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American Heritage Center

Connecting Wyoming to the World: A History of the University of Wyoming

Student in the Wyoming Union, 1967.The Wyoming Union was built in 1939 in order to give students a relaxed gathering place for socialization outside of the residence halls and fraternity and sorority houses. The Wyoming Union has become a place where students and faculty can get together and enjoy bowling, billiards, meals, coffee, air hockey, movies, and concerts. Renovated twice since its construction in the late thirties, the Wyoming Union remains a symbol of fun on the University of Wyoming campus for many faculty, alumni, and current students.

During the late 1960s, colleges and universities across America exploded in unrest and demonstrations. Although far from the major centers of controversy, the University of Wyoming in small-town Laramie was not immune to movements of student consciousness. During the late 60s and early 70s small campus-wide student protests emerged in response to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and the killing of four college students at Kent State University in Ohio.

UW Black 14 protestUW gained national attention in 1969 when 14 black football players were dismissed from the Cowboy team for requesting to wear black armbands in protest of racial discrimination at college and university campuses throughout the United States.

Continuing the tradition of the land grant university, faculty from Engineering, Anthropology, American Studies, Agriculture, and Animal Science still conduct field courses throughout the State of Wyoming. These field courses, in the tradition of early professors like Aven Nelson and S.H. Knight, have become an integral part of many campus programs. The programs also continue to uphold the ideals that public sector work within the State of Wyoming by university students, faculty, and alumni will help to sustain the state’s rugged beauty, mystery, and wonder.

Field study course, 1980s.

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