I first came to CU-Boulder more than a half century ago. I transferred from Cornell to study oil and gas geology of the Rocky Mountains. My father questioned my judgment in leaving an Ivy League school for a public university out West, but it proved to be one of the best decisions of my life.
My CU experience prepared me to succeed, but it was different from the typical college career of the time. I focused on my studies and job, sorting rock specimens by day and often worked in nearby oil fields at night, on weekends and on breaks to pay for school. I did not leave much time for engaging with the campus beyond the geology department. I remedied that by volunteering for CU in various ways in subsequent years, and I have learned considerably more since becoming CU’s president five years ago this month.
Serving our alma mater has given me an incredible perspective on CU and the great things that happen here. Reflecting on the past five years, some things stick out:
- CU alumni are accomplished, committed and passionate. They make a difference in large and small communities across the country and around the world. Whether exploring the outer reaches of space, serving in the Peace Corps, improving water quality in small Colorado communities or engaging in thousands of other ways, CU alumni make our world a better place.
- Our faculty and staff are first-rate. We have Nobel laureates and MacArthur “Genius” Fellows, as well as exemplary scholars, teachers, researchers and support staff whose dedication to their work and their students is inspiring. Faculty have developed cutting-edge learning techniques that are adopted at universities across the country and they are looking to the future to explore how new technologies and learning methods can improve education.
- CU is an economic powerhouse that advances the economy, health and culture of Colorado and beyond. We contribute $5.3 billion as a four-campus system annually to our state’s economy and are a driver in key economic sectors such as bioengineering, aerospace, health care, renewable energy and government. We also are a part of the civic and cultural fabric that makes Colorado special.
The common thread in all this is that at CU, we make a difference by improving lives and contributing to society. It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as president these past five years and to be part of the CU community.
Bruce D. Benson (Geol’64, HonDocSci ’04) is president of the University of Colorado. Please contact him at 303-860-5600 orOfficeofthePresident@cu.edu.