Many times I have had visiting friends and family ask me what that giant “A” up on the hill is all about. Of course I am happy to divulge the tale of the white symbol above our city, but I also wonder how many of our locals may not really know what that “A” is all about.
The “A” comes to us courtesy of Colorado State University as one of the longest standing traditions at the school. But why would CSU place an “A” on the hill; CSU was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College. The “A” stands for the Aggies; the original team name/mascot for the college. The “A” was first created on December 4, 1923. In just 6 hours of construction a CSU tradition was born. “The following year, on Sept. 20, students lengthened and widened the “A” to its present size of 450 feet high and 210 feet across.” Each year the “A” is maintained by freshman football players and several other campus organizations. They hike up to it with buckets of white paint, truth be told- getting themselves whitewashed also.
The name change from Colorado Agricultural College to Colorado State University officially took place in 1957. A newer sports tradition is the “Orange Out” where team members and fans wear the original color of the Aggies – Pumpkin orange. Another fun fact is according to CSU “in 1946, the Aggies adopted a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram as the official mascot. The original ram was named “CAM” for Colorado A&M, and one of his descendants remains our mascot today.”
By Charlotte Lakamp