Welcome to the eighth annual fall convocation. I am pleased to join my fellow faculty to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding faculty.

We all are still feeling great excitement and immense pride in Ana Maria Rey, our eighth MacArthur Fellow, named just 10 days ago. Dr. Rey, is an atomic physicist in the physics department and a JILA fellow. Congratulations to Professor Rey. 

This once again shows that when we use the term “world-class faculty” it is not a cliché. At CU-Boulder it is reality, and it is on display daily in learning and teaching, discovery and innovation, and service to the community, the nation and the world.

I want to extend a special welcome to the parents and family members here among us, who have come to CU for Family Weekend.  We are glad that you are here so you can help us honor the accomplishments of our truly world-class faculty. 

Today we gather to honor faculty receiving tenure and promotion, and for the presentation of faculty and student achievement awards. All our faculty members play a central role in maintaining the excellent national and international reputation of the university, and in mentoring our students to new heights of learning and discovery.

Flagship 2030, our vision for the next quarter century, has at its heart, the goal to attract, develop, and retain top faculty. During New Faculty Orientation in August we welcomed 89 new faculty members to the university. We had excellent reasons for choosing each, and we are glad they chose us. We salute their expertise, fresh perspectives, and energy. 

They can take pride that they are joining an elite group of faculty that includes our newest MacArthur Fellow. But we also have many other notable faculty who have made us beam with pride in the last six months alone.

For example, Casey Hynes, of chemistry and biochemistry, was just named CU-Boulder’s 39th distinguished professor. 

Deborah Jin, of physics and NIST, was named to the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s advisory committee in August. 

Kristi Anseth, of chemical and biological engineering, and Henry Kapteyn, of physics, were elected to the National Academy of Sciences. 

Soon we will honor Professor Anseth as the 2013 recipient of the Hazel Barnes Prize -- the highest faculty recognition for teaching and research awarded by the university.

David Nesbitt, of chemistry and biochemistry, and 2012 Nobel laureate David Wineland, of physics, will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences next weekend in Cambridge.  

Scot Douglass, of engineering and applied sciences, and Beth Dusinberre,of classics, were named President’s Teaching Scholars. This is a lifetime appointment for skillfully integrating teaching and research at a high level throughout their careers. It’s the university system’s highest recognition of excellence and commitment to learning, teaching and scholarly work. 

Michael Klymkowsky, of MCDB, was named the 2013 outstanding undergraduate science teacher by the Society of College Science Teachers.

Once again, several professors have received Early Career Awards from the NSF, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

I could go on. This, by no means, is a comprehensive list.  It is our privilege to honor many deserving faculty here today.  

What does this mean for students? It means they are at ground zero in new discoveries and interacting with teachers and researchers who are transforming science, innovation, technology and the arts on a daily basis.

Our reputation for scholarship is strong, as evidenced by the numerous prestigious awards our faculty has received over the years for new discoveries, interdisciplinary projects, innovative technologies and the many published books, articles, and other creative works. 

Faculty here today are representative of a larger body of outstanding faculty that includes:

  • five Nobel laureates 
  • Now, eight MacArthur Fellows 
  • 10 Packard Fellows 
  • 16 Guggenheim Fellows
  • Four recipients of the National Medal of Science 
  • 72 members of prestigious national academies 
  • Two members of the American Council of Learned Societies 
  • And 39 Distinguished Professors.

Today it is also our privilege to honor some of our best and brightest students who are the intellectual and creative leaders of tomorrow. When they graduate, the university seal will be stamped on their CU diplomas. On the seal is a depiction of a torch and a Greek inscription that reads, “Let your light shine.” These students are not only letting their light shine, they are leading the way with their light, and it is a pleasure to honor them. 

These students are the beneficiaries of our faculty, who are responsible for our robust teaching and research mission. You guide our students to life-changing discoveries in literature, music, the arts, humanities and sciences. 

You breathe life into the power of collaboration in laboratories and classrooms. You determine your university’s standing as a place of nationally respected scholarship, teaching, and research. 

You educate, inspire and challenge your students, and they expect no less of you.

Students are society’s greatest asset and you are their mentors. I cannot think of a job more important. Congratulations to each of you!  And thank you for your service.