President Bruce Benson's newsletter

A message from President Bruce Benson

February 2017

Dear Alumni and Friends,

On Tuesday we hosted our annual CU Advocacy Day at the Capitol, and this year’s event was perhaps the best we’ve done, drawing a record turnout. Nearly 200 members of our CU Advocates program and other friends converged on the state Capitol in Denver to engage with lawmakers, learn about CU’s state budget and hear presentations from leaders of a couple of our stellar community outreach programs, the Colorado Center for Community Development at CU Denver, which has served some 2 million people, and the CU School of Medicine’s Rural Track, which increases the number of physicians in rural Colorado. I presented several issues related to our state funding.

Having advocates and friends mobilize at the Capitol sent a clear message to legislators – people care about CU and care about higher education in our state. Legislators took notice, including the lieutenant governor, who was a speaker. The day is the signature event for CU Advocates, our 3,400-person worldwide network of alumni and friends who promote the university by educating, engaging and influencing.

There is power in advocacy, and that power rests with you. I would invite all of you to join the program at this site.

CU is a large, complex institution and we have many communicators on our four campuses, yet we often still hear that we need to better tell our story. We do paid marketing, but our work with advocates greatly augments those efforts. What better way to engage people than with grassroots volunteers who are passionate about the university and eager to help?

We started CU Advocates in 2011. Members learn about CU’s successes and challenges and share the information with others, helping to elevate public perception and opinion about the university.

The program also hosts more than 30 events annually, many featuring our top faculty and researchers, people such as our state historian Patty Limerick, professor and director of the Center of the American West on our Boulder campus. And Dr. Huntington Potter from the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, who is doing pioneering research into Alzheimer’s disease, including human clinical trials. CU Advocates’ programs offer a range of topics as diverse as the university – our Nobel laureates, cybersecurity, explorations in space, personalized medicine and much more.

CU Advocates also partners with alumni associations on our four campuses to leverage their activities. We’ve enlisted support of CU Advocates in Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction to host CU Celebrations, where we welcome new students from the area who will attend one of our four campuses. The annual events, which we will expand to Fort Morgan next summer, have been quite successful and are a great way to welcome students and families into our CU family.

Getting out and around Colorado is important for us. That’s one reason why we established CU for Colorado, a searchable website that details the nearly 300 outreach programs we have around the state. Our faculty and students are active in every corner of Colorado, providing resources and expertise in communities large and small.

We help towns across Colorado assess water quality. Our physicians visit more than 400 health centers around the state to serve patients and share medical expertise. CU Boulder’s Colorado Shakespeare Festival takes the bard on the road to K-12 schools.

A big part of our mission as a public university is to serve our state, and CU for Colorado exemplifies our commitment to that ideal. It is imperative that we extend beyond the boundaries of our four campuses to share our expertise and resources, making Colorado a better place.

I’ve often said that CU’s greatest asset is its people. And whether they are serving Colorado through myriad outreach programs or helping to tell our story and make our case through the CU Advocates program, we are fortunate indeed that you and thousands like you are part of our family. Thank you.

For feedback, contact 

Bruce D. Benson
Bruce Benson

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