President Bruce Benson's newsletter

September 2015

Dear Alumni and Friends,

We have a great university. I have spent the better part of the past seven-and-a-half years telling that to anyone who will listen – in speeches, conversations and through written communication such as this newsletter. I know many of you also spend time singing CU's praises far and wide. Thank you for all you do.

Still, it has become clear to me that we have to mount a larger effort to ensure that people know not only about CU's reach and impact, but also about the great work that happens on our four campuses. That's why we are launching a significant marketing campaign this month.

Some will say educational institutions don't need to market. I disagree. While there is no doubt our mission in education and research makes us a unique enterprise, higher education is an increasingly competitive business. We compete for the best students, faculty and staff. We compete for donors, for research funding and for other resources. We compete against traditional colleges and universities (public and private), for-profit institutions and online schools, all of which are after the same things as we are. And they are all spending substantial sums in marketing their efforts.

Additionally, while most of you know about CU and the great things happening here, many people in Colorado and beyond have a limited awareness of our university. We need to change that.

The goals of our marketing campaign are to convey CU's value and contributions, to provide common threads to disparate marketing efforts already underway on our campuses, and to support our advancement efforts.

What we've done up to now is what I call earned marketing. We engage groups on a relatively small scale through advocacy and outreach efforts. We do the same with CU For Colorado, our umbrella program that draws on the nearly 300 CU academic, community and cultural programs in communities large and small across Colorado.

The next step is paid marketing. Beginning next week, we will be in an array of media and markets around the state and beyond. You will see CU advertising on television, digital banners, billboards, online video and more. The campaign will run through the fall, trail off during the holidays and pick up again early in the new year and run through spring. We intend this to be a sustained effort throughout the coming years.

Funding comes from initiative funds, which are interest earnings on CU investments, so no tuition dollars, donor contributions or state funds will be diverted to the effort.

Our creative concept is All Four:Colorado, which reflects that CU has four unique, vibrant campuses that have a substantial impact on our communities, our state, our nation and the world. The concept plays out around some of our key areas of impact. For instance, one treatment is All Four:Innovation, which highlights our research strengths. All Four:Health Care focuses on the clinical care and research we provide. All Four:Progress promotes our economic impact. All Four:Education reflects our core mission.

One of our first efforts is our 30-second TV commercial, which airs during CU Buffaloes sporting events (the network time is provided by the NCAA) and will be in several rotations in Colorado TV markets. You might have seen it during the final Denver Broncos preseason game, but if not you can see it here. You will see much more from the campaign in the weeks and months ahead. Our effort is complemented by our partnership with RTD to name the RTD FasTracks line to Denver International Airport and advertise on the Flatiron Flyer bus service on U.S. 36.

I'm excited about our marketing effort. It's great to have additional arrows in the quiver as we let people know how CU makes a difference through education, research and community service. I trust you will continue to share your CU experiences and observations with people. After all, we have a great university.

For feedback, contact 


Bruce Benson


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  • September, Marketing a great university
  • August, Coming of Age
  • June, Sunny futures
  • May, Vision to see the future
  • April, Momentum in Denver
  • March, Public higher education's changing face
  • February, Health and medicine: modest beginnings, lofty aspirations 


  • November, Leadership lessons
  • October, Learning how to learn
  • September, CU's largest real estate gift
  • August, What for, not how much
  • July, The bogeyman in the basement
  • May, Private gain or public good?
  • April, Funding outlook: sunny today, stormy tomorrow
  • March, Expertise and passion
  • February, Soaring in southern Colorado
  • January, It all starts with reputation



  • December, The threat from legal pot
  • November, Good news comes in threes
  • October, CU labs: a magnificent microcosm
  • September, Is college worth it?
  • August, A lasting legacy and a record set
  • July, Getting there from here
  • June, Serving those who served
  • May, Indelible impact
  • April, Bruce on Bruce
  • March, Perception and reality
  • February,Leading leaders


  • December, We're most proud of this CU uniform
  • November, From python hearts to Tebow's cleats
  • October, We want you
  • September, How to succeed at college and save $20,000
  • August, Reputation drives results
  • July, Teaching an old president new tricks
  • June, A message from the president
  • April, CU announces $1.5 billion Creating Futures campaign
  • February




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