A Message from the President
February 2009
In This Issue...

Dear Alumni and Friends,

President Bruce Benson
President Bruce D. Benson

Colorado is by no means immune to the economic downturn plaguing the country, and the University of Colorado is feeling the effects as well. In late January, Gov. Bill Ritter recommended cuts to the state budget, including the appropriation for all the state's public colleges and universities. We must cut $8 million from our fiscal year 2008-09 (current year) budget and another $6 million from FY 09-10. Those numbers are subject to change in the legislative process, particularly when the state gets the next revenue forecast in mid-March. The cuts could get worse.

Our state appropriation at the beginning of this fiscal year was about $209 million ($813 million of Colorado's $7.7 billion general fund budget goes to the state's colleges and universities). We received an additional $18.9 million from the state's tobacco settlement, which primarily funds health-related programs. That has been reduced by lower tax collections to $17.4 million.

CU's financial aid and capital construction will also take cuts. State financial aid was reduced by $5 million (although we are able to backfill about $4.1 million of that with reserves). Some $31 million in capital construction projects were put on hold, including renovations to Ketchum and Ekeley on our Boulder campus.

The cuts are particularly painful, considering that Colorado already ranks 48th in the nation in state funding per resident student. And with fewer than five months left in this fiscal year, we must act. Our primary focus is to maintain our core activities of undergraduate, graduate and professional education, and research. We will be deliberate and strategic in the budget reductions, which will affect all our campuses, as well as system administration. We are committed to a process that is open and transparent, involving our key stakeholders. To that end, you can read my ongoing budget communiqués to the CU community.

We are working to ensure CU is included in the upcoming federal economic stimulus package. We have been working with Gov. Ritter and Colorado's congressional delegation, not only on behalf of CU, but for our entire state. Some of the stimulus money may go to shore up the state budget, but should that happen, it will only be one-time money.

Our fundraising operation has also been affected. Like colleges and universities nationwide, our endowment and managed assets took a hit. The good news is that considering performance over the past four years, the CU Foundation's investment team beat the Standard & Poor's 500 Index in both the good times and the bad. Still, CU Foundation President Wayne Hutchens and his leadership team took the prudent step recently of trimming administrative costs. While fundraising totals are running behind last year, the silver lining is that the number of donors has increased 17 percent, and the foundation continues to disburse funds that provide valuable support to CU programs and people.

Despite the gloom of economic conditions, CU's work is too important to simply hunker down. We believe colleges and universities, particularly research universities such as ours, will be key drivers to economic recovery. We not only produce an educated work force, but also engage in research and innovation that improves lives, creates jobs and bolsters the economy. Additionally, CU has a $4.7 billion annual impact on Colorado's economy, creates companies and employs thousands of people (both directly and indirectly).

We intend to ensure that a CU education remains high quality and to continue our contributions toward a healthy state and nation. I welcome your feedback at officeofthepresident@cu.edu.

Bruce D. Benson

Chancellor Peterson's Opportunity
CU-Boulder Chancellor Bud Peterson on Feb. 9 was named the finalist for the presidency of Georgia Tech, one of the nation's premier engineering schools. Its Board of Regents has two weeks to consider his candidacy before he can be named to the post. Chancellor Peterson has done a great job at CU-Boulder. He has been an effective leader who I have worked with closely to ensure that our academic quality stays high, that our reputation remains sound and that we solve problems as they emerge. He has presented a vision for our Boulder campus and has it on the right track. Given his skilled leadership and his background as an engineer, we are not surprised Georgia Tech identified him as someone who could lead the institution. If he is selected, he will be sorely missed in Boulder. We are letting the Georgia Tech process run its course before making any decisions about the chancellor's position on our campus.

Advocating for CU
Nearly 150 CU alumni and friends descended on the Colorado Capitol in Denver on Jan. 16 for CU Advocacy Day. They heard from lawmakers and in some cases met with them individually, gained insight into the legislative process and perhaps most important, made the case to state legislators that CU is a critical component of Colorado's economic health and quality of life.

Legislators, who value interaction with constituents and are interested in hearing their concerns, tell us they were impressed by the turnout. Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll addressed the group at a morning session, telling them that lawmakers appreciate their passion for CU and higher education. He echoed the message of the day: Higher education, particularly research institutions such as CU, plays a vital role in a healthy Colorado and nation.

As mentioned above, CU's state funding is being hit hard by the economic downturn. While we recognize the fiscal and state constitutional constraints lawmakers face, it's important that they are reminded continually that an investment in higher education provides significant dividends in terms of economic impact, an educated work force and innovation.

The CU advocates, who represented each of our campuses, were easy to spot. They sported large buttons with the interlocking CU logo. We had a strong showing from the Board of Regents, with six of the nine members of the board in attendance. Each briefly addressed the advocates and thanked them for their attendance. Our students also showed up in force, from student government leaders to lab coat-clad medical students from the Anschutz Medical Campus. You can view some photos from the event.

Advocating for CU with legislators is not a one-day event, however. We encourage you, especially our Colorado alumni and friends, to communicate with your legislators about CU's value.

State Releases Tuition Study
The Colorado Department of Higher Education in January released its annual Report on Tuition and Fees at Colorado's public higher education institutions. One of the key findings of the report was something we have known for some time - that CU and other state institutions cost less for resident undergraduates than their national peer universities. The study analyzed 2007-08 academic year data.

Tuition is obviously foremost on the minds of students and parents who pay the bills. A study showing it is less expensive in Colorado than elsewhere is not much comfort, particularly in these difficult economic times. Yet as is often the case, the data only tell part of the story.

CU's three campuses are up to 12.5 percent below national peers (which are determined by the independent National Center for Higher Education Management Systems) in tuition and fees, led by the Boulder campus, which is 12.5 percent lower.

The other critical component of funding an education at public colleges and universities is state support. Colorado falls woefully short in this regard. Our state ranks 48th nationally in the amount of state funding per resident student. State support per full-time resident undergraduate across CU's campuses is approximately $3,500 per student. The average among our peer institutions is approximately $8,100.

Another aspect is financial aid, which both the state and our institutions award. Over the past 10 years, CU has increased its institutional financial aid from $19 million to $86 million (approximately a 361 percent increase). Over the same period, state aid went from $12.3. million to $19.2 million (approximately a 56 percent increase).

We are committed to keeping a CU education affordable while maintaining a high level of quality. We certainly understand that it is expensive, and that many students and families stretch to pay tuition and fees. Yet we also know that a college education is one of the best investments people ever make.

The return on investment is substantial for individuals, their families and society. College graduates earn more over their working lives than those who do not have a degree. They have more career options. They contribute to the life of their communities in more ways. They are even healthier individuals.

Four Honored With Thomas Jefferson Award
Four members of the CU community are the latest winners of the Thomas Jefferson Award, one of the university's highest honors. Each year CU gives the award to students, faculty and staff who best embody the ideals of our nation's third president. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in the performance of regular responsibilities and outstanding service to the broader community. Join me in congratulating the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Award winners. They represent our best and brightest scholars. Read more...

CU Researchers Net $11 Million in NASA Grants
CU receives more NASA funding than any other public university in the nation. Last month, our prestige grew when the national space agency announced it had awarded $11 million in grants to two CU-Boulder researchers who are studying lunar astronomy and are conducting lunar surface and dust research. We are proud of our faculty researchers, who are committed to teaching, performing public service and advancing science. Read more...

Hardworking UCCS Professor Garners Special Title
Former Baltimore Orioles baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. earned the formidable nickname of "Iron Man" because he played in a record 2,632 straight games. If CU were to count an Iron Man among its own, the title might very well go to University of Colorado at Colorado Springs business Professor Gary Klein. Earlier this month, a study that appeared in the European Journal of Information Systems named Klein the most productive information systems scholar in the world. He is another example of the faculty-researchers whose excellence and dedication inspire us all. Read more...

CU Technology Transfer Office Celebrates Innovation
The University of Colorado is proud of its innovative faculty and students and the partnerships they have nurtured. Over the past 15 years, CU researchers have developed technologies, applications and health care treatments that have led to the creation of 83 new companies in fields as varied as biotechnology and renewable energy. To honor those who created or channeled CU innovations to market, the CU Technology Transfer Office held its annual awards ceremony on Jan. 12 on the UC Denver Downtown Campus. Read more...

News from Our Campuses
There is a wealth of good news coming from our campuses. Following are just some of the highlights since my last newsletter: UC Denver School of Medicine Professor Virginia Borges, MD, received a two-year, $247,000 grant from the AACR/Breast Cancer Research Fund to study inflammation in pregnancy-associated breast cancer. Borges, an assistant professor of medical oncology, and her colleague, Pepper Schedin, PhD, an associate professor of medical oncology, are among the nation's foremost experts on breast cancer in young women. ... The UC Denver Business School has received a $1.5 million bequest from highly respected and successful businessman Robert H. Reynolds to fund the first endowed chair in business. It is the largest one-time gift in the Business School's history. Reynolds' passion for global business spurred his generous contribution. ... The CU-Boulder Law School received a $5 million gift to establish an endowed chair that will enable law students to incorporate real-world practice into their formal education. Colorado philanthropists and Quizno's founders Richard F. and Rick E. Schaden donated the funds to the law school through the Schaden Family Fund. The endowment will enhance clinical law programs, externships, appellate and moot-court competitions and pro bono work. ... UCCS and Lamar Community College have signed a partnership that will support undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees in southeast Colorado. A $100,000 grant from the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation will fund the rural outreach effort. ... CU-Boulder has 102 alumni serving in the Peace Corps, which means it is in second place nationally among large universities that have produced volunteers. That's according to the Peace Corps' 2009 rankings. Since the organization's inception, 2,157 CU-Boulder alumni have served in the Peace Corps, making the campus the No. 5 all-time producer of volunteers.

Visit our Photo Gallery
There is lots of activity at CU between events, meetings and speeches. We have added a photo gallery to our website where we are posting images of events such as CU Advocacy Day at the Capitol, mentioned above. You can visit it at www.cu.edu/content/photo-gallery-0