FROM THE CHANCELLOR
Success is part of a larger SPIRIT
Guest Columnist Mike Bohn, CU-Boulder Athletic Director
Athletic Director Mike Bohn
Your Colorado Buffaloes are fresh from a great home win over Eastern Washington and a big victory over Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Mile High Stadium on Aug. 31. Our women’s soccer team won again today and our volleyball team is undefeated. We just announced that CU will host the 2010 NCAA skiing championships. Our own student-athlete Jenny Barringer just returned from the Olympics as the American record holder in the steeplechase elevating the competitive SPIRIT in all of us.
These achievements are a small representation of the exciting initiatives that are transforming CU Athletics. They have arisen from a sprouting SPIRIT of teamwork that infuses all we do, but that SPIRIT doesn’t come from us, it comes to us as a contagious roar-- from the larger SPIRIT of teamwork, common purpose and vision that today defines the University of Colorado at Boulder.
In intercollegiate athletics, we are accustomed to seeing the power of passionate teamwork. You’ve probably seen or been a part of dramatic turnarounds and transformations of athletic programs or campuses as a whole. We are fortunate to be experiencing that right now with an esprit de corps that is paying dividends for virtually every constituent group on campus. Our leadership under Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson and President Bruce Benson challenges us daily to further work together in ways that will set the standard for the nation across all academic disciplines and auxiliary units.
We are proud that intercollegiate athletics at CU-Boulder is fully integrated into the academic purpose of the university. We have set high academic standards for all our student-athletes. We are accountable to the academic mission of the university, and enjoy a strong reporting relationship to CU Provost Phil Di Stefano and Chancellor Peterson.
The faculty of the university has a leadership role and meaningful input into our programs through advisory committees and our industrious faculty representative Dave Clough. Our head coaches embody the values of academic achievement – particularly head football coach Dan Hawkins, who has hosted his coach’s show from a host of academic buildings on campus and is a frequent author of hand written letters of congratulations to faculty for their research & teaching achievements.
Please know those achievements are inspiring and serve as a catalyst for campus SPIRIT: four Nobel prizes; $280 million in sponsored research this year; a 30-year legacy of leadership in environmental research and environmental activism among our students. It is this legacy that inspired us to adopt “Ralphie’s Green Stampede” – the nation’s first major-sport zero waste stadium recycling initiative, a plan we are carrying out in a team effort with Facilities Management and with the student-funded CU Environmental Center.
Everywhere you look at CU-Boulder, the ethos of win-win, combined with vision and strong leadership, are propelling the university to new relationships, new achievements and new levels of success. People are beginning to take notice. We have a dynamic, positive relationship with the City of Boulder. We have achieved a new understanding of the importance of funding higher education in the Legislature. We are the first institution to invest in Gov. Ritter’s carbon fund (again, through the leadership efforts of the student body and the CU Environmental Center) and we will further invest in that fund to offset the carbon footprint of our athletically-related jet travel.
Beyond all the tangible signs of success there is a refreshing SPIRIT or if you will “feeling,” associated with CU-Boulder. You can feel it everywhere, all the time, on and off campus. It is a feeling of pride and “can do” SPIRIT. It is a sense of limitless potential and exciting possibilities. It is in the classroom, throughout campus and has spread to our community and nationwide through alumni, donors and friends of the institution. In fact, it is this SPIRIT that has come together to make for a special event on Sept. 18: a nationally televised home game against the University of West Virginia. I want to personally thank the faculty, staff and administrators who have worked tirelessly since last semester to allow us to showcase CU-Boulder for a wide-ranging national TV audience on ESPN. Your flexibility, dedication and personal efforts will, I know, make this a great event for our entire University community.
The most important thing we can do as a university community is to fuel this SPIRIT by contributing individually and collectively as much as we can. By continuing to break down barriers real and imagined; by working together to create win-win arrangements; by welcoming new ideas and by always asking “what good can we create for CU-Boulder?” we can build upon our achievements and keep the momentum and SPIRIT thriving.
Together, we’re adding a new dimension to a phrase of encouraging SPIRIT we in athletics use all the time: “Go Buffs!