Welcome to campus and the newly renovated Glenn Miller Ballroom. We're pleased to host you today.

I am very pleased to tell you that CU-Boulder is working hard to contribute to the well-prepared and educated workforce of the state. We just graduated 5,900 students on May 9. It was very cold and wet that Saturday morning, so I made my remarks in record time. I will see if I can match that today.

Our theme of this year’s summit is "The Talent-Driven Economy." Let me take a moment to tell you how we prepare those graduates I was just telling you about, for the talent-driven economy.

One of my top priorities is the success of our students. We work in a coordinated manner to produce a graduate who is a well-rounded, creative thinker and problem solver in a global economy regardless of their degree. In other words we focus on graduating people who can be 360-degree employees, citizens and leaders. We are mindful of doing that in the most cost effective manner for our students.

How do we do this? First, we focus on the success of our students in finding the right major quickly and staying on track to achieve their degree in a timely manner. We have developed and implemented an entirely new advising IT system we are rolling out this month that allows our advisors to connect with each student directly on their mobile device…and visa-versa.

We have developed a goal to create an entrepreneurial mindset among all of our students so that they can be highly adaptive in a dynamic world and work environment. Whether solving a problem faced by local government -- like how to become more resilient, creating a new business, or contributing as a valuable employee, we teach and encourage critical thinking, civil discourse, collaborative decision-making and creative solutions.

We have created a full portfolio of entrepreneurial programs, competitions and labs that can be accessed by students from music to engineering whether it's the New Venture Challenge that brings students from every discipline to compete for start-up prize money, or Catalyze CU, a start-up accelerator for CU students and faculty, to name just two examples.

One of our students, Nathan Seidle founded SparkFun Electronics in Boulder while he was an undergraduate student in electrical engineering. SparkFun is an online retail store that sells parts for electronics projects and today, Nathan has 150 employees.

Not every graduate forms their own company, but the entrepreneurial mindset of the campus produces graduates who can be an asset to any company through innovation, problem solving or creative thinking.

Students also work collaboratively and across disciplines to control satellites in space, work on biomedical advances, develop clean energy, or create advertising campaigns such as "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" by 2000 graduate Jeff Hoff, which of course today remains an iconic phrase in American society.

Just two weeks ago, advertising students working in teams, won six awards in a prestigious international advertising contest in New York, the most awards collected by any U.S. public university.  

These are all examples of experiential learning. When I think of experiential learning I also think of the Wildfire Project two summers ago that saw students in journalism, computer science, data analysis, videography and graphic design work together to aid overwhelmed professional news outlets in covering the wildfires that inundated Colorado.

My initiatives on student success also call for producing a holistic student and graduate. Entrepreneurship, collaboration and creativity are all important attributes. But our students are also service-minded. Every year 14,500 CU-Boulder students connect with the community by participating in service; and service is an ethic we value.

We graduate flexible and adaptable employees and leaders who can thrive in any field in a global economy.

One such person is Ashley Elmblad. Ashley graduated in 2008 with a double major in psychology and philosophy. She also earned a leadership certificate in the President's Leadership Class. Ashley is currently director of workforce design for ReWork, a Denver recruitment and workforce design company.

Her particular job is helping organizations turn their employees into high-functioning teams through professional development, community engagement, and strategies centered on culture and values. She is well prepared to thrive in the global marketplace, and her work takes her across the U.S. and the world, including India, Indonesia, and Kyrgyzstan for United Nations development programs.

Ashley personally embodies and professionally advices on many of the things you will be talking about today: Building a Talent Pipeline, Attracting Talent, Anticipating Talent Needs, and Engaging Talent.

Ashley is among the 65 percent of our graduates who stay in Colorado after graduating from CU-Boulder. Considering that we import 45 percent of our students from out of state, it’s fair to say we are keeping more than we are giving back in terms of a talented, educated workforce. Some of those graduates go to work right here in Boulder, such as Lea Johnson who graduated 12 days ago with a degree in economics and took a job with Crispin, Porter and Bogusky.

It is graduates like Nathan, Ashley and Lea who show us the value of the holistic, flexible, well-rounded graduate in driving our talent economy. We think it's vitally important and that's why we put such an emphasis on it at CU.

Have a great conference. And the next time you think about a new hire, think about a CU graduate!  Thank you.