Graduates, members of the Board of Regents, President Benson, members of the faculty and staff, parents, distinguished guests, family and friends; it is an honor and a pleasure to address you today as the Chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder.

I know today's graduates join me in extending a special welcome to their family and friends, whose love and support have helped to make this day possible. Please join me in showing them our appreciation.

With us today, are many members of the faculty who have guided and mentored these graduates. They have shared their time, knowledge and expertise, to help each student reach this important milestone and their full potential. Will representatives of the faculty please rise and be recognized?

Parents, you are probably asking yourselves today, "What did my student get from CU?" A job? I certainly hope so -- even in this challenging economy. You are asking yourselves, "Did my student receive the skills and knowledge to compete in the global marketplace?" Again, I hope the answer is a resounding yes.

But beyond the skills and beyond the knowledge critical to competing and contributing in the 21st century global economy, what other attributes did they gain from their education at CU? I like to think they gained personal values. Values to make the right decisions in a challenging world fraught with pitfalls and wrong turns. Values to serve their communities, their nation and the world. Most importantly: values that build upon the values you raised them with.

At CU-Boulder I like to think that we offer value and values.

Value is an objective analysis. Value is and rating a CU-Boulder bachelor's degree among the top 20 degrees in the nation for post-graduate earning power.

It is USA Today and the Princeton Review rating CU-Boulder a top five best value in American higher education based on cost, quality of education and financial aid. That's value and it's important to all of us.

Values are something else. It is CU-Boulder currently placing No. 2 in the nation in Peace Corps participation by its graduates, and No. 5 all time since the inception of the Peace Corps 50 years ago.

Values are 13,000 CU-Boulder students participating in 360,000 hours of community service every year. That's the equivalent of 170 people working fulltime for a year.

Values are student-led sustainability initiatives, which have earned CU-Boulder with the moniker of the "Greenest University in America." It's our zero-waste football game days at Folsom Field. It's our green buildings on campus. Institutions nationwide are following our lead, and this Class of 2010 can be proud for leading the way.

Values are what students learn in our undergraduate research programs. They learn the value of working in teams and balancing individual pursuit with group effort to accomplish important research and creative work for the advancement of society. Our students control satellites in space. They work on biomedical discoveries and projects that will save lives. They make films, produce plays and works of art that inspire us.

Today's digital information age cries out for values. We have the technology that allows people to say and do anything, and broadcast it worldwide instantaneously. We have an abundance of technology that encourages personal communication like Facebook and Twitter.

But the failures of instant communication have been well documented in recent weeks and months. The cyber-bullying at Rutgers resulted in the senseless loss of a student. Some contend that national security leaks of classified documents by Wiki-Leaks have compromised the safety of our nation's citizens, soldiers and diplomats. What is true and lasting is not the skills for using the technology, but rather, the values in using it responsibly and wisely.

Knowledge, skills and values are all important to the lives of a young person. But their personal transformation does not, and should not, come as quickly as downloading a YouTube video. You cannot download the transformation of a young person. You as parents know that any important transformation takes time and care, and your children are a testimony to this fact.

So while I take pride in the objective ratings that CU-Boulder is a great value, I take even greater pride that students at CU are challenged to develop strong values that will remain with them for life, that will transform them, their communities, and indeed, the world.

Introduction of commencement speaker Juri Toomre
I would like to introduce you to someone who has been integral in transforming young lives. It is my privilege to introduce today's commencement speaker, CU Professor Juri Toomre, the 2010 Hazel Barnes Prize winner.

The Hazel Barnes Prize is very special at CU-Boulder because it honors the integration of teaching and research. Professor Toomre certainly embodies the highest of standards in both.

Dr. Toomre is a professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences and has taught at CU since 1975.

Professor Toomre has received a number of teaching honors in 35 years at CU. One of my favorites was in 1999, when students selected him for the Teaching Recognition Award.

He teaches both introductory astronomy courses as well as highly specialized graduate courses in astrophysical and planetary sciences. He has mentored more than 40 graduate and postdoctoral students.

His highly cited and influential research includes:

  • Solar physics
  • Supercomputing simulations
  • And the study of the sun's interior structure.

Dr. Toomre has been a team leader on National Science Foundation and NASA projects, most recently the Solar Dynamics Observatory, a satellite that studies extreme ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

It is my great pleasure to give you today's commencement speaker, our distinguished 2010 Hazel Barnes Prize winner, Professor Juri Toomre!