Recent months have shown the university at its best in ways big and small, on both a grand scale and on a personal level.
We were excited to learn this fall that the National Solar Observatory chose the University of Colorado Boulder for its headquarters. CU-Boulder’s east campus will be the primary site for scientific research on solar physics and space weather, which can have a significant impact on global communications and power grids.
The NSO will enhance our longtime research partnerships with several federal labs, create exceptional educational opportunities for students and produce more than 70 high-paying jobs with an annual payroll of $20 million.
It will further position CU-Boulder as a center of innovation in solar research and is another example of how our entrepreneurial spirit will benefit Colorado’s economy [read more about this here].
Just as important is the heartfelt letter I received from the mother of a student with autism. She wrote, “It is amazing to me that such a large school was able to give so much personal attention to my son.”
She told of faculty and staff in every corner of campus who offered her son help and personal attention to support his transition into college. She specifically mentioned Housing and Dining, Disability Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, his residence hall director, his math, engineering and biology professors and teaching assistants, his computer science advisor, students in his residence hall, a physics professor who hired him for a summer job and the CU Rec Center staff. She spoke earnestly of individuals who care about the success of her son.
“I am in awe that such a big university would give such special attention and create community in such a lovely way,” she wrote.
I am in awe as well. It is truly staggering to think that, on the one hand, we are a university that captured $359 million in sponsored research contracts this year, spun off 50 companies based on our technologies over the last decade and just landed a world-class observatory. On the other, we are a university that cares about the success of each student, strives to give each a small-college experience and takes pride in the citizens we produce.
It shows what CU-Boulder can do on the macrolevel and at the microlevel. It also reminds us we have to succeed on both levels to maintain our position in the world and, more importantly, to serve the young people whose caring parents send them here.