April 2015
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano Philip P. DiStefano

Dear Friends,

History Professor Elizabeth Fenn won a Pulitzer Prize

Associate Professor Elizabeth Fenn won a Pulitzer Prize in history on Monday. 

Monday was a good day to be a Buff. Associate Professor Elizabeth Fenn won the Pulitzer Prize, and former Buff distance runner Dathan Ritzenhein was the top American finisher in the Boston Marathon. Buff pride was evident on campus all week.

We are very excited that Professor Fenn, the chair of the history department, won the Pulitzer Prize in history for her book, "Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People."

"The book is a history of a remarkable Plains Indian tribe known as the Mandan people, who had villages in what is today North Dakota," Dr. Fenn said. "They are most widely known as the people Lewis and Clark stayed with in the winter of 1804-05."

The Pulitzer judges called her work "an engrossing, original narrative showing the Mandans … as a people with a history."

Professor Fenn wasn't immediately available to answer a multitude of international media inquiries and personal congratulations because she was teaching a class on the Monday afternoon the Pulitzers were announced.

Professor Fenn is believed to be the first CU-Boulder faculty member to win a Pulitzer Prize. She joins staff members Dave Curtin and Glenn Asakawa as Pulitzer winners. We're also pleased to document at least nine alumni who have won Pulitzers.

Boulder Daily Camera, April 20: "Elizabeth Fenn, CU-Boulder prof and Longmont resident, wins Pulitzer Prize for history"

Meanwhile, marathoner Ritzenhein was celebrating a different kind of victory, finishing seventh in his first Boston Marathon as the top American finisher. He finished the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 20 seconds. Go Buffs!

BuffZone.com "Former Buff Dathan Ritzenhein top American in first Boston Marathon"

Ralphie handler intervenes in campus sexual assault

Max Demby runs with Ralphie

Max Demby, center, with CU mascot Ralphie and fellow Ralphie handlers.

Student Max Demby says he doesn't know if he's a hero, but the Ralphie handler knows he did the right thing when he stopped a sexual assault on campus early April 4. The suspect, a transient, was arrested.

The campus community is grateful for Max's quick thinking and action, just as we are actively encouraging students, faculty and staff to be effective bystanders in a variety of situations. Sexual assault, campus social climate and safety are issues on college campuses across the nation, and we want to take a leadership role in prevention and awareness programs in each of these areas.

Watch an interview with Max in this Fox 31 news story.

[videoicon /] Fox 31, April 10: "CU Boulder student intervenes, stops sexual assault on campus"

We encourage all members of the campus community to take our bystander intervention training offered through Wardenburg Health Center and I'm pleased that 16 CU-Boulder fraternity chapters are setting an example and leading the way by participating in the training. Best of all, the chapters, through the Interfraternity Council, initiated the training.

Boulder Daily Camera, April 12, "Fraternities work with the University of Colorado at Boulder to stop sex assaults; CU training helps students identify intervention skills"

This prompted U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to proclaim their national leadership in this area when he tweeted last week: "We need a lot more of this leadership on college campuses – Fraternities stepping up to prevent sexual violence. http://t.co/WBpFaEbtwF"

Be real. Be Boulder. Changing the perception

A student studying in the student center

A student studies at the University Memorial Center this week underneath the Colorado Creed.

I am pleased to report that a focused intent of my administration to change the perception of CU-Boulder as a "party school" is now bearing some fruit. First, as you may recall, we have worked hard and brought the resources to eradicate the unsanctioned 420 gathering on campus over the last three years. In 2011, we had a reported 10,000-plus people converge on the campus to smoke marijuana. In 2012, it was an estimated 400, in 2013, '14 and '15 – zero. 

Second, we launched our Be Boulder. campaign to emphasize how CU-Boulder can help our students find their maximum potential and how CU-Boulder contributes to our community, state and nation. 

And, third, we have put a concentrated effort into pushing out news about CU-Boulder through traditional media, social media, video and digital media. We have not given credibility to unscientific "party school" magazine rankings over the years because they are based on the Internet polling of a small minority of students who choose to participate. It leads to distorted perceptions that unfairly label our entire student body. Our efforts are focused on getting the good messages about CU-Boulder out there in a consistent and effective manner.

Boulder Daily Camera, April 18: "CU-Boulder: Party school no more? Crackdown on 4/20, other measures have bumped campus off national lists"

Our students also have stepped in to change our image. In 2004 students felt they were being misrepresented by these polls and decided to do something about it. They started the Colorado Creed, a grassroots effort to change perceptions about our students created by distant media. You can read the fascinating story of the Creed here.

Today you can find the Colorado Creed displayed in its entirety in prominent locations on campus such as the Student Recreation Center and the University Memorial Center. The seven guiding principles of the Creed – Act, Honor, Integrity, Respect, Accept, Contribute and Accountable – are etched on campus sidewalk flagstones.

Next time you are on campus, look for evidence of the Colorado Creed, not just in the flagstones but also in the students. 

CU-Boulder undergraduate classes offered in South Denver

We are pleased to bring 10 core undergraduate courses to CU's new campus in South Denver beginning this summer. We want to make it convenient for students living in the South Denver metro area to catch up on or advance their undergraduate degree this summer while living at home. We also are offering MBA courses there starting in May. We're looking forward to being an asset to the South Denver metro area, where we have many students, alumni and business partnerships.

Boulder Daily Camera, March 27: “CU-Boulder taking summer classes, cultural programming to south Denver”

Introducing the first dean of the new College of Media, Communication and Information

New College of Media, Communication and Information Dean Lori Bergen

Founding CMCI Dean Lori Bergen

As we prepare to debut our first new college in 50 years this fall, the College of Media, Communication and Information, I am pleased to introduce founding dean Lori Bergen, a national leader in journalism education.

The college launches a new era in journalism, advertising, and communication education to reflect the rapidly changing media landscape of the 21st century. It also includes degrees in public relations, media design, critical media practices, information science, media studies and other areas of study. The college's first class of new students will begin in the fall.

Boulder Daily Camera, April 8: "Lori Bergen named first dean of CU's new College of Media, Communication and Information"

Globalizing the campus benefits all students

International coffee hour at the student center

Free food, prizes and great conversations with CU-Boulder students from all over the world are some of the reasons the International Coffee Hour is a popular ongoing event. The student group CU International hosts the coffee hour on Fridays.  

Clearly, we live and work in a global society and economy. Studying, learning and sharing knowledge together on an international campus benefits all students and is also an important component of student success. Our growth in international students – 60 percent in four years – attracted the attention last month of the Wall Street Journal  and National Public Radio.

Today we have 2,152 international students from 96 countries with a goal to have a total of 10 percent of our student body being international students in the next three to five years. As I explained in this interview in the Coloradan alumni magazine last fall, despite our international growth we will continue to admit every in-state student who qualifies for admission.

College Friday brings high schoolers to campus

High school students visit campus

Twenty-three students from Denver and Aurora high schools sponsored by the Crowley Foundation visited campus recently had a little fun with Chip.

We were pleased April 17 to host 23 students from Denver and Aurora high schools sponsored by the Crowley Foundation on College Friday. Many of the students are first-generation students. Both CU and the Crowley Foundation are excited to expose youth interested in higher education to campus opportunities. The students braved a rainy day to learn about leadership, tour the campus and have a little fun.

Entrepreneurs in Residence comes to CU-Boulder

We have more than a dozen exciting entrepreneurship programs involving nearly every aspect of the campus, including our latest effort, the Entrepreneurs in Residence program. It marks another step toward becoming one of the leading entrepreneurial universities in the United States. Forbes last fall named us the No. 19 most entrepreneurial university in the nation

BizWest, March 30: "CU’s Silicon Flatirons Center launching Entrepreneurs In Residence program"

Nine CU-Boulder experts featured in 9News weeklong series

Rise of Technology

A 9NEWS weeklong series called on nine CU-Boulder faculty experts. A 30-minute documentary airs Sunday.

Did you ever stop to wonder why life on Earth is the way it is? 9NEWS partnered with nine CU-Boulder experts in a project called The People Planet, which explores that question.

Hosted by CU-Boulder alumna Kim Christiansen, the series aired short segments during late afternoon and evening newscasts April 20-24. For a sample, here is Tuesday's fast-paced segment on The Rise of Technology.

Watch for a 30-minute documentary featuring CU-Boulder experts airing this Sunday (April 26) at 9:30 p.m. on KTVD Channel 20 and 11 p.m. on KUSA Channel 9 in the Denver metro area.

Student-athletes honored for academics

More than three dozen student-athletes, including a record 24 with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages last year, were honored for a variety of outstanding academic accomplishments April 2 at the 23rd Annual Student-Athlete Academic Recognition Banquet attended by more than 300 people.

Six students were awarded the Scholar-Athlete Award for academic performance:

  • Will Oliver, senior, football (3.76 GPA, Finance-Accounting)
  • Julyette Steur, senior, tennis (3.8, Information Management and Operations Management)
  • Brooke Wales Granstrom, junior, skiing (3.97, Integrative Physiology)
  • David Emmert, sophomore, cross country and track (4.0, Aerospace Engineering)
  • Mandy Ortiz, sophomore, cross country and track (4.0, Integrative Physiology)
  • Paige Soenksen, sophomore, lacrosse (4.0, International Affairs and Chinese)

I'm proud of our student-athletes and the work of the Herbst Academic Center in supporting them.

Go Buffs!

Philip P. DiStefano