BOULDER, Colo. - Some say college marks the best four years of your life. Here's a look at some of the major, and quirky, happenings on the University of Colorado campus over the past four years. Here's looking at you, Class of 2009.
Musical chairs for president's job
Since you started at CU, there have been three presidents at the helm of the university system. When you were a freshman, Elizabeth Hoffman was president and when you graduated, oil and gas executive Bruce Benson was at the top post. In the between years, Hank Brown, a former U.S. senator, led the university.
Conference on World Affairs
The annual week-long intellectual party celebrated its 60th birthday in 2008.
Big-name guests coming to CU over the past four years have included film critic Roger Ebert, Vice President Joe Biden, famed clown-doctor Patch Adams and former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a longtime critic of the Bush administration whose wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA agent.
Construction cranes have been a consistent sighting on campus, as your student fees have helped pay for CU's newest digs.
The Alliance for Technology, Arts and Media, new Wolf Law Building and renovation to the Koelbel Building that houses the business school have all been completed. The new visual arts complex is under construction now.
Donors have also helped pay for the latest buildings.
In fact, a Boulder venture capitalist paid $25,000 for the naming rights to a bathroom in the Boulder campus' ATLAS building. And so it is that the second-floor men's bathroom in the high-tech hub now has Brad Feld's name on it and a plaque with some words of wisdom from the donor: "The best ideas often come at inconvenient times. Don't ever close your mind to them."
CU in 2005 celebrated National Institute of Standards and Technology scientist emeritus John Hall's Nobel Prize in physics.
Hall, a fellow of JILA, the joint University of Colorado-NIST laboratory on the CU campus, has been on the leading edge of laser research since 1961. He is known for his work in improving the stability of lasers.
Six Nobel Laureates, seven MacArthur Fellows and 17 astronauts have been affiliated with CU Boulder as students, researchers or faculty members in its history.
Scandals and clean-up
A football recruiting scandal and the controversy surrounding Professor Ward Churchill garnered national attention.
CU in 2007 settled out of court with two plaintiffs who alleged they were raped by athletes and recruits at a 2001 off-campus party. The deal required CU to add a part-time position to the Office of Victim's Assistance and contract with a Title IX adviser who will consult with campus leaders on issues including gender discrimination and sexual assault.
In a separate controversy, Churchill was fired from his job as an ethnic studies professor in 2007 after CU said he had committed academic fraud in his scholarship. He sued, accusing the school of terminating him because of a controversial essay he wrote on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. After a month-long trial, a Denver jury sided with Churchill on April 2.
Colorado CreedYou are the first class to graduate that has been around since the inception of the Colorado Creed.
You see, some hard-partying ghosts of CU's past earned the university a No. 1 party-school ranking in 2003. A group of students, in response, developed the "Colorado Creed" as a code of campus social responsibility.
There are brass building plaques and sidewalk slabs highlighting its principles, including: "integrity," "respect," "act," "honor" and "contribute."
National Solar Decathlon
The CU student team won the 2005 international decathlon, a competition that was hosted in Washington, D.C. CU's 800-square-foot, solar-powered energy-saving BioS(h)IP mobile home entries by teams from 17 universities in the United States and Puerto Rico, Canada and Spain. The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
CU's winning home was bio-friendly to its core, built with a raft of natural materials including everything from corn to coconut. Its defining innovation were Bio-SIPs, for which CU has applied for a patent. These structurally insulated panels are made of soybean-oil-based polyurethane, sandwiched between hard sheets of recycled paper.
A record crowd of 10,000 showed up for a pot party on the CU campus in 2008.
Every year, crowds show up to the campus to protest drug laws, smoke marijuana, toss around Frisbees and, in some cases, just watch.
Police have tried to stop the pot-smoker picnic by turning sprinklers on, barricading a campus field and taking photos of marijuana smokers, posting them online and offering cash rewards to identify the tokers caught on film.