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In 1967 – Colorado Mountain College’s first year – among the hottest singles on Billboard’s chart were “I’m a Believer,” “Light My Fire” and “Soul Man.”

Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley at Edwards moved into its new campus building in 2004 and underwent an expansion in 2010, nearly doubling its size. The larger facility accommodates increased student traffic and accessibility to learning.

To salute the college’s 50th anniversary, CMC Vail Valley at Edwards is inviting the public to a free celebration that includes a dance party featuring music like those hits from the ’60s – and each decade since.

‘Because of you’

On Sept. 8, from 5 to 10 p.m., community members, current students, alumni, and past and present employees are invited to CMC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at Edwards followed by “Dancing Through the Decades.”

“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 Kathryn Regjo, Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley vice president and campus dean. “We are all here today because of you.”

The campus will open at 5 p.m. for a wine and cheese reception, with appetizer and drink stations located throughout the building for those wishing to take self-guided campus tours showcasing the Fire Bay, EMT/Paramedic Room, Kids’ College and the science wing. Guests are invited to stop by the ceramics studio and “Make Your Mark” on a commemorative 50th anniversary community art piece that will be installed on campus at a later date.

Photo of old CMC building in Vail.

The Eagle County campus of Colorado Mountain College was once housed in the Vail Cascade Resort Building between Lionshead and West Vail. Today, Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley at Edwards hosts one of the state’s most popular concurrent enrollment programs for local high school students, as well as noted programs in fire science, culinary, sustainability studies and EMT/paramedic. Photo Eagle Valley Library District

From 6:15 to 7:15 p.m., a 50th anniversary program will feature the history of the college, its long presence in the Vail Valley and Colorado Mountain College’s future plans.

Signature sample dishes from iconic Vail Valley establishments will be served on the campus’s outdoor patio following the program, as well as anniversary cake.

A bar (with mocktails for the under-21 crowd) will be open during the dance, which follows the program through 10 p.m., with tunes curated by DJ Prodeezy.

RSVPs requested

Colorado Mountain College is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2017, thanks to presenting sponsors Alpine Bank; Jim and Connie Calaway; Holy Cross Energy (a Touchstone Energy Cooperative); Morgridge Family Foundation; and Sodexo. Support is also being provided by Doe Browning; Gallegos Corporation; Kaiser Permanente; and Valley View Hospital. Additional sponsors include Alpine Party Rentals; Campo de Fiore; Colorful Cooking; Crazy Mountain Brewery; Jasmine’s Home Cooking; Marko’s; Mixtura; Old World Wine Co.; Rocky Mountain Taco Truck; and West Vail Liquor Mart.

Vail Valley resident Doris Dewton is the honorary chair of the event in recognition of her long years of dedication including service as the CMC Board of Trustees president and the CMC Foundation Board chair, and because of her role as one of the founders of the HERO Scholarship for CMC Vail Valley.

The celebration will be held at Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley at Edwards, 150 Miller Ranch Road. For more information and to RSVP, go to CMCBecauseOfYou.org/campus-celebrations/#vail-valley or call 970-569-2900.

Colorado Mountain College has strived to provide the most current technology available. In 2002, when the local campus was still housed in the Vail Cascade Resort Building, the caption on this photo read, “Students at Colorado Mountain College’s Vail Center are connected to the latest technology via high speed networks.” Photo Colorado Mountain College archives

CMC Vail Valley history: A synergy between students, teachers

Colorado Mountain College had been established with two campuses – at Spring Valley in Glenwood Springs and in Leadville – when plans began forming to expand the college to Eagle County.

Bob Becker hired Mike Snyder to organize classes in Vail, Minturn, Red Cliff and Eagle. Artist Randy Milhoan was hired in 1969 to teach art classes in Vail and Minturn. He was instrumental in creating the art workshops, Summervail, and eventually became director of CMC’s Eagle County centers.

In an interview in 2016, Milhoan explained how he showed up at the CMC office in Minturn to inquire about a job. The office was in a trailer, “in terrible shape,” he said. Inside was Snyder. “He literally had an Army surplus desk and about three folding chairs and some bookcases made of painted concrete blocks,” Milhoan recalled.

“The town of Vail was not very big, nor were any of the towns around here,” he said. “There was practically nothing here.”

Picture of people at a Summervail art workshop

Summervail, a workshop for art in Vail and Minturn from 1971 to 1984, partnered with Colorado Mountain College to provide an opportunity for extensive study in studio and applied arts. Executive Director Randy Milhoan, who also directed CMC’s Eagle County centers, said that people would come for one class and end up staying the entire summer. Photo Tom Lamb

Milhoan taught out of a space upstairs from the Vail Village Inn and Bar. He also worked at the bar. In 1969, Interstate 70 had not yet bisected the Vail Valley. What he saw looking out his window were cattle on Jack Olson’s ranch, and beyond that, the We Ask You Inn Motel.

Among the first classes taught in Vail were ski area technology, EMT and manpower training for the Gallegos Construction Company and Vail Associates, which operated the ski area. Later came a strong dance program, fire science technology and building trades.

“At first it was not so hard to get people to take classes. Pretty soon practically everybody you knew in town was either a student, a faculty member or an advisory board member,” Milhoan said.

The people who taught the classes were well educated and experts in their fields or interest areas, he said, “stock brokers, or doctors, or whatever, they were willing to teach.” The synergy between students and teachers, all living in the same small towns across the district, was a secret to success for the continuing education program.

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