Fort Lewis College was established in 1911 but its roots go back to to 1878 when the school was originally a fort and then later converted to an Indian boarding school. The property was eventually transferred to the state of Colorado with the provision it be used as an agricultural and mechanics highs school and that Native Americans be admitted without any tuition fees. The high school grew and it switched gears to form the Fort Lewis A&M College. The needs of the community once again shifted and the college responded by changing its name to its current moniker and awarding baccalaureate degrees to its graduates.
Today the school has a liberal arts focus and with its small professor to student ration, it developed a culture of mentoring, which benefits the students with their studies and even employment after graduation.
More than 35 programs of study are offered to students. The college is a selective liberal arts institution, and has more than 100 majors, minors and certificate programs. Its largest majors are business administration, biology, psychology, art, English, exercise science, education, sociology/human services, history, accounting, adventure education and political science. It has special accreditation for its accounting, athletic training, business administration, Chemistry, economics, engineering, marketing and music programs.
The school offers one graduate degree, the Master’s of Arts in Education. Please note, that it does not lead to teacher certification – those needs will need to be addressed in another program. This course prepares future leaders in education and gives them the opportunity to conduct research on their topics of interest and gain a further understanding of the educational system.
The school has an excellent reputation for providing non-credit courses that are fun and practical — some of which are offered online. Those interested in taking the test for a Commercial Drivers License may do so here but please be advised that they don’t have a class for teaching this topic.
There are many subjects that are available though, and community members benefit by learning a new skill or by brushing up on a new one. Some of the more unusual topics include: eBay selling, gardening, guitar, and mushroom identification.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The school ranks applicants on an indexing system that accounts for SAT/ACT scores and high school GPA. Students must meet the Index ranking of 92 to gain admission, which means they have a 2.2 high school GPA and at least a 116-1190 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT. Transfers must have a cumulative GPA of 2.4. Transfers need to have at least two letters of recommendation and a personal essay, while freshman applicants do not although the school recommends they do submit them.
About two-thirds of the students at Fort Lewis receive merit scholarships and about 90 percent receive some sort of financial aid. Students are eligible for scholarships for all four years if they maintain a 2.5 GPA and take at least 24 credit hours. The President’s Scholarship is for students whose admission index score is 121. It grants students $8,000 for out-of-state tuition and $2,000 for in-state. The Provost’s Scholarship grants students $7,000/$1,500 for index rankings of 110-120. The Dean’s Scholarship grants $6,000/$1,000 for index ranks of 101-10. The Academic Promise Scholarship grants $4,000/$750 for rankings of 92-100.
Transfer students with GPAs of 3.5 and above can receive $2,500/$1,000 scholarships. Students with GPAs of 3.0-3.49 receive $1,500/$500. There are also a series of scholarships for New Mexico residents. Freshman who index at 110 or higher, and transfers with a 3.5 GPA can get the in-state tuition rate — a $12,000 value. There is also a $15,000/$3,000 Native American Tuition Scholarship.
Student Financial Aid Details
More than 3,600 students from 47 states, 122 American Indian tribes and Alaskan villages, and 18 different countries are enrolled here, with about an even split between males and females. About a third of its students are from the Top 25 percent of their high school class.
Popular student hangouts include the Student Life Center and the Student Union. There is a campus newspaper, a campus radio station and a literary magazine. There are two cultural centers on campus — the Native American Center and el Centro de Muchos Colores. All told, there are more than 70 student organizations here.
About 1,300 students live on campus. There are seven residential halls on campus. Freshman are required to live on campus for two academic semesters unless they are married, divorced or a single parent; live with a parent or guardian within a 60-mile radius; have lived in a boarding school previously; had military experience; or are 20 years old or older. The traditional residence halls on campus have floors with several bedrooms and a community-style bathroom with several showers, toilets and sinks. In the suites on campus, there are two bedrooms with a shared bathroom with another bedroom in the suite.
Students here do not shy away from being active in helping the community and the world. Engineers Without Borders is a program that was established to send students overseas to third world countries and assist in building infrastructures and other projects.
The school also has an art gallery, the Center for Southwest Studies, the Community Concert Hall, and the McPherson Chapel.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Fort Lewis College is a Division II school and a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. It has 10 varsity teams. Men’s teams compete in basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer. Women compete in basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball and volleyball.
The schools teams are known as the Skyhawks. The Skyhawks football team holds games in the 4,000-seat Ray Dennison Memorial Field. There is also a 1,750-seat soccer field and a 2,750-seat indoor arena. The school has won two national championships in soccer, in 2005 and 2009, and was runner-up in 1999 and 2006. The women’s basketball team was runner-up in 2010.
There is also a cycling team, which won a national championship in 2009-10. The school has the following club sports: baseball, cycling, ice hockey, lacrosse, rugby, skiing, snowboarding, soccer, track & field, and wrestling.
Their outdoor pursuits program is a popular activity. The school has more than $100,000 in climbing equipment, which is used for guided trips, clinics, and the use of a climbing wall. Each year, there is a Thanksgiving backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon, and a spring break trip to rock climb in the desert southwest. In the past, the group has conducted Summit expeditions to Kilimanjaro in Africa, Denali in North America, Aconcagua in South America, and Elbrus in Europe.
Accreditation for the school is provided by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.