Greetings. We are pleased to have you on campus.
I hope you were able to enjoy a tour of the campus yesterday. As an aspiring role model for sustainability, the University of Colorado Boulder is proud of our five new LEED-certified sustainable buildings with nine other buildings pending certification.
As a university of nearly 30,000 students in a community of about 100,000 people we are closely connected to the Boulder community, and proud of it.
One of our most famous students was Robert Redford. He worked as a dishwasher at The Sink restaurant on University Hill.
I am especially fond of his movie, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and one line in particular.
Butch tells Sundance that they need to go to Bolivia, because that's where their future is.
Sundance, played by Redford, says: "You just keep thinkin' Butch. That's what you're good at."
To which Butch says: "I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals."
That line comes to me when I think about how the University of Colorado-Boulder and the City of Boulder have a shared vision, rather than wearing bifocals.
At CU, our vision for renewable and sustainable energy, space sciences, and biomedical advances are consistent with the Boulder community's values and vision as entrepreneurs in biotech, aerospace engineering and sustainability.
Through our entrepreneurial programs, we usher scientific research through to business development in the community.
The university and the city are like twin sisters. We have our own unique identities, but a shared vision.
In fact, this university was born in 1876 when the people of Boulder had a shared vision. They envisioned a place to educate future leaders and develop pioneers of discovery, while securing an economic mainstay.
Citizens of Boulder donated land, raised $15,000, lobbied the state legislature and secured matching funds to start the university. It was the beginning of our town-gown relationship.
The people of Boulder planted the seed for this university. Today, the university reciprocates by planting the seeds that make Boulder a recognized center for sustainability, innovation, entrepreneurship, and business start-ups.
You will be hearing more about our shared vision for sustainability from Dave Newport, director of our student-run Environmental Center during this morning's keynote address.
And you will learn more about our tech transfer into the local marketplace from Dr. David Allen, associate vice president of the CU Technology Transfer Office, in one of this afternoon's conference sessions. There have been 27 start-ups in the last five years based on CU-Boulder technology, 50 in last the last decade.
While a shared vision goes a long way in a healthy relationship between a community and its university, we all know that the town-gown pie has many slices: responsible growth, community service, cultural contribution and of course, neighborhood relations.
I have been a resident of Boulder and Boulder County for 37 years. Our students are my neighbors. I walk around the student neighborhoods early in the fall semester and I personally encourage them to be good neighbors. But a university with 30,000 or so teen-agers testing the boundaries of freedom for the first time can challenge a university's relationship with its community.
We are fortunate in Boulder to have several proactive programs in partnership with the City of Boulder to address neighbor relations. Some of them include the annual fall "Neighborhood Walk-About" with City Manager Jane Brautigam to which I just alluded, a student party-registration program in cooperation with the Boulder Police Department, a Campus-Community Coalition on Alcohol Abuse, and a collaborative city-university personal safety campaign.
In addition, I am proud that as a university community we have several programs and initiatives in place that contribute to the quality of life in the community. I would like to take a moment to briefly mention some of them.
- Multiple entrepreneurial programs across campus that support economic development and new business.
- A curriculum in entrepreneurship for students of all majors – from engineering to theater – that supports the values and the efforts of the Boulder community.
- A 50-year collaboration with federal labs that brings both new knowledge and economic impact.
- Federally sponsored research revenue reinvested in the local community to the tune of; $1 billion over the last four years.
- An Institute of Ethical and Civic Engagement that is a catalyst for student service in the community. Thirteen thousand students annually devote more than 360,000 hours of community service.
- An initiative to double international students to 10 percent of student body. International students contribute to the local economy, diversify our community and contribute to the community in positive and productive ways
- Community support in trying times. Last fall, Boulder County suffered the most destructive wildfire in state history when 169 homes burned. The Coors Events Center was both an evacuation center and a communications center during the crisis.
I am pleased that there are discussions over the next few days addressing all these topics and more. While you are having this important conversation, please take time to enjoy our campus and the community. Thank you.