On behalf of the University of Colorado students, faculty, alumni and fans, we are proud to accept this invitation from the Pac-10 and join the most prestigious academic and athletic conference in the nation.

Let me say at the outset that I am proud of our long-standing association with the Big 12 and Big 8 conferences. These two marvelous conferences engendered great rivalries and fantastic competition across a number of sports, and we are proud that our legacy includes membership in both of these storied conferences.

But today, we are looking west, toward the Pac-10 Conference, and toward the great vision and legacy of achievement the Pac-10 represents. I can tell you, we are eager to take our rightful place, and begin our own legacy in our new home.

Quite simply, the Pac-10 is a great fit for us. First we have a strong alumni and student base in California. We have 35,000 more alumni living in the PAC 10 region than in the Big 12 footprint. We are excited about reuniting regularly with our loyal fan base that resides within the Pac 10.

We also think this will be great move for our fans. We think the Buffs will be a team that will "travel well" to Pac 10 destinations. California is our biggest out-of-state feeder of students – with more than 600 new freshmen joining us from California every year. And we are excited by the new athletic rivalries this will surely create.

In fact, some of these rivalries will not be so new. Of all the conferences we have played over the years, we've played the Pac-10 more than any other, including a 1904 football matchup with Stanford in Denver.

But as excited as we are to be talking about a new athletic conference, this move is also about academic excellence. We are excited to be in a conference in which we share a similar vision for transforming the future of higher education in service to our state, our nation, and the world. We are the only member of the prestigious Association of American Universities in the Rocky Mountain West, and the PAC 10 has seven fellow AAU members. We are honored to become the eighth.

We derived $340 million in groundbreaking federally sponsored research in 2009, comparable to Pac 10 universities such as such as Washington, Oregon and Arizona. Our four Nobel Laureates share a legacy of discovery with other Nobel Prize winners at institutions such as California, Stanford, USC and UCLA.

We have a long history of research collaborations with our counterparts in the Pac 10, especially in the areas of biomedical research and renewable energy. Here are a few examples.

  • CU Boulder and Stanford are part of the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, which is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory management group. We also work with Stanford in numerous long-standing high-energy physics collaborations and with many biomedical collaborations.
  • CU-Boulder also has a decade-long National Science Foundation-funded collaboration with Cal Berkeley in the area of extreme ultra-violet laser research.
  • The Physics Teacher Education Coalition includes the University of Arizona and CU-Boulder, among other universities collaborating on new teaching, outreach, and research-based programs that will enhance our nation's performance in science, technology, engineering, and math education.
  • We work with colleagues from the University of Washington on a tool to assess quality of life in students with a hearing loss, funded by the National Institutes of Health. It is also noteworthy that the University of Washington is also our greatest competitor in the area of student engagement. Washington is No. 1 in Peace Corps participation and we are No. 2 in the nation, and by just a few students.

This is truly a historic day, and a lot of vision, imagination, and hard work have gone into it. One of the people who helped make it possible is here with us today. He saw the potential the Pac-10 offered us a long time ago, and when the opportunity presented itself, he encouraged us to work hard to make it happen. I'm proud to introduce him to you now. Ladies and gentleman, CU President Bruce Benson.