CU President Bruce Benson Names Interim Chancellor at CU-Boulder

Published: March 12, 2009

University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson today named Phil DiStefano interim chancellor of the Boulder campus.

"Phil DiStefano will provide strong continuity for CU-Boulder at an important time in its history. The campus faces significant budget challenges, as well as a critical accreditation review in less than a year," Benson said. "He is a well-respected academic leader who has a deep knowledge, not only of the Boulder campus, but higher education in Colorado and across the country."

DiStefano, 62, will take over for G.P. "Bud" Peterson, who was recently named president of Georgia Tech. Benson consulted more than a half-dozen groups on and off campus and received some 60 recommendations before naming DiStefano.

"It is an honor to serve as interim chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder," DiStefano said. "I want President Benson, the Board of Regents, and our entire university community to know that we will continue the progress we have made in implementing the Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan and strengthening the confidence of CU's stakeholders across the state. I look forward to working with our students, faculty and staff in continuing this bold course into the future, as well as to managing the challenges of the moment."

Benson also announced that the university will conduct an internal search for the permanent position and appointed Leonard Dinegar, vice president for administration and chief of staff, to chair the committee. As detailed in regent policy, it will include representatives from student, faculty and staff governance groups, as well as other key university constituencies such as alumni, donors and business and community leaders. Benson said if the internal search does not identify an outstanding candidate, he would launch a national search.

"We have great talent here and I am confident we will find an exceptional leader for CU-Boulder," he said. "The issues we face are pressing and it is important that we proceed deliberately, but quickly."

DiStefano joined the university in 1974 as an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at the School of Education. During his career, he has served as a dean, vice chancellor and provost, the university's chief academic officer. He was interim chancellor from January 2005 to July 2006.

A first-generation college graduate, DiStefano earned a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University, a master's in English education from West Virginia University, and a doctorate in humanities education from Ohio State University. He has written and co-written several books and a number of articles on various topics in literacy education.

DiStefano and his wife, Yvonne, are the parents of three grown daughters.

The University of Colorado is a three-campus system with four locations: the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the University of Colorado Denver's Downtown Campus and Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. More than 55,000 undergraduate and graduate students are pursuing academic opportunities on CU campuses. CU is a premier teaching and research university, and is ranked sixth among public institutions in federal research expenditures by the National Science Foundation. Academic prestige is marked by the university's four Nobel laureates, seven MacArthur "genius" Fellows, 18 alumni astronauts and 19 Rhodes Scholars. For more information about all of the CU campuses, go to