Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yampa Valley College (CO)

Miracle on a Mountain: The Story of a College by Lucile Bogue provides the history of Yampa Valley College.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone interested in what it takes to turn the dream of a small liberal arts college into a reality.  Bogue does a great job of telling the improbable story of the extended community in and around Steamboat Springs, CO, with a population of 2,500 at the time, joining together to found the institution in 1962.  

Bogue served as the founding president and traveled widely to promote the vision of an institution combining liberal arts and international awareness.  Classes were held in various locations and enrollment grew during the early years.  Bogue's health deteriorated from the multiple stresses arising from recruiting students and communicating the college's story to foundations and anyone else who might be helpful.  

A rapid succession of administrators followed Bogue's departure and the name was change to Colorado Alpine College in 1966.  Tiring of the stuggle, the trustees sold the institution and U.S. International University operated the campus for four years.  Enrollment fell and the college closed in 1975.

Concluding chapters cover the efforts of a small group that kept the idea alive, fighting political battles at the state level, to ultimately see the the campus reopen in 1981 as part of Colorado Mountain College.
After leaving Yampa Valley College, Bogue went on to earn a master's degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. She taught in Japan and Nicaragua and served a number of years as dean of the Anna Head School in Oakland, CA.  She passed away in 2011 at the age of 93.

An interesting article by Amanda DeVoss in the June 30, 2012 issue of the Steamboat Magazine includes interviews with alumni, faculty and staff who returned for a 50th anniversary reunion honoring the founding of Yampa Valley College.