University of Colorado Boulder

From the Chancellor

S E P T E M B E R   2 0 1 1

Dear Friends,

Philip P. DiStefano
Philip P. DiStefano

As another fall semester at CU-Boulder begins, I am pleased to report that numbers from our fall student census are in and CU-Boulder has enrolled the most diverse freshman class in our history. The 1,141 diverse students in our freshman class, based on race and ethnicity, constitute a full 20 percent of the freshman class and brings our overall diversity at CU-Boulder to 17 percent. We increased both our resident students (by eight percent) and non-resident students (by 12 percent), and we are making gains in enrolling new populations.

The class of 2015 catches the Buff spirit at Student Convocation just prior to the start of fall classes.

Consider, for example, that one in five freshmen is a first-generation student. We’ve also increased international freshmen by 50 percent (129 students), enhancing the opportunity for all students to gain a global perspective in the classroom, while increasing transfer students by 12 percent.  This rich diversity proves that CU-Boulder is truly a highly desired destination for students not only from Colorado, but also from around the nation, and the world.



Thomas Cech, Nobel Laureate and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, works with research specialist Elaine Podell.

 $359 million in sponsored research revenue garnered in 2011
Our faculty and their staff attracted $359 million in federally sponsored research revenues in fiscal 2011. The awards are for research ranging from biomedicine and sustainable energy advances to environmental studies and space research such as planetary exploration. We also were federally funded to design and build spacecraft and instruments to study near-Earth space weather events that impact satellites, power grids, and ground communications systems.

While sponsored research awards do not support university operating expenses, they are reinvested in the local economy in the form of wages, supplies and equipment to the tune of $1 billion over the last four years. These funds also translate into cutting-edge instruction in the classroom involving 1,000 undergraduates and 1,150 graduate students participating in research.

The following list shows the diversity and reputation of our research by funding agency and percentage of our awards: National Science Foundation (24%), NASA (22%), Departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services (18% each), Department of Energy (7%), Department of Defense (6%) and other federal agencies (5%).


Law students Adria Robinson and Dave Digiacomo discuss constitutional law with South High School students in Denver.

CU-Boulder’s value to our graduates and the state
A new survey by shows that a CU-Boulder degree continues to be highly rated for mid-career earning power. We pride ourselves in that ranking as well as in our students’ values, like our No. 1 ranking in Peace Corps participation, our 13,000 students who work in community service annually and our student-led sustainability initiatives.

Value can be looked at in another way: our value to the state of Colorado and its citizens in fueling the state economy. In an environment of shrinking state and federal support, we must be entrepreneurial in moving forward both the university and the state we serve. One way we do that is when our faculty and students help to stoke the economy through transfer of technology into the marketplace, which our faculty are doing to an unprecedented degree, initiating seven new companies in the last year alone.

CU News Services, Aug. 15: “CU-Boulder chemical and biological engineers help fuel economy with 10 entrepreneurial startups”

Elementary students gather in Fiske Planetarium to talk with astronaut Mike Fossum on the International Space Station.

And finally, our reach into Colorado’s K-12 schools provides value in the education and enlightenment of students. To celebrate Constitution Day last week, the CU Law School launched a new program sending 60 law students to 50 high schools to lead one-period discussions on the First Amendment in classrooms from Adams County to Carbondale. In theater, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival troupe  is taking a production of “Twelfth Night” to 25 elementary, middle and high schools from Fort Collins to Trinidad to offer a lesson on bullying. “Twelfth Night” actors will lead a discussion after each performance in a collaboration with our Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

Channel 9, Sept. 20: Astronaut, children connect across thousands of miles

Boulder Daily Camera, Sept. 15: “Longmont High celebrates Constitution Day with moot court led by CU-Boulder students”


Chancellor DiStefano congratulates a rider at the finish line of the Buffalo Bicycle Classic Sept. 11.

Buffalo Bicycle Classic raises over $200,000 in scholarship money
More than 1,850 riders raised more than $200,000 for scholarships Sept. 11 at the Elevations Credit Union Buffalo Bicycle Classic. The ride has generated 548 scholarships totaling $1.4 million for academically strong students who need financial support. Students cannot apply for the scholarship and don’t even know they’re in the running until they learn they have won. The event was founded in 2003 by CU supporter Woody Eaton and Arts and Sciences Dean Todd Gleeson.

Speaking of Dean Todd Gleeson, he announced Aug. 24 that he will return to the classroom as a professor in the integrative physiology department and resign as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences next year following a highly successful decade of leading the college. Todd’s creativity, exemplified by the Buffalo Bicycle Classic fundraiser, is a key reason the college is stronger than ever, including a more than doubling of the college’s endowment. I will make a decision on a search later this academic year, but I want to thank Todd for his outstanding service to the university as a visionary and able administrator in the roles of dean and associate dean over the last 14 years.

Boulder Daily Camera, Aug. 24: “Todd Gleeson, dean of CU-Boulder’s College of Arts and Sciences, to resign”


This street banner will welcome our Washington State guests to Boulder for our first official Pac-12 game Oct. 1 at Folsom Field.
Welcoming our Pac-12 peers
If you come into town for Family Weekend and the Pac-12 opener next week you will likely notice street banners welcoming our visiting conference partners and their fans. We are excited to have this illustrious group of world-renowned universities as peers and we look forward to continuing our many research partnerships with the likes of Stanford, Cal, Washington, UCLA and Arizona, as well as with all the other outstanding members of the Pac-12.Our Pac-12 hospitality has already been singled out by Cal fans who came to town Sept. 10 and who are still raving on their fan site “The Bear Insider” about the welcoming fans, the sportsmanship at Folsom Field, and the beautiful Boulder campus. One of my favorite quotes was, “After Saturday I have to say that the CU fans are the best in their treatment of visitors. Everyone we talked to was nice and helpful. I got the feeling CU fans are happy to be in the Pac-12 and showed it before, during and after the game.”Families joining us for Family Weekend also are invited next Friday to Faculty Convocation, a special recognition of our world-class faculty where we will honor their achievements and celebrate 53 new faculty members this year. This special event is hosted in Old Main, the university’s first building. I am proud that CU-Boulder’s faculty has more than 50 prestigious National Academy members, seven MacArthur fellows and four Nobel Prize winners to its credit.Sincerely,