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As part of this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations at Colorado Mountain College, the college is swinging the doors open wide at its Dillon and Breckenridge buildings Friday, Aug. 25.

Picture of Sue Daley, CMC program director in the 1970s and '80s.

During the ’70s, Sue Daley was instrumental in building a permanent home for CMC in Summit County. She was behind the effort to move the college’s small office from Frisco to Breckenridge’s historic town hall. The college has since relocated to a building in Breckenridge, plus a learning location in Dillon. Colorado Mountain College archives (scan of Summit County Journal, June 21, 1974)

All are invited to join in a reunion for old and young alike, sample a quick class or two and gather with the many who’ve been part of the college over the past five decades. All events during the day are free and open to everyone.

“We are having this celebration to honor those who made this college possible, as well as to thank them and all of our community members who’ve supported us over the years,” said Dave Askeland, Colorado Mountain College Summit County vice president. “We are all here today because of you.”

Morning in Dillon

The day begins at an open house from 9:30 a.m. to noon at CMC Dillon, which will run concurrently with the Dillon Farmers Market.

Campus tours will be available, as well as the opportunity to drop into a Zumba class, learn about the benefits of indoor plants, get a (temporary) tattoo on yourself or your kids, or join a historical walking tour with Sandra Mather of the Summit Historical Society. Askeland will be on hand, as will birthday cake and refreshments.

Afternoon in Breckenridge

After enjoying lunch from one of the Dillon Farmers Market vendors or on their own, attendees are invited to follow the festivities to CMC Breckenridge starting at 1 p.m. Thirty-minute, faculty-led mini-classes will be held on a rotating schedule.

At 3:30 p.m., college leaders, a student representative and faculty members will share stories about Colorado Mountain College’s past, present and future at a 50th anniversary program.

The day concludes with a reunion party for everyone from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring CMC Culinary Institute student-made appetizers, created in partnership with Keystone Resort and Vail Resorts/Epic Promise. A 50th anniversary cake cutting at 6:15 p.m., with a cake provided by Sodexo, will cap off the celebrations.

CMC Breckenridge's old brick building.

Breckenridge’s former high school, built in 1909, became town hall before it was remodeled into CMC Breckenridge’s center during the ’70s. Photo Colorado Mountain College archives

Special guest David Delaplane, considered the “founding father” of CMC, is expected to attend, as is CMC President and CEO Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser.

Thanks to presenting sponsors Alpine Bank, Jim and Connie Calaway, Holy Cross Energy (a Touchstone Energy Cooperative), Morgridge Family Foundation and Sodexo, all campuses of Colorado Mountain College are holding special events throughout 2017. Summit County community sponsors include Epic Promise/Vail Resorts, Kaiser Permanente, BGV Gives, GoBreck, BreckCreate, and the towns of Breckenridge and Dillon.

CMC Dillon is at 333 Fiedler Ave., and CMC Breckenridge is at 107 Denison Placer Road. RSVPs are encouraged; visit CMCBecauseOfYou.org/campus-celebrations or call 453-6757.

A CMC Summit County history

Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge will be one of two settings for the college’s 50th celebration Aug. 25. After spending the morning at CMC Dillon, the public is invited to Breckenridge for a sampling of classes, a historical program and a reunion for everyone. Photo Colorado Mountain College archives

Colorado Mountain College in Summit County has been an integral part of the college and community since it first offered continuing education classes in Breckenridge and Dillon. This is the case despite the fact that Summit County residents initially voted against forming the college district and supporting it with their property taxes.

CMC in Summit County was pioneered by a succession of Susans at the helm. In 1971, Susan Dorris opened the first Colorado Mountain College office in Frisco. She was the owner of the Breckenridge Bookstore, and held classes there. As was typical whenever a non-residential CMC campus started, continuing education classes were held wherever space could be found.

Dorris was succeeded by Susan Hayes the following year. That fall, 12 people signed up for classes.

Then Sue Daley hit town in 1973 and the program really began to take off. Daley saw an advertisement in the local newspaper for a CMC program director. Although she had no direct experience, she jumped at the job. At the time, enthusiasm and persistence were the key requirements.

In an effort to boost enrollment, Daley took to the streets, talking to people, asking what they needed in the way of workforce training or anything else. Thanks to her efforts, enrollment in the county jumped to 200.

It soon became apparent that the college had outgrown its modest office in Frisco, and a permanent home was needed for the college’s education center. Daley approached Breckenridge town government about turning part of the historic town hall over to Colorado Mountain College.

A host of volunteers rolled up their sleeves and pitched in on the remodeling project. Fundraising came in all forms.

CMC staff moved into the new quarters in 1978. The building featured classrooms, an office, theater, art gallery and the town’s public library. That fall, 140 different classes were offered through Summit County Continuing Education.

Over the years, CMC hosted well-attended art events and workshops. In 1976, it received one of the first National Education Association grants given to a two-year college for the Rephotographic Survey. This was a collaboration of professionals and students who meticulously re-photographed iconic Western landscapes first documented by William Henry Jackson in the 1870s. The work culminated in a book, “Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project.”

Because of the national attention, the college’s Breckenridge Center became the home of summer photography workshops and other summer programs that drew faculty and students from across the country. Among the nationally known faculty were Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and Paul Stookey of the folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary.

To share, or read, more stories of the people who’ve created and shaped Colorado Mountain College, go to CMCBecauseOfYou.org.