Bacteriologists in Colorado began presenting papers at the Colorado-Wyoming Academy of Science (CWAS) in 1927.
In the Fall if 1938, the Colorado Society of Bacteriology was formed and established a Bacteriology Section of CWAS. It was decided that there would be two meetings a year, one with CWAS and one independently. This arrangement continued with the exception of 1942 and 1943 when meetings were canceled because of WWII. Not only were many members serving in the Armed Forces but it was impossible to get gas or tires, both ofwhich were rationed, to travel to meetings.In 1951, The Colorado Society of Bacteriology was reorganized and 28 members petitioned the Society of American Bacteriologists (now the American Society for Microbiology) to become a branch. This was accepted in 1952. The Branch was comprised of interested persons from Wyoming and Colorado and known as the Colorado-Wyoming Branch until 1954 when New Mexico became a member and the name was changed to the Colorado-New Mexico-Wyoming Branch.
In 1955, the position of Historian was established and Charles Bitter was appointed as the first Historian. In addition, the first student awards for the best paper presented at a meeting was established with a $25 bond as the prize. This has since changed to membership in the ASM and a journal of their choice with two awards given. One for oral presentation and one for poster presentations with a separate award for undergraduates (if any).
In 1958, sustaining memberships were established as were student memberships. Dues were established such that student members dues were to be 1/2 (later changed to 1/3) of full memberships and sustaining members dues were to be no more than 10 times (later changed to remove that restriction) full memberships. The Student Relations and Education Committee began participating in Science Fairs and College Career Day. Activities and Emeritus memberhips was established with Dr. Gordon Stiles, a founding member as the first Emeritus member.
In 1959, the first Summer Institute in Bacteriology was held at the University of Colorado, Boulder with the backing of the Branch. Designed for High School Teachers it was directed by Mr. Charles Bitter and continued until 1964. In the fall of 1959, because of scheduling conflicts with the National Meeting of ASM and the fact that CWAS meetings were held only at institutions of higher learning, the association with CWAS was ended after 32 years.
In 1961, The bulky name of the branch was changed to "Rocky Mountain Branch" and in 1964, the first Foundation For Microbiology lecturer, Dr. Harold Ginsberg, spoke at the Spring meeting in Boulder. In addition, the by-laws were amended to include a Bramch Arhivist who would serve a three year appointed term as a member of the Executive Committee and would also chair the History Committee. Miss Elizabeth O'Toole, a founding member, retired aand was elected the second Emeritus member.
In 1968, the bacteriologists in New Mexico now had enough people to form their own branch so they seceded from the Rocky Mountain Branch although the Rocky Mountain, New Mexico and Arizona Branches continued to hold joint meetings for the next few years. Due in part to joint meetings held away from the major population center in Colorado, the by-laws were again amended to allow for mail ballots.
In 1972, the Biennial Summer Symposia were established with the first Symposium held at the Knight Science Camp of the University of Wyoming in the Snowy Range. The topic was "The Space Program and Future Opportunities for Research" with the guest panelists all from NASA.
The 2nd Biennial Symposium in 1974 was moved to the Pingree Park Campus of Colorado State University where it has been held biennially up until 1992. Also in 1974, an amendment allowing students to vote and hold office (except for Councilor or Councilor-elect) was passed and requirements for Emeritus memberships were altered. The student amendment was later voted out because it does not conform to ASM requirements.
In 1975, the Branch began sponsoring ASM Workshops, the first a yeast identification lab and has continuued sporadically every since. Dr. T.L.Chow and Miss Irene Abelow were elected Emeritus members.
In 1976, by-law changes brought the Branch into compliance with ASM and added a Legislation Committee. That year also it was discovered that no microbiology was being taught in middle or high schools and Dr. Margaret Heimbrook began work on a Manual of Methods which was completed in 1978 and Dr. Stuart Dunlop was elected an Emeritus member.
In 1987, Drs. Dale Grant, James Ogg, Hutton Slade and Wen Lan Wang were elected to Emeritus status and in 1992, Dr. Jean Bowles received the same honor.
The Branch continues to hold biannual meetings, is still going strong and will celebrate it's 50th anniversary in 2001.