president. Billy Adams died in 1954, just shy of his 93rd birthday. He left the school $10,000.


Alamosa, Colorado, is a small city with a population of about 9,133. It is located in the heart of the San Luis Valley. All of the college’s academic and residential buildings are located on its contiguous 90-acre (360,000-m2) campus. The main administration building is Richardson Hall, named after the school's first president, Dr. Ira Richardson. The William Porter Math and Science Hall is named for alumnus, William Porter, the creator of E-Trade and a major benefactor of the school. Notable Campus edifices for the performing arts include a theater, newly erected in 2001, and the Leon Memorial Concert Hall. The ESS (Educational and Social Studies) Building is the main venue for English, Psychology, Sociology, and Teacher-Education classes. There are two gyms: one for student recreation, and Plachy Hall, used mainly by the Athletics Department. The stadium is currently undergoing major renovation; the new complex will include suites for game viewing, and a new residence hall. There are currently five on-campus apartment[clarification needed] complexes, in addition to three traditional dormitory halls. Most entering freshmen are housed in Coronado and Girault Halls.

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