Published: Aug. 23, 2017

CU Boulder donors backed their passion for student success, high-impact research and quality facilities with $140.4 million in private support in fiscal 2016–17, according to recently released advancement figures.

Ann Smead with graduate students in engineering

Donor Ann Smead talking to current and former aerospace students.

The contributions for scholarships, programming and other initiatives at CU Boulder make up a sizable part of the $386.3 million in donations that came into the four-campus University of Colorado system - a figure that set a record for private giving. 

“Our generous donors are supporting us in developing tomorrow’s leaders, being a leader in innovation and impacting humanity,” said Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “Donors give to organizations they are passionate about. Our donors care deeply about the exceptional teaching and research that happens here. They are directly impacting students’ lives on a daily basis. We are grateful for their ongoing support.” 

Examples of the impact of private support at CU Boulder during the 2016–17 fiscal year include:

Aerospace: A $10 million gift to the College of Engineering and Applied Science from Ann Smead and her husband Michael Byram is accelerating aerospace engineering on campus and strengthening Colorado’s aerospace economy and brings their total contributions to $15 million. Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, entered into a $3 million sponsorship agreement to establish academic programs to develop the next generation of space engineers at CU Boulder. The programs will focus on radio frequency systems, which are important to commercial, civic and military needs for communication, radar and photonic technology.

Music: Becky Roser, a longtime College of Music supporter and former chair of the Music Advisory Board, created a $2 million endowment, naming the keyboard area the Roser Piano and Keyboard Program. Roser, who now chairs the music+ campaign committee, wanted to help kick off the $50 million fundraising campaign with a gift whose influence would be felt well beyond the College of Music’s 2020 centennial.

Business and Engineering: The Leeds School of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Science partnered for a physical expansion and bridge to provide creative, collaborative and connective spaces to help strengthen the connection between the innovation occurring in the business and engineering programs. Significant gifts from the Anschutz Foundation, the Koelbel Family Foundation and Tandean Rustandy kicked off the fundraising as these philanthropists continue to partner with Leeds and across the CU system to seed economic prosperity for Colorado.

Law: In 2013, Michael Savage (A&S ’92, Law ’96) pledged to establish the Savage Law Scholarship and the Savage CU in D.C. Scholarship. In 2016, Savage committed a $1 million estate gift to be divided between the two scholarships. The Michael R. Savage Scholarship will go to law students with an emphasis in taxation and will give those students an opportunity to connect with an alumnus working in the field.

Bioscience: The Anna and John J. Sie Foundation provided a generous $2 million gift to the BioFrontiers Institute to fund a research neighborhood as part of the fifth wing expansion of the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building. Named in honor of John J. Sie’s mother, the Yuan Yung-Foo Interdisciplinary Bioscience Research Neighborhood will provide the opportunity for additional scientists, faculty and students to collaborate in the BioFrontiers Institute’s world class research facilities as they embark on scientific discovery into many of the world’s most challenging health issues.

The gifts follow a line of philanthropy at CU Boulder that began with the campus’s founding when early supporters donated money, land and a passion for education to start a university in Boulder in 1876.