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Papers of Adrian R. Chamberlain

Identifier: UARC

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Adrian R. Chamberlain consists of documents dated 1913 to 1984, with the bulk falling from 1950 to 1980. The collection includes alphabetical office files, planning for the university's centennial and Chamberlain's inauguration, speeches, budget reports, and files on Chamberlain's professional activities. The bulk of the collection consists of office files created by and for the Office of the President. These files document the activities of the president, reports from campus colleges and departments, interactions between CSU and outside organizations, and budgetary information.

Chamberlain's inauguration as president was held in conjunction with the university's centennial. Documents for the planning of this event, such as guest lists, budgets, and lists of speakers and honored guests, are part of the collection. A small number of speeches by Chamberlain, files regarding Chamberlain's association and involvement with the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), as well as bound budget statements prepared for the Colorado legislature are also included.


  • Creation: 1913-1984
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950-1980


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Adrian R. "A.R." Chamberlain was associated with Colorado State University for over 25 years, as student, professor, vice president, and the university's ninth president. Major accomplishments during his tenure include the expansion of engineering programs to the Foothills Campus, a revised campus master plan, and a significant increase in outside research funding.

Adrian Ramond (Ray) Chamberlain was born November 11, 1929, in Detroit, Michigan. He was raised in Thompsonville, Michigan, a rural farming community 240 miles northwest of Detroit, near the shore of Lake Michigan. He earned his B.S. in agricultural engineering from Michigan State University in 1951 and his M.S. in irrigation engineering and fluid mechanics at Washington State University in 1952. After completing his studies at Washington, Chamberlain enrolled at Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College (CAM), now Colorado State University (CSU), in the engineering program and earned the first Ph.D. awarded by the college in 1955. He married Virginia Webster in 1954 and they had three sons. Two of their sons, Curt and Thomas (Tac), both developed cystic fibrosis.

After completing his Ph.D., Chamberlain took a position as a research engineer with the Phillips Petroleum Company for the summer of 1955, but soon after he accepted a Fulbright fellowship to continue his studies in hydrodynamics at the University of Grenoble, France.

In 1956, he returned to CAM as associate professor and the manager of civil engineering research for the College of Engineering. He was promoted to professor and chief of civil engineering research in 1957. From 1959-1961, Chamberlain served as acting dean of the College of Engineering and over the summer of 1960 was also the acting dean of the faculty. Chamberlain was appointed as Vice President for Administration in 1960 and Executive Vice President of Colorado State University in 1966. On July 1, 1969, Chamberlain became the ninth president of Colorado State University.

While chief of research, Chamberlain proposed providing engineering research with unused land on the Foothills Campus, which led to sponsored projects and research funded by the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Notable programs and institutes founded during Chamberlain's tenure include the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute (CWRRI), the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory (SEAL) aka Solar Village, and multiple programs in veterinary medicine including the Bull Farm (formerly the Animal Reproduction Laboratory), the Surgical-Metabolic Laboratory, and the Collaborative Radiological Health Animal Research Laboratory.

Responding to years of growth in the student population, Chamberlain and Academic Vice President Charles Neidt oversaw a new campus master plan, entitled "Pattern for the 70s." New buildings constructed included Chemistry (1971), Anatomy-Zoology (1973), University Village West (1974), Gifford (1975), Visual Arts (1975), Natural Resources (1975), Pathology (1976), and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (1979).

Chamberlain was heavily involved with the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) throughout his tenure as president at CSU. NASULGC committee appointments included the Executive Committee, Water Resources, Animal Waste Management, Environmental Research Centers, International Affairs, Technology Utilization, Policy and Issues, Financing Higher Education, and Environment and Energy. He was elected president of the organization in 1979.

Other professional involvement included chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), chairman of the Association of Public College and University Presidents in Colorado, president of the State Board of Agriculture, member of the National Science Foundation Advisory Board, trustee-at-large for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, consultant to the president of the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, commissioner on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, member of the Board of Visitors of Air University, member of the National Air Quality Criteria Advisory Committee of the U.S. Public Health Service, and member of the Academic Advisory Board to the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

In February 1979, Chamberlain's oldest son Curt died of complications from cystic fibrosis. He and his first wife Virginia divorced soon after. He married Melanie Stevens in May 1979. Chamberlain resigned as president of CSU on October 19, 1979, to be effective December 31, 1980, and was granted professional leave for most of 1980. Academic Vice President Charles O. Neidt was named acting president for the remainder of Chamberlain's tenure.

After leaving CSU, Chamberlain worked for various private and non-profit organizations, including Mitchell and Company, the Colorado Department of Highways, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, and the American Trucking Association.

Biographical information taken from: James E. Hansen II, Democracy's College in the Centennial State: A History of Colorado State University, 1977 and James E. Hansen II, Democracy's University: A History of Colorado State University, 1970-2003, 2007.


30 linear feet (20 record cartons, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



The Papers of Adrian R. Chamberlain document his 25 year association with Colorado State University, culminating in his appointment as the ninth president of the university. Materials include office files, planning for the university's centennial and Chamberlain's inauguration, speeches, budget reports, and files on Chamberlain's professional activities.


The collection consists of 6 series in 20 record cartons and 1 oversize folder:

Series 1: Alphabetical office files, 1966-1982

Series 2: Centennial and inauguration, 1951-1970

Series 3: Colorado Commission on Higher Education, 1979-1980

Series 4: Speeches, 1959-1984

Series 5: Budgets, 1950-1975

Series 6: Subject files and miscellany, 1913, 1938, 1944-1980 and undated


The Papers of Adrian R. Chamberlain was transferred from the President's Office beginning in 1980.

Related Collections

The Records of the Office of the President and the papers of individual presidents are also held by University Archives.


Processing was completed in February 2015. Materials were re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.

Guide to the Papers of Adrian R. Chamberlain
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Karen Spilman
Copyright 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA