Jan, 23, 2017

It is my honor this morning to thank Ann Smead and Michael Byram for a transformational new gift that will raise up this university and the state of Colorado.

As many of you know, CU Boulder Aerospace has long benefitted from a program established in 2006 to honor Joe Smead, an alumnus of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, an aerospace industry leader, and Ann’s late husband.

Ann and Michael’s generous new gift brings the family’s total support to more than $15 million, names the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, and further boosts the campus’s reputation as a leader in aerospace research, education and industry collaboration.

Aerospace engineering education has long been one of our best-known and most successful programs, consistently ranking among the top public departments nationally.

Today, because of you, we take another large step forward. 

As part of CU Boulder’s commitment to shaping tomorrow’s leaders, impacting humanity and being a top university for innovation, this gift will enable us to attract and educate the best and brightest doctoral candidates whose work will ultimately change the world in industry, academia and government.

It will also attract top-quality faculty, donations, and partnerships, while continuing to boost the rankings of this top-five public program.

This gift cements our place among the strongest aerospace engineering programs in the nation—and urges us on to even greater heights.

Ann and Michael’s latest gift permanently endows and expands the Smead Program, strengthening support for the nation’s top doctoral students in aerospace engineering sciences.

This new gift continues to support our rising stars with Smead Faculty Fellowships, establishes a new endowed chair and a distinguished visiting professorship, and creates the first named department ever in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

I cannot think of a more fitting namesake for the aerospace engineering program. Joe Smead was an outstanding engineering alumnus. He was a national aerospace industry leader, he served on our aerospace advisory board, and funded the department’s first endowed chair, the A. Richard Seebass Chair.

This new gift highlights the caliber of CU-Boulder’s aerospace engineering program, which collaborates closely with industry, including partners like Ball Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, United Launch Alliance and Sierra Nevada.

We’re proud that we can contribute to Colorado’s aerospace economy – the second largest in the nation – through skilled workforce and leadership development, research, tech transfer and industry collaboration as NASA’s top public research university.

Today is a great day for the university, the state of Colorado, and its aerospace industry.

Thank you, Ann and Michael, for your generosity, your vision, your deep conviction in the power of higher education and the promise of the University of Colorado Boulder.