October 2014
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano Phillip P. DiStefano

Dear Friends,

CU-Boulder student and Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia

Student C.J. Emanuel-Manning, an undergraduate in the Leeds School of Business, explains to Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, right, why he chose CU-Boulder for his higher education.

You have heard me talk about the importance of student success; it’s my No. 1 priority and I emphasized it in my annual State of the Campus address on Oct. 14.

Colorado’s Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia visited campus this month to praise CU-Boulder for our hard work on making the campus a place that serves all students. He especially highlighted the CU LEAD Alliance (Leadership, Excellence, Achievement & Diversity),  a unique set of learning communities where first-generation and diverse students bond together in supportive and enriching environments. He also lauded CU Complete, a program that guides former students toward completing their degrees.

The lieutenant governor, a CU-Boulder alumnus (Bus '79), noted that, “CU has increased its rates of enrollment of minority students, as well as the rates of graduation.” Our campus today has 6,000 degree-seeking students from underrepresented populations — a record 20 percent of the student body - and they are graduating at the near-equivalent rate as the overall student population.

CU-Boulder Today, Oct. 13: “Lt. Gov. Garcia commends programs aimed at increasing student success”

New computer science degree takes off

I also pointed out in my State of the Campus that CU-Boulder is supporting students and the state in other important ways. Our new computer science degree in the College of Arts of Sciences  has really taken off. When we first proposed it to the Board of Regents in 2012 we projected 150 students by 2017. This fall, enrollment is 457, more than doubling initial enrollment in the program’s first year in 2013.

Here’s why: Computer science is no longer only for engineers. The demand for computer science skills now comes from industries in every field. We are one of the few schools in the nation meeting this demand by having a computer science degree in an arts and sciences college. It’s another example of how we support student ambitions and student success in ways that also support the needs of the 21st-century workplace.

Boulder Daily Camera, Oct. 18: “CU-Boulder sees growth in new computer science degree”

Powerful stories emerge during 100th homecoming celebrations

Avery Bang (MCivEngr’09) builds bridges

Avery Bang (MCivEngr’09) builds physical and social bridges that connect people to their world.

It was great to reconnect with so many alumni at our 100th homecoming and “Back to Boulder Weekend” last weekend.

It all began with the 85th annual Alumni Association Awards honoring alumni who have made uncommon contributions to society, including Avery Bang (MCivEngr’09),  CEO of Bridges to Prosperity, which builds pedestrian bridges in rural poor communities to provide access to essential services such as health care, schools and markets.

In 2013 the nonprofit sent more than 200 people abroad to build more than 30 bridges. Additionally, Avery founded the Bridges to Prosperity University Program, that supports student chapter groups around the world, including one at CU-Boulder. Donations to a crowdfunding campaign will help send seven dedicated students from the chapter to build a footbridge to connect Villa Guadalupe to a larger town. 

Heisman Trophy winner Salaam grand marshal of homecoming parade

1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam at homecoming

1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam was grand marshal of CU's 100th homecoming parade last weekend. 

On Saturday Yvonne and I had the pleasure of riding in the annual homecoming parade featuring 1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam as grand marshal. Rashaan ran for more than 2,000 yards and two dozen touchdowns on an 11-1 Buffaloes team that defeated Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

Gathering at homecoming were the Black Alumni Association, the Latino Alumni Association, the American Indian Alumni Association and the Presidents Leadership Class, to name just a few, and the alumni marching band performed at halftime.

The classes of 1954 and the Golden Anniversary Club (1964 and earlier) enjoyed reunions. Graduates from the last five years attended the First Fives reunion.

The stories told were powerful, such as that of Bill Harris, a member of the 50-year reunion class of 1964. Bill was one of five African-American players on the integrated 1961 CU Orange Bowl team that Louisiana State initially refused to play until its Board of Supervisors changed the school’s policy on playing interracial teams. It proved to be a watershed moment in the history of intercollegiate sports. The controversy began when the CU team refused to play unless its entire team was invited to the Orange Bowl.

The story illustrates how CU’s successes have always been rooted in a commitment to its people and the strength of its diversity.

CU-Boulder repatriates Kurdish human rights documents

We often boast that we bring CU to the world, and the world to CU. And we mean it. That was never more apparent than last month when a four-member delegation from Iraqi Kurdistan spoke to our students and community on confronting the Islamic State, and thanked CU-Boulder for repatriating electronic copies of documents to the Kurds that detail human rights violations under Saddam Hussein.

The 5.5 million-page collection was seized by Kurdish rebels from Iraqi secret police stations, torture centers and prisons during the March 1991 uprising, scanned for intelligence and archived in CU-Boulder’s Human Rights Archive. CU libraries faculty member Bruce Montgomery led the effort to obtain and repatriate the documents and their return honors an agreement with Kurdish leaders.

We are proud to play a role in world history and this is another demonstration of CU-Boulder’s international impact as a global university. Our student body represents 96 countries and international students make up 7.2 percent of our student population. Our faculty have a research presence in dozens of countries around the world, engaged in studies ranging from aerospace research and engineering to earth sciences and environmental studies, as well as a host of other disciplines.

Just this year, our new international student enrollment grew by more than 20 percent, and one in four CU-Boulder students undertake a study abroad experience while enrolled as undergraduates.

We want to foster a global understanding in our students that enhances their academic success and prepares them for a global workplace and economy. 

[audioicon /] Colorado Public Radio, KCFR, Sept. 30: “CU-Boulder to give Kurdish delegation critical historical documents” 

Boulder Daily Camera, Sept. 30: “Iraqi secret police files returned to Kurdish delegation at CU-Boulder”

Donors invest in named programs for highly ranked College of Music

College of Music jazz quartet

A College of Music jazz quartet featuring Anisha Rush on saxophone with Walter Gorra on piano, Adam Sammakia on bass and B.K. Kahn on drums provided entertainment before the chancellor's State of the Campus address at Grusin Music Hall on Oct. 14. 

I’m proud that our highly ranked College of Music now has three named programs and two of them -- the Ritter Family Guitar Program and the Eklund Family Opera Program  were named this month with generous gifts from donors. They join the Thompson Jazz Studies Program as named programs in the college.

The College of Music is ranked No. 9 out of all public university music programs and ranked 23rd of 650 accredited music programs in the United States, which puts it in the top 3 percent of all programs thanks in large part to our donors.

CU’s Mars explorer: Now the work begins

CU's Mars explorer MAVEN lifts off

CU's Mars explorer MAVEN lifted off from Cape Canaveral 11 months ago.

Last month I told you about the 442 million-mile, 10-month journey of our Mars orbital explorer culminating in a historic CU moment in which MAVEN was inserted to Martian orbit on Sept. 21. Now MAVEN’s real work begins. In orbit a bit more than a month, it’s already sending back valuable information.

Boulder Daily Camera, Sept, 24: “NASA releases first Mars images from CU-Boulder’s MAVEN mission”

Boulder Daily Camera, Oct. 14: “MAVEN’s initial observations ‘tantalizing teaser’ of future science”

Pioneer of student research passes

One hundred twenty undergraduate and graduate students will have worked on MAVEN during the life of the project. CU-Boulder is a national leader in student research opportunities thanks largely to Professor Charles Barth, who pioneered the practice with NASA, as director of our Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics for 27 years, beginning in 1965. Dr. Barth passed away on Oct. 14 and his legacy is clear. Hundreds of students have controlled satellites, designed space instruments sent to every planet in our solar system and analyzed valuable scientific data thanks to Professor Barth.   

Denver Post, Oct. 26: “Father of CU space design”

Boulder named top college destination in the U.S.

Students, their families and scenic arches on campus

Boulder was named the top college destination for small metro areas by the American Institute for Economic Research this month.

The American Institute for Economic Research named Boulder the No. 1 small metro area for college students in a report released last week. The study examined 12 criteria that enrich the college learning experience and Boulder was No. 1 in four of the categories.

Boulder was tops in innovation producers, entrepreneurial activity, arts and leisure and the percentage of its population that is college educated. Boulder was No. 2 on the list for accessibility by bike, walking and public transportation.

For more information on the AIER study, click here.



Go Buffs!


Philip P. DiStefano