Chancellor Philip DiStefano with fellow panelists at the CU Boulder Diversity and Inclusion Summit.

I am grateful to all of you here today for your many contributions to foster equity and excellence at CU and in the greater Boulder community. I would like to acknowledge the Diversity and Inclusion Summit Planning Committee; Vice Chancellor Bob Boswell, Associate Vice Chancellor Alphonse Keasley, and the entire staff of the CU-Boulder Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. I would also like to thank:

  • The chancellor’s four standing advisory committees
    • The Chancellor's Committee on Race and Ethnicity
    • The Chancellor's Committee for Women
    • The Campus Accessibility Committee
    • The Standing Committee on Gender and Sexuality

The exchange of ideas and knowledge among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives is a hallmark of education and one we are committed to at CU. I am thankful that you are here to support it. I am reminded of what Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."

As most of you know, equity and excellence is a major initiative on our campus. We want to embrace diversity and elevate inclusivity in all our work so it becomes part of who we are.

There was a time in which we measured our diversity goals by numbers. While we still pay attention to numbers, we have moved past that, to focus more on how we treat people once they are here. This is the spirit of Ubuntu, the theme for this conference.

We know that a healthy campus social climate is foundational to student success. Everyone – students, faculty, staff and visitors – should feel engaged, valued and supported in our community. Everyone should thrive and reach their full potential at CU Boulder.

Our students recognized this 12 years ago when they came up with the Colorado Creed. The Creed says: “In everything we do, we will Act with honor, integrity and accountability, respecting the rights of others and contributing to the greater good of the community. You see those words in various places all around the campus.

We need to recognize the importance each of us has in shaping the culture of the campus and the community by the way we interact with one another. It is the simple things we do to engage and inspire each other daily that makes the difference in building a welcoming and inclusive culture.

Dialogue about achieving a diverse and inclusive community cannot be limited to an annual summit, but instead it must be part of our daily conversation. Inclusivity must be woven into our fiber and fabric, and be a part of who we are.  

Achieving inclusive excellence is not the job of one office, one vice chancellor or one chancellor. It’s not the sole prerogative of our student leaders or our city manager. It’s everyone’s moral imperative.

So our work together continues today and tomorrow at this summit, but it needs to be work we do every day to achieve our goals as a campus and as a community .

As we talk about Ubuntu today I think of what Desmond Tutu said. "Do your little bit of good where you are; It’s those little bits of good that overwhelm the world."