Philip P. DiStefano
A record 6,237 candidates for degrees were honored on May 11.
A CU record 6,237 candidates for degrees were honored at commencement this month. They will join nearly 250,000 University of Colorado Boulder alumni making a difference in the world.
This graduating class comes four years after our record freshman class. In an era in which college graduation rates are measured nationally in six-year cohorts, it's notable that 60 percent of this class graduated in four years or less.
While the job market remains challenging, I reminded graduates during my commencement remarks that the unemployment rate for bachelor's degree holders is half that of non-degree holders and that Payscale.com rates a CU-Boulder bachelor's degree among the top 25 degrees in the nation among public universities for starting and mid-level salaries.
Our students and staff captured the day with this short but inspiring student-produced video and a gallery of lively photos.
Boulder Daily Camera, May 11: "Record 6,237 degrees awarded at CU-Boulder's spring commencement"
Commencement also featured the first graduating class of CU's Mechanical Engineering Partnership with Colorado Mesa University, an innovative program conceived four years ago, offering a CU degree west of the Continental Divide. I'm doubly pleased most of the graduates already have jobs! It's another example of how we serve Colorado.
Colorado Daily, May 8: "CU graduates first class from Grand Junction program"
Grad proves CU affinity spans generations
CU grad Cassie Hickman's story, below, is a testament to the loyalty that CU inspires in families. When the university continues to draw family members into the fold decade after decade, our impact is magnified a dozen-fold, touching lives and creating proud legacies.
Colorado Daily, May 10: "Fifth-generation Buff: 'CU is just in my heart'; Cassie Hickman is one of 23 family members to graduate from CU"
New College of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Leigh
New dean for the College of Arts and Sciences
I am pleased to announce that Steven Leigh joins us July 1 as the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, our largest college with more than 19,000 students. A biological anthropologist, he comes to us as associate dean at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign following an exhaustive national search.
Boulder Daily Camera, May 1: "CU-Boulder picks Steven Leigh to be dean of College of Arts and Sciences"
Dr. Leigh replaces Todd Gleeson, who left a large imprint on the university after a decade of leadership as A&S dean. We are thrilled that Professor Gleeson will teach in the integrative physiology department. CU has a rich legacy of presidents and deans returning to their first love: teaching.
Boulder Daily Camera, May 5: "Many CU-Boulder leaders boomerang back to classroom"
Blind student Amelia Dickerson persevered in chemisty lab and nominated the chemisty department for the President's Diversity Award. (Boulder Daily Camera photo)
Creating community part of our culture
When blind student Amelia Dickerson asked chemistry instructor Susan Hendrickson to help her participate in lab, it inspired changes to make chemistry lab more accessible to students with disabilities, which in turn inspired Amelia to nominate the chemistry department for the President's Diversity Award. I'm continually inspired by how our campus comes together as a community for the benefit of all, and this is another example.
Boulder Daily Camera, May 7: "Blind CU-Boulder student inspires lab changes"
The work of CU-Boulder professor Tin Tin Su is behind SuviCa Inc., an early-stage cancer drug discovery and development company. It is one of 11 companies created in 2011 based on CU technologies.
CU-Boulder plays major role in state's economy
CU-Boulder accounts for a significant amount of the $5.3 billion annual economic impact on the state's economy by the four-campus CU system. A new study, released this month by the business research division of the university's Leeds School of Business details CU-Boulder wages, expenditures, student spending ($381 million) and research awards of $359 million injecting life into Colorado's economy. In addition we know CU-Boulder's 102,000 living alumni in Colorado are also fueling the state's rebounding economy.
Boulder County Business Report, May 16: "CU's economic impact at $5.3 billion"
The report also details CU's creation of companies and jobs through the CU Technology Transfer Office with concentration in biotechnology and clean energy. Eleven companies were created in fiscal 2011 based on CU technologies, part of the 114 companies created in the last 20 years.
Boulder County Business Report, April 25: "CU inventions created 114 companies"
Boulder Daily Camera, April 18: "CU-Boulder showcases latest cleantech innovations"
Graduate student Scott Ferrenberg studies mountain pine beetles decimating the forest.
Research impacts us all
Research is part of our state constitutional mission and it's in our DNA. We pride ourselves in relevant research that impacts us all. Beetle-killed pine trees are a tragically expanding part of the mountain landscape, with implications on everything from tourism to wildfires, erosion and watershed protection. The New York Times continues to follow the research of Professor Jeffrey Mitton and graduate student Scott Ferrenberg based on their work at CU's 10,000-foot elevation Mountain Research Station, 25 miles west of Boulder.
The New York Times, April 16: "Beetles' Birth Explosion Puts Trees Under Stress."
An ambitious project by some of our researchers with Yale University has resulted in an online demonstration, a "Map of Life," designed to show the distribution of all living plants and animals on the planet. The project promises to aid biologists in understanding biodiversity and is a bonus for outdoor enthusiasts.
MSNBC, May 11: "Find locations of 25,000 species on new interactive map; Project uses a variety of sources and could help biologists and outdoors enthusiasts alike"
Students in an engineering component design class designed and assembled bicycles for disabled children. Teams had 13 weeks and a $300 budget to complete their projects.
Students embrace experiential learning
One of our key initiatives is to provide experiential learning for students, and working in our nation's Capitol presents a tremendous opportunity. Next week, 14 undergraduate students are beginning the "CU in DC" summer internship program, working in the offices of the Senate Majority Leader, for members of Colorado's Congressional delegation and for non-governmental agencies.
This is just one example of the success our students have found this month in a host of exciting experiential learning opportunities.
Others include students who built bikes for children with disabilities, designed redevelopment plans for a shuttered dog racing track, prepared taxes for low-income families, developed start-up businesses and won international investment and math competitions.
Boulder Daily Camera, April 28: "CU-Boulder students build bikes for kids with disabilities"
Boulder County Business Report, April 18: "CU business students take top honor"
Boulder Daily Camera, April 26: "CU-Boulder students rank in top 10 international math competition"
Denver Post, May 3: "Commerce City dog track gets new legs in student-designed plan"
Boulder Daily Camera, April 30: "CU students used their new skills for tax preparation"
Boulder Daily Camera, May 15: "CU-Boulder grad student talks about StartUpCU club"
Grammy Award-winning Takács Quartet
Takács Quartet warms The Sun
We're proud of our resident string quartet, the Grammy Award-winning Takács Quartet whose members teach at the College of Music when they are not touring. The fact that 381,000 visitors come to campus annually for a wide range of musical and cultural programs, including those by the Takács Quartet, tells us about the excitement and enthusiasm around the arts at CU-Boulder. Recently the quartet received this warm review from the Baltimore Sun.
Baltimore Sun, April 16: "Takács Quartet reconfirms its stature"
CU's John Wooten is the sixth Buff elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Wooten elected to College Football Hall of Fame
John Wooten, CU's second African-American football player, was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame this month. He was All-America in 1958 and went on to a long NFL career. John says he made a great decision to become a Buff, and I agree. He becomes the sixth CU player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Boulder Daily Camera, May 15: "John Wooten, former CU Buff, to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame"
Women's golf moves on to NCAA Championships, women's track claims two Pac-12 champs
The women's golf team qualified for the first time for the NCAA Championships this month at The Legends Course in Franklin, Tenn., and finished 18th in the nation. Meanwhile Shalaya Kipp (3,000-meter steeplechase) and Jessica Tebo (5,000 meters) won CU's first individual Pac-12 Conference championships. Congratulations to the Buffs, who are setting new standards of excellence in the Pac-12 Conference!
CU No. 1 in nation in men's basketball attendance growth
The Pac-12 champion CU men's basketball team topped the nation for home attendance gains over the last four years, up 68 percent from 2009 with an average home attendance of 7,804, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, citing NCAA statistics.
CU club triathlon team wins national title
Few know that CU-Boulder has 975 registered clubs and organizations as well as 30 club sports, in addition to the 15,000 students who participate in intramural sports. Fewer still likely realize the dynasty of our club triathlon team that just claimed its 13th national championship in 20 seasons, besting the U.S. Naval Academy.
Colorado Daily, April 24: "CU-Boulder triathlon team wins 13th national championship"
Whether it's triathletes, mathematicians, aspiring venture capitalists, or simply reaching out to help fellow students, the Buffs are truly champions.
Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor
University of Colorado Boulder