The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is the largest academic health center in the Rocky Mountain region, and a world-class medical destination at the forefront of transformative education, science, medicine and healthcare.
The campus includes the University of Colorado health professional schools, multiple centers and institutes and two nationally ranked hospitals, UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado, which treat nearly 2 million patients each year. All interconnected, these organizations collaboratively improve the quality of patient care they deliver, research they conduct, and health professionals they train.
The roots of CU Anschutz stretch back to the School of Medicine opening in Old Main at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1883, with the College of Nursing following 15 years later in 1898, and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy in 1913.
In the 1920s the University's School of Medicine continued to grow, and moved from Boulder into a quadrangle of four brick buildings at Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Denver to better serve both students and the community.
The current site of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus was known as General Hospital 21, founded as a military hospital by the U.S. Army during the first World War to treat soldiers suffering from tuberculosis and other lung diseases. It was renamed to honor Lieutenant William Thomas Fitzsimmons, the first US Army officer killed in World War I.
In the middle of the Great Depression and under threats of closure, Fitzsimons was saved following a visit from President Franklin D. Roosevelt who pledged to keep the hospital operating.
To continue providing help in treating tuberculosis and other medical conditions on a larger scale, a new main hospital building was constructed. The hospital was dedicated on December 3, 1941, and at the time it was one of the largest structures in the state.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, as one of the largest and most modern military hospitals in the country, the Fitzsimons campus played a key role in caring for sick and wounded soldiers during the war.
The campus has even provided care to the Commander in Chief. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack at Fitzsimons. As his health improved, he often went to the large eighth-floor sundeck of where he used binoculars to observe the mountains.
The Fitzsimons hospital continued to care for members of the armed services through the second half of the 20th century, as CU health programs broke new ground, with the School of Nursing launching the first nurse practitioner program in the country in 1965, and the School of Dentistry opening in 1973.
By the 1990s, however, the campus was aging and was slated for closure by the military, as many of its functions had moved to Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
Noting the historical importance of a major health center in Colorado and envisioning the promise and potential of centralizing and connecting health education, care, and research on a single campus, local, state, and university leaders worked together to transform the historic military medical center into an innovative health sciences community.
In 2006, the campus was renamed the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in recognition of more than $90 million in donations from The Anschutz Foundation.
Two years later, academic and research operations of all CU Anschutz Medical Campus health sciences schools and colleges relocated to the new campus, including a brand new School of Public Health for the state; founded as a collaborative venture between the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado.
As the CU Anschutz Medical Campus has evolved and grown, so has the city and region we call home. Colorado’s third largest city, Aurora is home to a budding arts scene, hundreds of ethnically diverse restaurants, and recreational opportunities ranging from boating to hiking. And with the Rocky Mountains a short drive away, there is no better location to be inspired by your surroundings than Colorado.