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 Tuesday, July 25, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Building a Brighter Tomorrow—Together
Dr. G.P. "Bud" Peterson

As I come to the end of my second week as Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder, I look around the campus with a great sense of excitement – excitement that has only increased in the short time since I first visited the campus in early May to meet with the students, faculty and staff.

Prior to this first visit, I spent considerable time reading and trying to learn all I could about CU-Boulder, and through this process had formed a very positive impression of the people, the academic programs and level of scholarship, and the facilities. My experiences since accepting the position of Chancellor in mid-May, and especially in the past two weeks, have only served to strengthen my initial impressions and have made me even more aware of the tremendous potential of this already great university. This is a university with excellent faculty engaged in groundbreaking research and innovative approaches to education, an outstanding student body with a strong sense of social consciousness, and a beautiful campus that rivals any in the world.

As I undertake the responsibility of leading this great university, I want to specifically recognize the many contributions of Dr. Phil DiStefano for the outstanding job he did as interim chancellor. Dr. DiStefano was faced with many challenges and dealt with some critical issues, issues of both substance and image, and his calm and steady leadership has made a real difference at a time when prompt and decisive action was of paramount importance. His efforts have laid the foundation upon which we can continue to build for the future and I am pleased that he has agreed to return to his previous position as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. His experience, wise counsel and big-picture perspective of the issues we face will be invaluable to me, the faculty and to the university as we move forward.

When I interviewed, I was asked why I wanted to leave my previous position. I responded that “I do not want to leave Rensselaer, but rather want to come to CU-Boulder.” Now that I am here, it is clear that this was a great decision. I was educated in public universities and I appreciate fully how important public institutions are in providing access to higher education and a diversity of ideas and opinions to all qualified students. Public institutions like CU-Boulder play a critical role in educating the next generation of leaders for our country. Many of those future leaders are our students, sitting in our classrooms, conducting research in our laboratories, working in our offices, and participating in the many extracurricular activities such as the arts, music, campus clubs and other organizations and competing in our various athletic programs.

I have had many varied experiences that have helped to prepare me for this opportunity. While serving as Provost at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, I was able to participate in the transformation of a very fine institution and learned to identify and focus on those things that are most important. While Rensselaer is a much different institution, in many ways the challenges are quite similar. Prior to joining Rensselaer, I spent nearly 20 years on the faculty at Texas A&M University, serving in a number of leadership positions within the university and also at the system level, as Associate Vice Chancellor for Engineering for the Texas A&M University System. In these roles, I became very familiar with the inner workings of a large and complicated university operating within a larger university system—the type of experiences that President Brown emphasized in the search process. Interspersed over the years, I have held positions at both NASA and NSF, which have given me a broader national perspective.

What I see here at CU-Boulder is an extremely bright future. To be invited to lead this splendid institution is a humbling honor as well as a tremendous challenge. Why? Because I think we can – that we must— find new ways to sustain and improve the many outstanding things that are happening here, for the benefit of Colorado and beyond. It is important to me that each of you understands that taking the university to new heights of excellence is a “we” proposition—all of us together. Dr. Phil DiStefano has given fresh legs to that theme, and I believe in it passionately. If you believe it, too, there will be no stopping us.

Thank you for your support, and I look forward to meeting and working with all of you.

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