FROM THE CHANCELLOR
2008 State of the University Address
Friday, Sept. 12, 2008
Good morning and thank you for joining me today. I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you, to update you on our progress and to outline what I see as the challenges we face in the year ahead. Before I start, I would like to thank Professor Uriel Nauenberg and the Boulder Faculty Assembly for hosting this annual event. I would also like to thank and introduce the senior leadership team: Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Dr. Phil DiStefano; Senior Vice Chancellor and CFO, Mr. Ric Porreca; Vice President for Development, Ms. Carolyn Whitehead; Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, Dr. Sallye McKee; Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Stein Sture; Managing Senior Associate Counsel, Ms. Christine Arguello; Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communication, Mr. Michael Warden; Chief of Staff, Ms. Tonya Haas
We have two new members of our senior leadership team. I am pleased to introduce to you Dr. Julie Wong, our new Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Dr. Wong comes to us from her position as Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at the University of Texas at El Paso. She oversees more than 30 departments and programs centered on improving student life. Julie began on July 22 and has assumed the duties of Ron Stump who served as Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs for 12 years. Ron is now leading our efforts as we transition the Alumni Association from the CU Foundation to the university.
Next is Mr. Frank Bruno who began as our new Vice Chancellor for Administration on June 23. As many of you know, Frank comes to us from the City of Boulder where he served as city manager for five years. Frank has a great familiarity with the town-gown relationship and his background has allowed him to hit the ground running as he fills the void left by Paul Talbolt. Frank will be integral to several of the transformational initiatives outlined in Flagship 2030, including the development of “university villages,” our effort to create mixed-use, education-related spaces that meet the needs of the university, the community and the state. His insight will be key to our plans for development and build out of the East Campus and a conference center for the mutual benefit of CU and the City of Boulder.
I would be remiss if I did not recognize my wife, Val, who has helped me and CU more than any of you can ever know.
As I reflect on the fact that this is my third State of the University address, I am struck by how quickly the time has passed, while at the same time marveling at how much we, collectively, have been able to accomplish. In my first address in September, 2006 I was asked what I thought our biggest challenge was. I responded that we needed to “make believers of those who doubt us and to instill public confidence in the university.”
In my second address, after a year on campus, we were well into the development of a new strategic plan, Flagship 2030, a plan that demonstrates the confidence we have in our ability to build our future. As I speak to you today I believe we have made great progress in both of these areas and we have done it on the strength and vision of our people. The challenges of today and our response to them rival those of the founders of our university − a group of individuals who had foresight and vision, coupled with a deep-seated passion for education and the pursuit of knowledge.
When the University of Colorado opened its doors in 1876, the territorial legislature appropriated $15,000 for the University on the condition that the citizens of Boulder match it. Led by a donation from Marinus and Annie Smith, of $1,000 and 26 acres, 104 individuals and families joined together to contribute nearly $17,000. Just as the Smiths and dozens of others had a vision for the University of Colorado 132 years ago, we have a vision today for the university.
We started with 44 students, one instructor and a university president by the name of Joseph Sewall. The sole building was the building we are in today − Old Main. President Sewall lived here, classes were taught here and when the students were snowed in, it became a makeshift dorm. In those early days when President Ulysses S. Grant visited CU by climbing the 13 steps to the threshold of Old Main, our first graduating class only had six students and people questioned the university’s existence.
Today, things are very different. We have nearly 29,000 students, 3,426 faculty and 3,000 staff. In May we graduated 5,555 students and public confidence in students, faculty, staff, graduates and indeed the whole university has never been higher. Today, thanks to your efforts, we are poised to take the next big step in our history.
Our outstanding faculty and national reputation have helped us attract out-of-state freshmen from more than 1,500 high schools, while the new students from within Colorado come to us from more than 300 high schools across the state. As a result, our incoming freshman class continues to show improved academic preparation. ACT composite scores this fall surpassed last year’s all-time high and the average grade-point average of incoming freshmen is 3.57, equal to the best ever.
This fall, an anticipated record 5,750 new freshmen were selected from a record 23,078 applicants. Those 23,000 applicants represent a 16 percent increase over the past two years and an increase of more than 35 percent over the past three years. This class − when placed alongside of the freshman classes of the past two years − represents the three largest, best-qualified and most diverse freshman classes in the history of our university.
At the same time, our research mission is more robust than ever. Our faculty continue to publish and present their creative works in the highest-quality journals and venues. Our researchers brought in $280 million in sponsored research this past year, surpassing last year's record total by over $14 million.
In addition, private support for the university reached an all-time high, with nearly $58 million in private donations − an increase of nearly 80 percent in the last two years. Clearly, we are making progress and effectively communicating the value of our university to the people of Colorado, the nation and the world!
To read the rest of the 2008 State of the University Address click here.
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