One of the great pleasures of my job has been learning about the depth and breadth of what goes on at the University of Colorado. As I often tell people, I pay attention to what happens here, yet I only scratch the surface as I discover the various activities in which CU engages.
The key to any great university is a great faculty, and that's what I see across our four campuses. I am continually impressed by their expertise, their professionalism, their dedication to their students and to their fields. I got a taste of it while I was a student here, but my job now has provided me a considerably broader perspective. We capture snapshots of faculty activities in a monthly compendium we call Focus on CU Faculty, which we send to a variety of constituents.
Looking back over some of the previous issues, combined with additional things I learn about almost daily, it's hard to not be impressed by CU faculty. Their work benefits our students, our state and our society. Here is a small sampling:
CU Anschutz Medical Campus researcher Dr. Dan Pollyea, leading a clinical trial that had support from colleagues at Stanford and Ohio State, found the drug ibrutinib to be effective in fighting the most common form of leukemia. He worked with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado to secure "breakthrough therapy" designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a program Bennet co-sponsored that expedites approval of potentially lifesaving drugs that show dramatically positive results early in development. The drug is now benefiting patients.
Tom Cech of CU-Boulder, the first of five Nobel laureates at CU, was recently named to the first National Commission on Forensic Science, a duty he will squeeze in between running our BioFrontiers Institute and teaching freshman chemistry.
CU Denver anthropologist Charles Musiba, a native of Tanzania, leads students on a six-week field school in his home country at Laetoli, one of the world's most important fossil sites. There they learn their craft in the cradle of humankind.
Michael Larson, a UCCS mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, has licensed technology he developed for a device that uses lasers to fuse human tissue after nasal surgery as an alternative to stitches or staples.
CU faculty performed the world's first liver transplant. They explore the far reaches of the universe, as well as our own planet. They run an urban farm in Wheat Ridge where students learn about sustainable agriculture. They host hundreds of high school students for a science Olympiad. They tackle pressing issues facing our society in health care, energy, biosciences and education, among others.
Among their ranks are Nobel laureates, National Professors of the Year, MacArthur "Genius" Award winners, National Academy of Sciences fellows, Fulbright Scholars and dozens of additional prestigious designations.
Yet for all the diversity of teaching styles, research interests, expertise and community engagement, there are common threads running through all CU faculty: they have a passion for their students and for the university, they are experts in their fields, and they exemplify a high level of professionalism. Like in any group thousands strong, not all are exemplary, but they are the exception, not the rule. The rule is women and men who care deeply about their students and their work, as well as about their contributions to communities and to society.
I am proud of CU faculty members and an admirer of all they do. Their work inspires me to do the best I can at my work, which is helping to foster an environment where learning, teaching, innovation, discovery and community thrive.
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