July 2015
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano Philip P. DiStefano

Dear Friends,

When I was a college student in the 1960s Pluto was the stuff of imagination and science fiction. Today, students at CU-Boulder are deeply involved in the first-ever exploration of Pluto more than 3 billion miles away in the outer reaches of our solar system.

A revolving group of 30 CU students built and are operating a key instrument on the history-making New Horizons spacecraft that hurtled by Pluto on July 14 following a 9½-year journey traveling 750,000 miles a day. The instrument is providing valuable data on how planets form. Students began building it in 2002 and today are analyzing its waterfall of data.

It’s the first student-made instrument ever attached to a planetary probe and it gives our students unique and invaluable experience, as explained in this Washington Post article.  

Washington Post, July 17: “On its way to Pluto, New Horizons became a tool for education like no other probe”

Nothing can be more exciting or educational than exploring the unknown. CU-Boulder undergraduate and graduate students intimately involved in New Horizons and other projects across a spectrum of fields are establishing themselves as future pioneers, leaders and scientists, and they are the backbone of a new technological workforce for the state and the country.

“It's almost unexplainable," current student Marcus Piquette told the Boulder Daily Camera. "It's just incredible to be part of such a professional and experienced team, and see how real science is conducted — especially on the forefront of something that has never been done before. It's exciting and inspirational."

Boulder Daily Camera, July 12: "A big moment for CU-Boulder, with Pluto primed for its close-up"

CU’s New Horizons alumni join public celebration

Aluma Chelsey Krug talks about the Student Dust Counter

CU-Boulder New Horizons alumni, like Chelsey Krug, right, joined the public at Fiske Planetarium on July 14 to celebrate the historic flyby of Pluto. Today, Krug works as an engineer at CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. With Pluto now in New Horizons’ rear view mirror, CU-Boulder students continue to analyze data sent from the outer edges of the solar system. 

CU-Boulder’s connections run deep on New Horizons. New Horizons’ chief scientist is alumnus Alan Stern, who began laying out plans for the mission while a graduate student in 1989.

Physics Professor Mihaly Horanyi of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) is a New Horizons co-investigator along with Professor Fran Bagenal, a faculty member in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and LASP.

Alumni who have worked on New Horizons over the last 13 years joined a public celebration at renovated Fiske Planetarium when the famed spacecraft “called home” at 6:55 p.m. to a jubilant crowd. It was a capstone moment and reminded us why we do what we do at CU-Boulder.

Boulder Daily Camera, July 14: “New Horizons, mission with strong Boulder ties, cruises past Pluto and 'phones home'”

CBS Denver, July 14 “Hundreds flock to CU’s planetarium to see images from Pluto”

CU-Boulder to host Republican presidential candidate debate

Coors Events Center

The  Coors Events Center will host a Republican presidential candidate debate on Oct. 28, broadcast nationally on CNBC.

We are delighted to host the Republican presidential candidate debate on Oct. 28 at the Coors Events Center. The debate will be broadcast nationally by CNBC.

The campus hosted President Obama in 2012 and the Colorado Republican Assembly in 2014. Over the past several years, we have held public events featuring Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, Howard Dean, Karl Rove, John Ashcroft and Rudy Giuliani, to name a few.

University campuses should host events promoting intellectual diversity, dialogue and discussion. We want to challenge our students and expose them to viewpoints they may agree or disagree with because doing so sharpens their intellects and broadens their perspectives. 

FOX 31 TV, July 16: “Republican presidential debate to be held at CU-Boulder in October”

Working to reduce youth violence in communities

Students work on an anti-bullying exercise

CU-Boulder's "Steps to Success" is in year four of a five-year youth violence prevention study. Here, at a Safe Schools Youth Summit at the Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club in Montbello this month, students work on an anti-bullying exercise.

The modern comprehensive research university and its students play unique roles in our society, from exploring the great unknown to hosting national debates that may determine the future of the nation. It also plays an important role in social research and community outreach such as CU-Boulder’s “Steps to Success” examining how to prevent violence in some Denver neighborhoods while identifying risk and success factors. We hope to show a 10 percent reduction in youth violence at the conclusion of the five-year study this year.

[videoicon /]  KUSA, Channel 9, June 27: "CU program aims to curb Montbello violence"

We take pride in lending research and human capital to complex social problems in our communities. Just last week we announced that CU-Boulder had been awarded a $1 million grant by the Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate indoor air quality and health in low-income Denver area neighborhoods. The study is led by Shelly Miller, a mechanical engineering professor who studies urban air quality, and who is an inspiration to young women in science and engineering. She is featured in this short video as part of our Faculty in Focus series.

CU News Services, July 21: “Indoor air quality to be tested in low-income, energy retrofitted Denver area homes”

Preserving our heritage

Preserving and documenting our cultural history is certainly another important role of the American research university. In the Boulder Valley and across the region, we live and learn on land once occupied by the Arapaho. We visit places with Arapaho names. CU-Boulder linguistic anthropologist Andrew Cowell tells Colorado Public Radio why it’s important to preserve our heritage and the Arapaho language.

[audioicon /] Colorado Public Radio, July 9: "CU-Boulder professor turns forgotten Arapaho manuscripts into anthology"

Ambitious goals to support our students

Students working together in a classroom

Supporting students is the Chancellor’s top priority. He articulated his goals to the Board of Regents on July 10.

To continue to preserve and advance knowledge with students as our active partners – and to continue to thrive at a high level in the face of declining state support -- we must have ambitious goals to support our students.

State funding makes up only 5 percent of CU’s budget. If we can diversify our revenue we can continue to minimize tuition increases as we have the last two years – 2.9 percent in 2015-16 and 3.3 percent 2014-2015 for resident undergraduates -- our lowest tuition increases in a decade.

Please read about my goals for student success and building alternative sources of revenue that I presented to CU’s Board of Regents this month. I believe they are critical to the success of our students and our university.

Boulder Daily Camera, July 11: " CU-Boulder unveils aggressive goals for new funding, research"

Zimmer returns for 42nd season calling Buffs football; Buffs renew AFA rivalry

Larry Zimmer

Larry Zimmer is returning to the radio booth for his 42nd and final CU football season this fall, calling Buff home games plus the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver.

CU and Air Force football players in 1973

CU linebacker Jeff Geiser (82) eyes the Air Force Academy offense in 1973.

The longtime voice of the Buffs, Larry Zimmer, is returning to the radio booth for his 42nd and final CU football season, calling CU home games and the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver. “Zim” is famous for his calls of the 1990 national title victory, the Miracle at Michigan (1994) and Rashaan Salaam’s Heisman Trophy season (1994), along with several Buff conference and bowl titles.

The 2015 season offers an exciting and colorful six-game home lineup including Pac-12 foes Oregon, Arizona, Stanford and Southern California.

Boulder Daily Camera, July 2: "CU football: Larry Zimmer will return to booth for final season"

We renewed our in-state football rivalry with the Air Force Academy Falcons with games scheduled in 2020 and 2022. The last time the two teams met, in 1974, CU won a 28-27 thriller at Air Force. CU leads the series 12-4 and we are looking forward to resuming it.

CUBuffs.com, July 15: “CU, Air Force resume football rivalry in 2020, 2022”

Go Buffs!


Philip P. DiStefano