July 22, 2024

1960’s Carbon College

View of the CEU Library after it was first built in the 1960s.

In the 1960s, Carbon College built a new music building, a science center, a library, an administrative wing on the east end of the main building, a heating plant, and a 100-unit dormitory.

In 1963, a bill was proposed and defeated in the state legislature to rename Carbon College  to the College of Eastern Utah.

 In 1964, Omar Bunnell promised voters that if he were elected to the state senate, he would support renaming the college. 

Representative Russell S. Williams of Carbon County introduced a bill in January 1965. It passed through the legislature, changing the name of the college to the College of Eastern Utah. Days later, Gov. Calvin Rampton signed the bill.  This brought a greater acceptance for the college and allowed for its expansion outside of Carbon County. 

CEUs prior connection with the University of Utah had helped the school, but in 1969 the the Higher Education Act eliminated the relationship of CE with the U of U and established the Utah State Board of Regents as the governing body for all state-run universities and colleges.

The college began to focus more on a community-college concept and began offering classes in other counties of Southeastern Utah. A small campus was established in Blanding in buildings rented by the college. By 1994, the Blanding CEU campus expanded to 350 students.

The college’s enrollment was around 200 students from World War II to the 60s. By 1965, its enrollment went to 600 students.

Since Price had a limited housing base, the built dormitories to house students who came from outside of Price. For years, the college dorms include Session Hall with over 100 beds, the old Aaron Jones apartments with 32 beds located on the corner where the AJ parking lot is and married student housing located across the street from Carbon High School.

CEU was facing the problem of large expenses for a football program at a very small college. President John Tucker recommended that the college drop football from its sports. Two years later, the Intermountain College Athletic Conference told the college that it had to leave the conference or restore football. President Tucker wrote a letter resigning CEU from the league.  

Elmo G. Geary was from Emery County and taught at many schools there and was principal at North Emery High. In 1950, president Aaron Jones asked Geary to join the faculty at Carbon College. He wanted Geary to teach speech and drama. Geary coached a successful speech team and produced a number of plays and also helped to organize the Price Community Theater. He worked for years to obtain approval for a theater building at the college and helped with its design. Geary retired in 1960 and the Geary Theater on campus was named in his honor.