Much of our success is based on our global vision for excellence

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CU alumni Sami and Zuhair Fayez host Dean Rob Davis, Chancellor Philip DiStefano, and other university administrators in Saudi Arabia.
Engineering Center, University of Colorado Boulder

While the rest of the country recently experienced a recession, the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder has been in a procession.

Over the past four years, our undergraduate enrollments have increased 11 percent, and our graduate enrollments have increased 34 percent. During this time, our undergraduate and graduate applications have increased 38 percent and 72 percent, respectively, allowing us to be more selective in our admissions decisions.

We also are growing in stature. This past fall, the National Research Council published its comprehensive, data-driven study of graduate programs. Our programs in aerospace, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering ranked as high as the top 10 of all national programs in their respective disciplines.

Much of our success is based on our global vision for excellence. As you know, Engineers Without Borders-USA was founded within our college and now boasts about 300 chapters nationwide. Its vision for serving the developing world through engineering has recently been expanded with the formation of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities.

As another example of our global reach, I attended the first meeting of the new CU alumni chapter in Saudi Arabia, in January 2011. CU has over 400 alumni in Saudi Arabia, including many with degrees in engineering. Though the economy in Saudi Arabia is currently "fueled" by petroleum, the country's leaders are looking ahead to build new economic sectors, for which engineers will play key roles.

Our global vision for excellence includes becoming a college of choice for top international students, whether from Saudi Arabia, China, Mexico, Spain, or other countries where we are building partnerships. These students will enrich the experiences of our domestic students and help prepare them for careers that undoubtedly will include international components. At the same time, we are expanding international programs for our students, providing opportunities for them to study abroad or undertake internships in foreign countries.

I opened this message with mention of recession and procession. We have not been untouched by the recession. State funding of CU-Boulder has declined by 25 percent in the past two years, necessitating a modest reduction in our faculty and staff, as well as an increased tuition burden on our students and their families. And yet, we are proceeding with great hope and expectation, as we know that education—especially engineering education—is a great legacy for our future.

I am especially proud that our campus is proceeding with construction of a state-of-the-art biotechnology building for interdisciplinary research and education, using a combination of university, federal, and private funds. I am most grateful to our corporate and individual partners who have supported this and other projects in our college.

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