Published: Feb. 10, 2020

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the History Department will be saying goodbye to one of its longtime faculty members, Professor Thomas Jacob Noel. Noel has been teaching at CU Denver since 1977. Before he was a professor, he was a student here as well. Noel has earned the title “Dr. Colorado” for his contributions to the study of Colorado history. Noel has written 53 books over his professional career. He is proudest of Buildings in Colorado (Oxford University Press & The Society of Architectural Historians, 1987 and 2019 digital update), which covers the most notable prehistoric, historic, and contemporary structures in all 64 Colorado counties. Noel has also co-authored basic Colorado history textbooks at the college, high school, and 4th-grade levels.

Photo of Dr. Thomas J. Noel

In his time at the university, Noel has witnessed great growth at the Auraria Campus. He fondly recalls having five different offices over the years. His favorite was “in the old Denver Tramway Company (now Hotel Teatro), where I had a sixth-floor corner office with operable windows and a wall safe for all the money I was making as a part-time instructor.” Noel also highlights his memorable experiences teaching wonderful students. “After teaching at DU, CU Boulder, Metro, and now gone Colorado Women’s College, I find the students at CU Denver our greatest asset. They generally pay their own tuition, have families and jobs, yet take classes more seriously and do better work. I will miss you all.”

In retirement, Noel plans to continue his talks, tours, and research. He is working on another book—Boom and Bust Colorado—that covers Colorado industries, such as mining, ranching, farming, oil and gas, and most recently, beer and marijuana. He will also continue his work with History Colorado as part of the State Historians team and his Dr. Colorado role with Channel 9’s “Colorado & Company” morning show.

Dr. Noel’s great work and passion for Colorado history has impacted countless students and professionals. The CU Denver History Department congratulates Dr. Noel on his great accomplishments, his years of dedication to the Department and his students, and it wishes him the best as he begins this new journey. Stay up to date with Dr. Noel's talks, tours, books, and events at

Try not to work too hard Dr. Noel, and enjoy your retirement!