University of Colorado

A Message from the President

December 2011

We're most proud of this CU uniform

Dear Friends and Alumni,

President Bruce Benson
President Bruce Benson

When the CU Buffaloes' football season ended, there were reflections about our inaugural year in the Pac-12 Conference and looks forward to next year. Among the post mortems and predictions was a small note in The Denver Post that spoke volumes.

Buffs wide receiver Toney Clemons, who received his sociology degree Friday, told the Post, "The best uniform I'll wear is that cap and gown." Thousands of his fellow CU students wore that favored uniform as our campuses celebrated fall commencement.

One is Emily Brown, who not only received her English degree from our Colorado Springs campus, but also completed a circle that began when she was 11 and was diagnosed with bone cancer. Doctors from the CU Cancer Center, collaborating with colleagues from the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center, believed an experimental drug used on dogs with a similar cancer could also help Emily. They were right. Some 14 years later, as she finished her academic career, she did a writing internship at the CSU Animal Cancer Center and now plans to write a book about her cancer experience.

Another student wearing the uniform is Ryan Doptis, an integrative physiology major on our Boulder campus. As an undergraduate, he helped Professor Leslie Leinwand research how the physiology of Burmese python hearts can help prevent and treat genetic ailments of the human heart. Few undergraduates in the country get the kind of experience Ryan did, and he intends to use his work at CU to pursue a long-planned career in the sciences.

Ryan and Emily exemplify the best of what a university education can be. The CU experience can propel students down a career path or allow them to pursue a passion. Often, those paths converge.

I have been discussing the nature of the university experience with people inside and outside CU, particularly some of our faculty members. The discussions hint that there are competing visions of the outcome of a college education. Some think it is focused career preparation. Others say it develops a well-rounded person ready for most any career.

Each view is right. Education is an investment that pays lifelong dividends. What students learn in classrooms, research laboratories and extracurricular activities not only informs what they will do, but who they will become. Alumni around the world apply their CU education to a variety of endeavors. Some knew their career path the day they arrived on campus. Others found their passion later in their academic careers. Still more spent years after CU on a winding road before reaching their life's destination.

A university must prepare its graduates for any and all of those eventualities.

As one faculty member told me, we need to convey that college can offer both career preparation and a wider learning experience. To do so, we must share stories of how alumni apply their CU experiences and show that an investment in education is perhaps the best one a person can make. We will continue to share our stories and we hope you will read the passage below that encourages you to do the same. In the meantime, we wish Toney, Ryan, Emily and all of this fall's graduates the best as they craft their own stories.

For feedback, contact

Bruce D. Benson
Bruce Benson

Share your CU story

Karren Kowalski

We'd like to hear your CU story about how the university made a difference in your life or your community. As part of our new CU Advocates program, we are soliciting stories to help us convey the value of the university and its contributions to advancing the economy, health and culture of Colorado and beyond. You know the university best, so we hope you will share your story about what makes CU great. We will post them to our website and use them selectively to promote the university. You can submit them here. And while you're at it, we invite you to join CU Advocates if you haven't already.

University of Colorado Hospital bids to operate Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs

Karren Kowalski

The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) is leading a partnership group that was unanimously selected for consideration to operate Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, which is now run by the city. The Memorial System Task Force, after considering bids from five health systems, forwarded the UCH bid to the Colorado Springs City Council on Monday as the consensus choice.

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Pac-12 Travels

Tim Tebow pink cleats

The Colorado Buffaloes football team's inaugural foray into the Pac-12 Conference was challenging. Our new coaching staff is rebuilding the team and we faced several programs that reside in the upper echelon of college football. I am confident that Coach Jon Embree, his staff and players will rise to the challenge in the coming years.

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Welcome Regent Irene Griego

Karren Kowalski

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in late November appointed Irene Griego, Ph.D., to the University of Colorado Board of Regents, the university's elected governing board. She fills a vacancy left when Monisha Merchant resigned to work for Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.

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Healthy Kids, Healthy Scores supports educational nutrition model at DPS

Children's natural curiosity can be an ally in getting them to eat healthier foods.

"When kids have the opportunity to learn and see where their food comes from, they are more likely to try healthy, fresh food. In addition to providing fresh food directly to the cafeteria, school-based urban farms offer hands-on, learning opportunities that actively engage kids and offer additional resources to surrounding communities," said Kelly Dunkin, vice president for philanthropy at the Colorado Health Foundation.

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Spotlight on Alumni

Save the coral reef and the ecology: Leeds alumnus leads the way

Karren Kowalski

In addition to their beauty, coral reefs are an integral part of the Earth's ecosystem, providing homes for nearly half of the fish the world eats. The coral reefs are also at risk of extinction. But their prognosis is looking up, thanks in part to Leeds School of Business alumnus Brett Howell.

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News from our campuses

University of Colorado Boulder
Study of twins suggests genetics affect ability to quit smoking: Smoking behavior among twins points toward an increasing role of genetics when it comes to quitting the habit, according to a study led by CU-Boulder.

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University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Initiative aims to engineer funds, businesses, jobs: The engineering school at UCCS has launched an initiative to turn research done by its faculty into marketable products and to create jobs for local residents by fostering startup companies.

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University of Colorado Denver
Neanderthals died out from interbreeding with impressed humans: Rather than being outwitted by the more numerous early humans, Neanderthals were equally as sophisticated - but so impressed the humans they were seen as potential mates, scientists say.

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University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Bone-density drugs linked to increased fracture risk: Millions of women take bone-strengthening supplements such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast to prevent osteoporosis, but medical experts say they can cause a dangerous side effect in some patients.

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Office of the President, University of Colorado
1800 Grant Street, Suite 800, Denver, CO 80203
General Phone: (303) 860-5600 | Fax: (303) 860-5610