February 2015
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano Philip P. DiStefano

Dear Friends,

Students like to call it a road trip, I prefer to think of it as outreach. By any name, I enjoy getting out and meeting regularly with friends, alumni, donors, parents, prospective students and CU Advocates around the state to share our transformative initiatives and good news. There was plenty to share when I traveled to Colorado Springs and South Denver earlier this month.

I told our friends some things that may surprise them about CU-Boulder. Amid the growing cost of higher education nationally I pointed out that CU-Boulder is the 10th most affordable college in the West, according to Great Value Colleges 2014 and that we have been named a Best Value University for the last six years by USA Today and The Princeton Review. I went on to point out that we are in the top 12 percent nationally for return on investment among state colleges and universities based on mid-career salaries. In other words, CU-Boulder is a great value.

I also talked about this in my guest column in the Sunday Colorado Springs Gazette titled “The CU-Boulder that might surprise you.” 

Following the tour, our Board of Regents met in Boulder, where we discussed the budget and tuition for next year. I’m pleased to announce that we proposed the lowest tuition hike in nine years – 3 percent – for the CU-Boulder campus. The board will consider the proposal later this spring. I’m committed to doing what I can to keep CU affordable and accessible to students at all income levels.

Boettcher Scholars are partial to CU-Boulder

One key to affordability is scholarships, which bring Colorado’s and the nation’s best scholars to CU-Boulder. Jade Gutierrez of Durango thought college was out of reach financially until she was awarded a Boettcher Scholarship and chose to attend CU-Boulder. See Jade’s story in this short 50-second video.

The Boettcher Foundation will soon select its 40 latest winners for a prestigious four-year, full scholarship to any Colorado college or university of their choice. We hosted the Boettcher finalists—composed of Colorado’s highest achieving students—earlier this month.

I am always pleased by how many Boettcher Scholars choose CU-Boulder as their destination. Fifteen of the 40 Boettcher Scholars came to CU-Boulder last year, and half of the scholars decided to become Buffs the year before. Both years we attracted more Boettcher Scholars than any other university.

Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin comes to CU

Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin

It’s always a good day when we can bring a pioneer of our universe to campus to engage with our students and community. The scheduled appearance of Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin at Macky Auditorium on March 3 sold out quickly to the public. Aldrin and Neil Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, as the first two humans to set foot on the moon. Today, Aldrin remains at the forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in manned space exploration.

Aldrin will be hosted by the Distinguished Speakers Board, a student-run center of the CU Student Government with the mission to bring the world’s greatest minds to the CU-Boulder campus.

CU Jewish center opens in Hill neighborhood

New CU-Boulder Jewish center

The new Schaeffer Jewish Student Center across the street from campus will serve 2,200 CU-Boulder students. It was privately funded.

It will be my honor next month to attend the grand opening of Rohr Chabad CU and the Schaeffer Jewish Center in the Hill neighborhood, across from campus. The center, financed with private funds, will offer our 2,200 CU-Boulder Jewish students a community experience.

Chabad Lubavitch Headquarters News, Feb. 11: “A Community Experience for Jewish Students at CU; New facility to offer “comprehensive Jewish community life”

Working to reduce youth violence in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood

Steps to Success participants

Shaunta Timmons (middle) with sons Jayden (left) and Josiahyia (right), and BreAnna Ray (back). Josiahyia and BreAnna are on the youth advisory committee.

CU-Boulder’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence is leading a five-year project to reduce youth violence and promote positive youth development in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood. Now known as Steps to Success, the effort has served thousands of young people and hundreds of families since it was launched in February 2012.

We held an open house Feb. 24 to update the community on the multiple programs implemented during the past three years and the successes they have had. The event was attended by families, community members, government officials, police officers, members from the CU-Boulder center and numerous partner agencies. The project is funded by a $5.46 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and discussions are underway on how to sustain the efforts made over the past three years once the project funding ends.

Community member Shaunta Timmons (pictured) spoke at the open house and to a Denver Post reporter about how Steps to Success has helped her interact with her teenage sons Jayden and Josiahyia Tolson. 

Denver Post, Feb. 24: "Montbello youth violence expected to decrease"

Crowdfunding supports CU-Boulder’s Healthy Aging Project

Healthy Aging crowdfunding project

Healthy Aging Project co-founder Tom LaRocca, pictured here with his father, is interested in helping people learn more about steps we can take to live healthier as we age.

Aging may be the biggest medical problem of our time. The number of older adults in the United States will more than double by 2050, so age-related diseases and disabilities will become much more common.

We have just kicked off a new crowdfunding project to support the Healthy Aging Project, a program of the Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory at CU-Boulder.

We’re all aging. This is normal of course, but it reduces our quality of life, and it’s the main reason why we’re more likely to develop medical problems. Many of us want to avoid these problems for ourselves, or to help aging family members, and this is where the Healthy Aging Project comes in.

49th Super Bowl ring for a Buff

Super Bowl champion Nate Solder (EBio'10)

Super Bowl champion Nate Solder (EBio’10)

Nate Solder (EBio’10) earned his first, and CU’s 49th, Super Bowl ring when New England beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. Nate was an All-America offensive tackle for us from the small mountain town of Buena Vista at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks.

National signing day earlier this month found us adding 19 new student-athletes to the football roster. Meanwhile Coach Danny Sanchez signed seven new Buffs to the women’s soccer program, including two of the top in-state prospects, and Mark Wetmore inked seven cross country recruits, two Colorado prep stars among them. It’s also notable that this winter marks the 25th season at CU for ski coach Richard Rokos, who has seven national championships.  

Student-athletes set GPA records

Congratulations to our 344 student-athletes who set two all-time bests for grade-point average. The fall average of 2.961 was an all-time semester best, while the cumulative GPA of 2.931 also set a record. In all, 10 programs had GPAs higher than 3.0 for both the fall semester and overall.

Go Buffs!

Philip P. DiStefano