June 2015
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano Philip P. DiStefano

Dear Friends,

One thing I love about our alumni is how they give back to their alma mater with the goal of ensuring that our current students have the same success they did.

Mark Campbell, a 1975 graduate of the Department of Theatre and Dance, returned to campus this month as one of the opera professionals mentoring voice and composition students in the sixth season of the CU New Opera Workshop, or CU NOW.

Mark won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music for the opera "Silent Night," which he co-wrote with a composer. He is one of 10 alumni to have won a Pulitzer Prize since 1945.

Mark says his exposure working with various groups at CU laid the foundation for a writing style with more depth and diversity. “There was a program in the theatre and dance department that was established to promote diverse ideas and cultures,” he said. “I think that exposed me to many different kinds of theater and nurtured eclecticism in my own work.”

Now Mark is passing on his experience and diversified inspiration to our students and we could not be happier.

Boulder Daily Camera, June 8: "CU opera workshop to feature Pulitzer Prize-winning alum"

Leadership and learning are indispensable

CU veterans help build new home in flood-torn Jamestown

CU-Boulder employees, students and alumni who are veterans or active-duty personnel teamed with Flatirons Habitat for Humanity on June 11 to rebuild a Jamestown house lost in the September 2013 flood. 

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other” is a phrase from President John F. Kennedy that the American public never got to hear. It was part of a speech Kennedy was to deliver on the day of his assassination, and it is a phrase that informs the work of a great many programs on the CU-Boulder campus.

One is the INVST Community Leadership Program at CU-Boulder that celebrated its 25th anniversary this month. INVST, which stands for International and National Voluntary Service Training, develops community leaders who engage in compassionate action as a lifetime commitment. Each year the program admits students who are exceptional among their peers and are committed to making a difference.

Boulder Daily Camera, June 4: "Guest opinion: INVST celebrates 25 years"

Leadership comes in many forms: corporate, political, grass roots, educational, non-profit, charitable and community leaders, to name a few. Community service is as much a manifestation of leadership as holding public office.

That's one reason I am proud of our veteran community at CU-Boulder that just teamed with Flatirons Habitat for Humanity to build a new home for Carolyn Donadio of Jamestown, who was displaced by the 2013 flood that devastated our region. Employees, students and alumni who are veterans or active-duty military personnel helped in a big way.  

[videoicon /] Boulder Daily Camera, June 11: "'It's really something': CU veterans help build new home in flood-torn Jamestown"

Revolutionizing Parkinson's treatment

A professor and student work on chemistry equations for possible new Parkinson's drug

Hubert Yin, here with post-doctoral student Rosaura Padilla Salinas, is leading research that could change the way Parkinson’s disease is treated. Yin is associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the BioFrontiers Institute. 

CU-Boulder's BioFrontiers Institute, under the direction of Nobel laureate Tom Cech, opened in 2012 to take on urgent health problems and solve complex challenges that impact quality of life. BioFrontiers scientists have now developed a groundbreaking new drug that could change the way Parkinson's disease is treated.

If it works it will be the first medication to treat the disease rather than the symptoms. It could also have implications for treating Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The compound has been licensed and commercialized for drug development and research.

By putting leading interdisciplinary researchers under one roof at the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, we continue to advance human health care. Now, with state support, we are adding an academic wing to the building to make it easier for students to learn from and interact with these world-leading researchers and follow in their footsteps.

[videoicon /] ABC 7News, June 2: "CU Parkinson's research could revolutionize treatment"

Expanding engineering opportunities on Colorado's Western Slope

As Colorado’s flagship university, CU-Boulder is dedicated to being a vital resource to our entire state. I’m pleased that 59 students have now graduated from our partnership program with Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction that expands opportunities for engineering students on the Western Slope. This highly successful partnership allows students to earn a bachelor's of science in mechanical engineering from CU-Boulder by taking classes delivered at CMU.

The program awarded its first degrees in 2012 and half of all graduates work in engineering jobs in Grand Junction, fulfilling a critical workforce need. The program supports existing manufacturers and recruits new ones to the area, as this article in the Grand Junction Valley Times points out.

Grand Junction Valley Business Times, June 9: "Engineering jobs: CMU grads find work in Grand Valley"

New research center recruits, retains Native American students

A Native American student speaks at the podium during graduation

Courtney Cole, who is Cherokee and Choctaw, speaks at a graduation ceremony for Native American students in May. Courtney graduated with a law degree this spring and plans to practice American Indian law. She is working as a clerk for the Intertribal Court of Southern California, which serves 12 tribes.

Many might not know that CU-Boulder – and indeed, the entire city of Boulder and the Boulder Valley – sit on winter hunting grounds of the Arapaho. This is just one reason why I am excited by our new Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies at CU-Boulder, which has gathered our interdisciplinary scholars who study Native American and indigenous culture, language and history.

The center will also support the recruitment and retention of Native American and indigenous students while enhancing collaborations between CU and native communities and organizations. Our Native American student population has more than doubled in 15 years to 387 and we have reinvigorated our native graduation ceremony, native student welcome and other events and observances. It is my hope that we will continue to increase the size of our Native American student, faculty, and staff communities, better representing the diversity of our region and indeed, the history of our campus.

Boulder Daily Camera, June 14: "CU-Boulder launches Native American studies center"

Welcoming new Vice Chancellor for Research; Continuing Ed dean

Vice Chancellor for Research Terri Fiez

Terri Fiez

Dean of Continuing Education Sara Thompson

Sara Thompson

I am pleased to welcome two new leaders to our campus community in Vice Chancellor for Research Terri Fiez and Continuing Education Dean Sara Thompson.

Dr. Fiez comes to us as a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Oregon State University where she created an impressive industry relations program. Her strong record of developing partnerships with industry and federal agencies supports one of my goals of increased industry collaboration. She replaces Stein Sture who has served our campus for 35 years. I am delighted that Dr. Sture will remain a professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

We also welcome back CU-Boulder alumna Sara Thompson as Continuing Education dean and vice provost for Summer Session and Outreach and Engagement. Dr. Thompson earned her MBA from CU-Boulder and comes to us as the dean of Professional Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She will be an innovative and entrepreneurial leader in building continuing education and online programs and she will continue our strong presence throughout the state in educational, service and faculty outreach. She replaces retiring dean Anne Heinz who served our university for 26 years.

In April I announced Lori Bergen as the founding dean of the College of Media, Communication and Information, our first new college in 50 years. I am confident our new campus leaders will help us achieve our top campus priorities of student success, revenue diversification and reputational advancement.

Move to Pac-12 pays off

Rendering of the new Buff Walk plaza on the East side of Folsom Field

The new Buff Walk plaza on the east side of Folsom Field will be paved with custom-inscribed bricks purchased by Buff fans. 

Our move to the Pac-12 Conference four years ago continues to reap benefits in both fundraising and direct connections to our abundant West Coast alumni. We have more alumni in California alone than we did in the entire Big 12, excepting Colorado, and it's a joy to gather with them before Buff games.

Boulder Daily Camera, "Colorado athletics fundraising soars on West Coast; Buffs cashing in on move to Pac-12"

Support from both our out-of-state and in-state donors and alumni has allowed us to grow our athletic facilities in unprecedented ways to put us on par with our Pac-12 peers in supporting our student-athletes and improving the fan experience at Folsom Field.

[videoicon /] Please view this short June 5 video for a construction update.

Part of the Sustainable Excellence Initiative and the Drive for 105 campaign to make these facilities possible is the new Buff Legacy Brick program allowing fans to become part of Buff history in a personal way with their own customized inscribed brick on the beautiful new Buff Walk plaza on the East side of Folsom Field.   

Buffs.com, June 10: "Buffs launch legacy brick campaign"

I know Yvonne and I will be purchasing a Buffs brick. Go Buffs!


Philip P. DiStefano