Published: Dec. 15, 2016

In 2016, we again celebrated a campus community that brings innovation and positive impacts to Colorado and the nation. We marked new discoveries, faculty achievements, Olympic medalists and a resurgent football program while welcoming high-profile visitors to campus and sending satellites throughout our solar system. Enjoy this recap of an outstanding year.

Class sits in circle outsideMost diverse, academically qualified freshman class settles into college life

CU Boulder's 6,439 freshman make up the most academically qualified class in CU Boulder history, with an average SAT score of 1191, ACT composite of 27.3 and high school GPA of 3.66. Some 33.4 percent received automatic scholarships due to outstanding grade point averages and test scores. The class is also the most diverse, with 26 percent students of color and 17 percent representing first-generation college students.

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CU fans cheer on the Buffs during sunset football game

The Rise

In 2016, CU Athletics experienced success on and off the field. From academic honors, being nationally ranked in volleyball, women’s basketball, football and cross country, to winning the Pac-12 South Football Championship, our student athletes, coaches and staff proved that The Rise was real.

Related stories: 
Buffs ready for Pac-12 title tilt with Huskies
Mike MacIntyre named 2016 Walter Camp Coach of the Year

Researcher pours a liquid solution into a beaker

Turning brewery wastewater into battery power

CU Boulder engineers developed an innovative bio-manufacturing process that uses a fungus in brewery wastewater to create the carbon-based materials needed to make energy storage cells, leading researchers to create one of the most efficient naturally-derived lithium-ion battery electrodes known to date while cleaning the wastewater in the process. This unique pairing could set up a win-win opportunity for beer makers and manufacturers.

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Dead and Company members takes photo in Buffs jerseysConcerts returning to Folsom Field this summer with Dead & Company

In July, Dead & Company (three of the surviving members of the Grateful Dead with John Mayer and others) played two shows at Folsom Field, the first concert since the Dave Matthews Band performed and recorded its live album in 2001. Folsom hosted many high-profile concerts throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, including the Grateful Dead, who made memorable appearances in 1972 and in 1980.

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The Dalai Lama dons a CU Boulder visor

High-profile campus visits

Thousands of people attended a variety of talks hosted on campus by such thought-provoking and intriguing individuals as the Dalai Lama, George Takei, Vice President Joe Biden, Steve Wozniak and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Every effort is made to bring speakers who will intellectually stimulate and challenge the student body and the Boulder community.

Related stories:
George Takei to speak at CU Boulder
SCOTUS's Sotomayor addresses large crowds at CU Boulder event with message of perserverance
Dalai Lama draws thousands to Coors Events Center for words of wisdom
Energetic student crowd embraces VP Biden, ‘It’s On Us’ campaign to end sexual violence
CU Boulder student groups bring Steve Wozniak to campus
Distinguished Speakers Board to host video chat event with Edward Snowden

State Historian Patty Limerick in CU-gold scarf

Patty Limerick named state historian as History Colorado looks to future

Patty Limerick was named the new Colorado state historian, a move that puts a Colorado historian with a national profile into the top position and cements the collaborative ties between the University of Colorado, where Limerick founded the Center of the American West, and History Colorado in Denver.

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CU Nobel laureates recreate "Abbey Road" album cover

Behind the scenes: CU Boulder's Nobel laureates gather for campus photo

Four of CU Boulder's five Nobel laureates gathered recently on campus for a photo in front of the Duane Physics Building. Click the link below for a short, behind-the-scenes video of the photo session.

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Northern lights in the Arctic

CU in the Arctic

CU Boulder planted a flag in the Arctic, announcing a new Arctic studies certificate for undergraduates that will focus on the science and culture of the region. Also, a professor in geological sciences was among the first to scientifically describe a bone from an ancient flightless bird that grazed near Greenland. And the National Snow and Ice Data center warned of a “triple whammy” resulting in record-low sea ice.

Related stories:
Giant bird browsed Arctic twilight 50 million years ago
New Arctic Studies certificate to explore rapidly changing, politically charged region
Sea ice hit record lows in November

Photo of "First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare"

CU Boulder announces Shakespeare First Folio 2016 exhibition dates

As Colorado's selected host for the First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare national tour, CU Boulder opened the multi-panel exhibition at the CU Art Museum exploring Shakespeare’s impact. The First Folio exhibit allowed generations to experience Shakespeare's lasting influence on language, culture, theater, music, education and more. 

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Graduating students celebrate

CU Board of Regents approves tuition guarantee for CU Boulder in-state students

On April 6, the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado approved a tuition and mandatory fees guarantee for resident students at CU Boulder by a vote of 7-2. Beginning fall semester 2016, incoming freshmen saw a one-time increase of up to 5 percent in their tuition and mandatory fees, which will remain locked for four years.

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Jenny Simpson wins Olympic Bronze in 1,500-meter final

CU in the Olympics

CU has a proud history at the Olympics, sending more than 90 athletes and coaches through the years. At the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Emma Coburn shaved more than 3 seconds off her American record to win bronze in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Former Buff Jenny Simpson became the first American woman to medal in the 1,500 meters, winning a bronze. CU coaches played a major role.

Related stories:
Coburn wins Olympic Bronze, resets American record
Simpson claims Bronze in Olympic 1,500
Olympic medals still producing smiles for Wetmore, Burroughs

Juno spacecraft superimposed over image of Jupiter

CU Boulder faculty, students primed for Juno mission to Jupiter

In July, three CU Boulder researchers and five students launched the Juno spacecraft into Jupiter's orbit to better understand the planet's origin and evolution. Even Professor Fran Bagenal, who has been a part of five previous NASA planetary missions, was nervous about the Juno mission because of how dangerously close to Jupiter's magnetic field the spacecraft would be flying.

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Derek Driggs, Richard Paucek and Matthew Winchester

Three CU Boulder students win prestigious Goldwater scholarships

This year, half of the six Colorado-based winners of the prestigious Goldwater scholarship were students at CU Boulder. The scholarship is worth up to $7,500 and recognizes sophomores and juniors who have achieved high academic merit in math, science and engineering.

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Student works on art piece in the classroom

Student success

From continuing to increase our retention rates of first-year students, to breaking ground on the Center for Academic Success and Engagement, and strengthening industry collaborations that open new academic pathways and opportunities, there is much to celebrate on pushing the needle of student success.

Related stories:
From the Provost: Reflecting on the fall semester
CU Boulder’s resident entrepreneurs in place, ready to help
CU Boulder's newest minor—in space—has lift off
Student Stories: Class of 2016

Maithreyi Gopalakrishnan works on hybrid kit for rickshaws

Rickshaws 2.0

Colorado native Maithreyi Gopalakrishnan, who graduated from CU Boulder with a five-year combined MS/BS degree, devised a way to tackle air pollution after a trip to her birthplace, India. She developed a hybrid kit for rickshaws—the gas-powered motorized tricycle taxis that are a primary mode of transportation in the country—that will help reduce pollution and have good financial impacts for rickshaw drivers.

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CAREER Awards recipientsSeveral faculty members honored with 2016 CAREER Awards

From wireless charging of batteries to new strains of vegetables with anti-aging properties, CU Boulder's scientists are working on tomorrow's innovations. Six CU Boulder researchers were honored by the National Science Foundation with Faculty Early Career Development Awards in 2016.

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