This month in history: March

John EvansColorado Seminary founded

March 1864


On March 4, Colorado Territorial Gov. John Evans (pictured) signed into law Bill No. 22, which created a board of trustees “for the purpose of founding, directing, and maintaining an institution of learning, to be styled the Colorado Seminary.” On March 14 that year, more than two-dozen frontiersmen gathered together for the first official meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees. Although the Colorado Seminary would operate under the purview of the Methodist Church, the school’s charter clearly stated that “no test of religious faith shall ever be applied as a condition of admission” for the men and women of Denver. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the trustees, including Denver Mayor Amos Steck, weren’t members of the Methodist Church but were simply important businessmen—owners of mills and mines, lumber dealers, bankers, lawyers and real estate operators from around the territory. Under Evan’s leadership as president of the board, these men used their ambition, vision, power and influence to establish the oldest independent university in the Rocky Mountain region, now known as the University of Denver.


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