I’m a fan of relatively small public universities that manage to create a strong sense of identity and community, particularly those that have come of age in the shadow of the larger, more athletically dominant “flagship” state university.
UNC is certainly one of the most attractive, set in the lively small city of Greeley (Pop. about 100,000), one of America’s great college towns, about an hour north of Denver. UNC is not quite a mile high (4,780 ft) in altitude, but it does have a remarkable window on the Rockies, and is within easy reach of Breckinridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Crested Butte, the Arapahoe National Forest, and the three and a half million acres of Colorado’s wilderness. Greeley itself has the charm of a rodeo town brought happily into the circle of snappy college town with big city amenities. The town and university are incredibly well matched. Greeley is lively with great restaurants, shopping, forty miles of bike trails and a stunning number of cultural events, including a rodeo stampede, jazz festivals, and world -class concerts in spectacular venues. UNC adds the intellectual and creative mix of an ambitious university, sponsoring speakers, performances, and, of course, athletic events throughout the year. Folks from outside of Colorado tend to think of the state as snow-covered, and there are some magical winters, but the state also enjoys three hundred days of sunshine each year, even when the snow is on the ground.
The complete article on the University of Northern Colorado will appear in the Third Edition of America’s Best Kept College Secrets.