Celebrating 75 years with the Department of Construction Management

RamBuilt CM 75th Anniversary logo - 1946-2021Fall 2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the Department of Construction Management. The inception of Colorado State University’s construction education program is directly tied to the needs of both our industry and our nation at the end of World War II.

The Department of Construction Management program at Colorado State University is one of the top-recognized construction education programs in the nation. Since its inception in 1946, close to 6,000 students have graduated, many of them going on to become leaders in their field.

A rich history

Side-by-side "then and now" pics of Guggenheim and Precon buildings on Laurel St. in 1930 and in modern day
A side-by-side photo shows the Guggenheim and Precon buildings “then and now” in celebration of CSU’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2020.

In 1946, thousands of veterans were returning home from the war, enrolling in college, starting jobs, marrying, and beginning families. Americans needed homes, schools, offices, libraries, hospitals, factories, and stores – and the infrastructures needed to support daily living. The light construction industry was expected to double in the post-war economy.

Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College, the land-grant school in Fort Collins now known as Colorado State University, had the mission of imparting both a liberal arts and a practical education, particularly in sciences pertaining to agriculture and the mechanical arts. Beginning with the school’s earliest days in the 1800s, students spent mornings in the classroom and afternoons in the field applying what they’d learned. By the time they graduated, they acquired practical experience in mechanics, science, agriculture, chemical analysis, field surveys, leveling, platting, and more.

This hands-on education in diverse subject areas was one reason the school was selected in 1946 to prepare graduates who could effectively manage the country’s construction projects. A higher education-industry partnership set the wheels in motion.

Strong industry support

Today, Colorado State University’s Construction Management program is housed within its own department. With 28 full-time faculty and staff, CM produces approximately 200 graduates each year. The Department of Construction Management still ranks among the largest academic departments at Colorado State University.

The higher education-construction industry partnership that started it all is more vital today than ever before. The Joseph Phelps Internship Placement Office provides intern and job search assistance for students, as well as recruiting services for employers. Industry partners contribute to creating a more professional learning environment and a curriculum focused on industry issues and needs. Faculty and students work closely with industry to address real-life construction issues.

Side-by-side "then and now" pics of the IS Lab building with male student working with a saw, and modern day female student with female instructor working with a saw
Also in celebration of CSU’s sesquicentennial in 2020, this side-by-side showcases the evolution of the Industrial Sciences Lab Building.

In addition to a strong curriculum and required internship that provides students the foundation for a career in the different sectors of the construction industry, the CM program has a number of high-impact practices that support learning beyond the classroom. Being part of a student organization, being a member of a competition team, or giving back to the community through the CM Cares program are all ways to promote professionalism while developing leadership and team-building skills.

Continuing a legacy of excellence

Today our faculty conduct research to develop innovative solutions, and new knowledge to benefit industry, regional, national, and global stakeholders. In addition, CM faculty lend their expertise and knowledge through their work and dedication on multiple editorial boards, national committees, and national advisory councils.

Through partnerships with amazing industry and alumni, the CM program has three endowed faculty positions, and 17 named spaces within the three buildings that the department occupies. Partnership support also contributes to opportunities for professional development for students and faculty, as well as special initiatives for service-learning and outreach.  Additionally, over 40 CM scholarships are awarded to students each year thanks to generous donations from individuals, families, alumni, and industry.

With graduates across the nation and various parts of the world, our impressive alumni, generous donors, and engaged industry partners are considered our biggest assets. We are proud to celebrate 75 years of Construction Management as a professional academic program, building the future leaders of our industry.

To view more about Construction Management’s history, see the historical highlights by decade on the CM website, as well as the CM 60th anniversary commemorative booklet.

The Department of Construction Management is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.