Published: Sept. 26, 2023

Chancellor Philip DiStefano addressed the CU Boulder community today in his State of the Campus speech about the university’s holistic focus on student success. During the speech, he announced plans to retire as chancellor after nearly 15 years in the role and 50 years on campus.

A crowd of seated people listen to the 2023 State of the Campus address.

People, including some of Philip DiStefano's family members, react to the chancellor's retirement announcement.

He intends to return to the faculty in the School of Education, where he first began his CU Boulder career as an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in 1974. 

Starting in fall 2024, his primary duties will include serving as the senior executive director at the Center for Leadership and the Quigg and Virginia S. Newton Endowed Chair in Leadership. He will continue to engage with major donors and highly engaged alumni across the university landscape. Also, he will support the transition of the next CU Boulder chancellor.

“It has been such a rewarding and humbling experience to serve as chancellor of Colorado’s flagship university for the past 15 years,” DiStefano said in the speech. “I am so proud of our faculty, staff and students and all that you have accomplished, and I also will treasure the many alumni, donors, parents and friends of the university I was lucky enough to meet. Finally, I want to thank my family for their support and for allowing me to miss birthdays, anniversaries and holidays because of my duties to the university.”

Born and raised in the diverse working-class steel and coal town of Steubenville, Ohio, DiStefano is a first-generation college graduate who began his education career as a high school English teacher near his hometown. DiStefano has spent the remainder of his professional career as a leader within the CU Boulder community, serving as an educator, dean, provost and chancellor.

DiStefano was named chancellor on May 5, 2009. In addition, he serves as the Quigg and Virginia S. Newton Endowed Chair in Leadership, overseeing CU Boulder’s prestigious leadership programs—a role he plans to continue after his term as chancellor concludes.

A resident of Boulder for more than 40 years, DiStefano has been active in local, regional and national organizations, including leadership roles within the Association of American Universities, the NCAA and the Pac-12 athletic conference. He serves on the Boulder Community Health Board of Directors and maintains close connections with numerous other civic organizations, including many where he has held leadership and advisory positions in the past. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University and West Virginia University.

DiStefano has dedicated his career to making CU Boulder a nationally recognized research institution that shapes tomorrow’s leaders and has a positive impact on humanity. He is a proud supporter of Buffs athletics, a champion of democracy and a believer in the value of town-gown partnerships.

He and his wife, Yvonne, have three daughters and two grandchildren.

DiStefano said he expects a national search will occur for his successor and University of Colorado system President Todd Saliman will share more information on the search process in the coming days and weeks.

Watch a video recording, or read the transcript of the address.