University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado Boulder

From the Chancellor

M A R C H   2 0 1 2

Students and alumni turned the Staples Center in Los Angeles into a home-court advantage for the Buffs against Arizona in the men's Pac-12 Championship. (Photo courtesy Joel Gary Broida)

Dear Friends,

Men's basketball coach Tad Boyle calls them the "heartbeat of the arena." Athletic Director Mike Bohn says they are "incredibly inspirational." Student fans supporting our men's basketball team through its amazing run to the Pac-12 Tournament championship and into the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament showed what it is to be a Buff on national television. Our students received high praise from both Pac-12 and NCAA officials for their enthusiasm and sportsmanship and they are the embodiment of what Mike Bohn calls "competing with class."

"They've brought national recognition to our university by portraying the passion of our student body," said Bohn. "Their spirit enhances our program and demonstrates the distinction of being a Buff."

CU student fans, the pep band and spirit squad appeared on Los Angeles morning television shows to promote the Pac-12 Tournament and attended our California alumni events. Students also supported our women's basketball team in the Pac-12 tourney. Under Coach Linda Lappe the CU women just finished their second consecutive season with more than 20 wins, finishing 21-14 after making it to the third round of the WNIT.

"After the men's Pac-12 championship game, one conference official told me that CU has exemplary fans, and he said he was glad we are in the Pac-12," related Alumni Director Deborah Fowlkes.

Dubbed the "C-Unit," CU students also were a major presence at the NCAA Men's Tournament in Albuquerque, igniting alumni across the country and invigorating school spirit.

So it was no surprise when CU was nominated as one of the top college basketball student sections in the country in the Naismith Student Section Award competition. They personify the Colorado Creed that all CU-Boulder students are encouraged to practice that includes virtues such as integrity, honor and respect.

Boulder Daily Camera, March 19: "Trips for loyal CU Buffs fans cost $67,200 in private donations"

Taking the CU story to the road

Residential Academic Programs are growing in popularity, enrolling 40% of on-campus residents. (Boulder Daily Camera video)

It was my pleasure to travel to the Western Slope last week to meet with alumni, parents, community members, service clubs and newspaper editorial boards in Montrose and Grand Junction. I shared with them our success in establishing small-college learning environments at a major research university. Those student experiences include undergraduate research, experiential learning and entrepreneurship programs. Here's one example of all three:

CU News Services, Feb. 20: "CU undergrads design toys for children who are blind"

I also told our Western Slope neighbors about the growing popularity of our residential academic programs (RAPs), in which students take classes right in their residence halls, often from faculty living in their hall. Today, 40 percent of students living on campus are enrolled in 14 RAPs including those devoted to honors, honors engineering, history and culture, visual and performing arts, leadership and many more.

video Boulder Daily Camera, March 7: "CU-Boulder expanding dorm-based learning"

Closer to home, CU-Boulder's vice chancellors and I met with city leaders to update them on several areas including the growing diversity of our student body (17 percent of enrollment) and that our energy use has shrunk by 23% since 2005 because of targeted efforts by our campus community. It also was our pleasure to note that CU faculty are national leaders in research productivity.

Boulder Daily Camera, March 7: "CU officials tout accomplishments, economic impact on Boulder"

Six graduate programs in the Top 10

Adjoint physics professors Deborah Jin, right, and Jun Ye, second from right, with graduate students in their cold molecule lab at JILA

Our graduate programs continue to earn national prominence. U.S. News & World Report this month ranked six CU-Boulder graduate programs in the top 10. Our atomic/molecular/optical physics program retained its No. 1 ranking tied with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other CU-Boulder programs ranking in the top 10 nationally are environmental sciences (fifth), quantum physics (fifth), environmental law (fifth), physical chemistry (eighth) and ceramics (eighth).

Other CU-Boulder schools and programs ranked in the top 50 include: aerospace engineering (13), biochemistry (15), chemical engineering (17), clinical psychology (18), physics (19), civil engineering (20), earth sciences (23), speech-language pathology (25), chemistry (26), environmental engineering (26), audiology (27), psychology (29), biological sciences (30), mechanical engineering (32), electrical engineeering (32), College of Engineering and Applied Science (35), computer engineering (35), School of Education (38), computer science (39), political science (39), School of Law (44), English (46), mathematics (46), Leeds School of Business (47 for part-time MBA schools) and economics (50).

Conservative Scholar Program comes to CU

I am excited we are piloting a visiting conservative scholar program thanks to our generous donors. The scholars will teach, mentor students and participate in public lectures, contributing to the broad diversity of thought and intellectualism inherent on campus. The scholars will rotate annually and will come from varied disciplines. I am hopeful our inaugural conservative scholar will begin teaching in the fall of 2013. A search committee of faculty, donors and community members will choose candidates for the position.

Denver Post, March 18: "Conservative-scholar program set for CU"

Conference on World Affairs April 9-13

The annual Conference on World Affairs is April 9-13.

Diversity of thought and ideas is certainly apparent in our annual Conference on World Affairs on campus April 9-13 appropriately themed, "Everything Conceivable." The conference brings the world to CU through 200 panels, plenaries and performances in five days. It's free, thanks to our donors, and it's open to the public. The keynote address will be delivered by bipartisan budget expert Alice Rivlin, senior fellow of economic studies at The Brookings Institution.

As Colorado's flagship university, the Conference on World Affairs is just one of the ways we bring cultural events to the community. More than 385,000 citizens come to campus annually to take advantage of our museums, public lectures, visual and performing arts and cultural events as powerful teachers of different cultures, perspectives, historical interpretations and philosophical discourse. An additional 110,000 attend our cultural outreach activities we take into communities around the state.

Student veterans an important part of campus community

CU student veterans served their country and now have a desire to serve their community. (Boulder Daily Camera video)

Our student veterans are an important part of the campus community. Veterans returning from two wars are taking advantage of the new GI-Bill, and I'm proud to say that now 765 have enrolled at CU-Boulder. Typically a bit older, and with life experiences different from many students, we work to support them in their learning and community environment. Despite their years of service to our nation, they continue to give back to our communities in inspiring ways.

video Boulder Daily Camera, March 5: "CU-Boulder expands resources for student veterans: Veterans Services preparing campus for boost in vets after withdrawal from Iraq"

Our Student-for-a-Day program for prospective students has always been popular but on Wednesday we invited veterans to campus for a day geared specifically to them.

video Boulder Daily Camera, March 21: "CU-Boulder hosts first Student-for-a-Day program for vets"

CU's Nobel laureates continue their impact

Nobel laureate John Hall volunteers his time teaching children a love of science. (Boulder Daily Camera video)

We are, of course, extremely proud of our four Nobel laureates, a number that puts us in the upper echelon among our prestigious Pac-12 peers. And we're equally proud that all continue to contribute in impressive ways to teaching. Eric Cornell (2001) and Tom Cech (1989) are conducting research and teaching on campus and Professor Cech directs our Biofrontiers Institute. Carl Wieman (2001) founded our award-winning interactive K-16 science classroom simulations with nearly 75 million downloads across the globe in more than 85 languages. John Hall (2005) and his wife, Lindy, are visiting Denver-area elementary classrooms inspiring an interest in science in young students. You are sure to enjoy this 9News video on the Halls.

video 9News, Denver, March 4: "Nobel laureate, wife hope to inspire students in science"

Former Enron CFO talks of lessons learned to business students

Andrew Fastow, former CFO of Enron, speaks to Leeds School of Business students at Macky Auditorium on March 19.

Sometimes learning opportunities come in sudden and surprising ways. Such was the case when former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow contacted us and asked if he could speak to business students after he read an op-ed in Bloomberg BusinessWeek two months ago calling for stronger ethics education in business schools by Leeds School of Business Dean David Ikenberry and Donna Sockell, director of Leeds' Center for Education on Social Responsibility. He spoke to 1,200 students last week in Macky Auditorium. The school's naming gift by Michael Leeds was based on an ethics-based education and came at the height of the Enron scandal a decade ago.

The Denver Post, March 20: "Fastow draws on Enron failure in speech on ethics at CU"

Relevant research part of our mission

Part of our state constitutional mission is that of a comprehensive research university, including relevant research that we all relate to. Those of us in Colorado and across the Western United States see the devastation to our forests and ski areas caused by the mountain pine beetle. Professor Jeffry Mitton and graduate student Scott Ferrenberg have documented that two generations of the beetles per summer are exponentially causing the damage as captured in this New York Times blog.

The New York Times, March 19: "Double Trouble From Mountain Pine Beetles?"

CU pushes technology to the marketplace

Aerospace engineer Ryan Starkey and his students have developed a prototype of a first-of-its-kind supersonic unmanned aircraft, shown here in a rendering by one of the students.

This letter is a good example of the great variety of learning, teaching, discovery and innovation at CU-Boulder that I have the pleasure of witnessing every day. With all that goes on at CU-Boulder, commercialization of our technology, and the resulting company and job creation, can get lost in the public eye. Sixty companies have formed based on CU-Boulder technologies since 1994. Here are two examples of commercialization based on work by students and faculty—one finalized and the other jetting toward commercialization.

UAS Vision, Feb. 27: "University of Colorado Develops Supersonic Unmanned Aircraft"

Boulder Daily Camera, March 19: "CU cuts deal with Boulder's ColdQuanta to commercialize ultracold matter tech"

Congratulations are in order

Distinguished Professor Kristi Anseth, right, works with a graduate student in her lab at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Congratulations are in order to Distinguished Professor Kristi Anseth who was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame, our students who guide the award-winning Kepler spacecraft, sophomore golfer Alex Stewart who was named GolfWorld's College Player of the Week, and the Buff ski team for finishing third in the nation!

Denver Business Journal, Feb. 28: "Colorado Women's Hall of Fame to induct 10"

Boulder Daily Camera, March 10: "Boulder-built Kepler spacecraft wins Aviation Week Laureate Award", March 5: "Stewart named National Player of the Week", March 10: "Buff Skiers Finish Third At NCAA Championships"

After 38 years at CU-Boulder, the talent on this campus continues to amaze me. I'm sure you share in my pride.

Go Buffs!


Philip P. DiStefano

Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor
University of Colorado Boulder