Published: April 7, 2023

At the invitation of CU Boulder’s Senior Class Council, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis will deliver this year’s commencement speech at CU Boulder, with the ceremony taking place on May 11 at Folsom Field. 

Gov. Jared Polis

Polis is an entrepreneur, education leader and dedicated public servant. While in office, he has provided free, full-day kindergarten and universal preschool, while also providing more than $1 billion in property tax relief to homeowners and businesses, a more than 50% reduction in the cost of state parks passes, and healthcare savings through nation-leading efforts like reinsurance, the Colorado Option, hospital transparency and capping the cost of insulin. The governor helped Colorado navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and historic wildfires across the state.

“We are honored to have Governor Jared Polis, a trailblazing Coloradan and forward-thinking national leader, as our commencement speaker,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “As an entrepreneur, parent and public servant, Governor Polis is an excellent selection to address our graduates, who will certainly face their own challenges and opportunities as they become tomorrow’s leaders."

Polis has worked to address climate change, helping make significant progress toward Colorado’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040, while cutting taxes for small businesses and investing in affordable housing and transportation. He took part in CU Boulder’s Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit in December 2022, an event that brought together people from around the world to put forth solutions to the many ways in which climate change negatively impacts people’s lives.

“Throughout our time at CU, the Class of 2023 has been building up momentum,” said Ethan Meyer, president of CU Boulder’s Senior Class Council. “A momentum to drive change and lead our generation in developing solutions to the many challenges our world and local environments face. In searching for a speaker, we have sought out an individual who shares this same sense of momentum. Having discussed various candidates, we converged on Governor Polis. As a Coloradan, public servant, and active member within our local community, Governor Polis has embodied the very spirit and values our class strives towards.”

Prior to serving as governor, Polis was a representative serving Colorado's 2nd Congressional district. He also served for six years on the State Board of Education, where he worked to raise pay for teachers and reduce class size for students.

In addition to his public service, Polis, who is fluent in Spanish, is a philanthropist and entrepreneur who started his first business, American Information Systems, out of his college dorm room. By the time he was 30, he’d launched three successful companies, including ProFlowers, one of the world’s leading online flower retailers. He was recognized as an Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young for his pioneering role in the internet economy.

The May 11 commencement ceremony is free and open to the public and tickets are not required.