Colorado Women's College is a women's college in Denver, Colorado that opened in 1909 as a private, independent, institution. The school merged with the University of Denver in 1982 and continues to operate as a division within the University that focuses on evening, weekend, and online courses for women.
Colorado Women's College was founded by the Rev. Robert Cameron, the pastor of Denver's First Baptist Church, who wished to open a women's college in the Western United States that would be equivalent to Vassar College in terms of prestige and academic offerings.
Incorporated in 1888, the college did not open until 21 years later. It received its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission as Colorado Woman's College in 1932, which it maintained until its closing. The college was renamed Temple Buell College in 1967 in honor of a local philanthropist who made a $25 million (USD) gift to the college the year before. The name-change alienated old grads and their donations fell. The Buell "gift" was a legacy in the will of Temple Buell (1895–1990). In response to these financial struggles, the college changed its name to Colorado Women's College. As residential college, it had an active social life for students. The campus newspaper was titled The Western Graphic; other publications included yearbooks and scrapbooks. The college also had athletic offerings, including field hockey and basketball.
By the late 1970s, the college had experienced continued falling enrollment and funding, with higher education specialist Gary A. Knight deeming the college "financially desperate" and lacking enough prospective students, the "lifeblood" of the college, to sustain itself. In 1982, the college's assets were sold to the University of Denver, a private university that opened The Women's College of the University of Denver that same year. The University considers that unit, which subsequently regained its original name as the "Colorado Women's College," to stand in historical continuity with the original, independent, "Colorado Women's College." The original Colorado Women's College campus was home to the Women's College until 2001, when it became the Denver campus of Johnson & Wales University.
In 2015, Rebecca Chopp, the first female chancellor at University of Denver, discontinued the Colorado Women's College bachelor degree program in favor of developing innovative and nontraditional models to educate and advance women. Colorado Women's College has a long and rich history of creating access and educational opportunities for both traditional and nontraditional female students, so the decision to move away from the degree granting program continues to support that legacy as the current model in higher education is regularly being challenged. Moving forward, Colorado Women's College is advocating for gender equity in evolving structures of work and higher education by engaging in solution-focused research and offering programs to support women and promote gender equity.
- Bobbe Carney, University of Iowa women's golf head coach
- Rebecca Ann King, Miss America 1974
- Edna Ahgeak MacLean, Inuit educator and activist for the Inupiaq language
- Cleo Parker Robinson, professional dancer
- "Colorado Women's College." Higher Learning Commission. Accessed February 15, 2008.
- Knight, Gary A. "Ethical Recruitment and the Financially Troubled College: The Case of Colorado Women's College." Journal of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors. January 1978.
- "Temple H. Buell, 94, Philanthropist, Is Dead." The New York Times. January 9, 1990.
- Sweets, Ellen. "Johnson & Wales University Expands Denver Campus." The Denver Post. June 9, 2003.
- Transition Press Release "" Accessed April 20, 2015.
- Colorado Women's College Alumnae Association
- Guide to the Colorado Woman's College Records at the University of Denver Retrieved 2014-09-30.
- Denver Sisters United  retrieved 20 April 2015.