Bruce D. Benson
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(April 10, 2013) Bruce D. Benson became president of the University of Colorado in March 2008. Since taking the helm of his alma mater, Benson has enhanced CU’s standing as one of the nation’s leading teaching and research universities, advancing the economy, health and culture of Colorado and beyond.
Benson leads a university system with four campuses: CU-Boulder, CU Denver, CU Colorado Springs and CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo. More than 58,000 students were enrolled in degree programs at CU in fall 2012; an additional 9,000 students took classes for credit at CU. The university’s annual budget is $2.9 billion.
Before his appointment in 2008, Benson was a successful businessman who was active in a variety of educational, civic and political activities at the state and national levels. In 1965, he founded Benson Mineral Group, an oil and gas exploration and production company. Since then, Benson’s business interests have expanded to include banking, mortgage servicing, real estate development and management, geothermal power, manufacturing, trucking, restaurants and cable television. In 2009 he was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.
Benson has sat on boards of directors of dozens of companies, including United States Exploration, American Land Lease Corporation, Western Capital Investment Corporation and First Interstate Bank of Denver.
Three different Colorado governors have named Benson to educational initiatives and governing boards, all of which he chaired: the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (1985-89), Metropolitan State College Board of Trustees (2003-07), P-20 Education Coordinating Council (2007-08) and the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel for Higher Education (2001-03). Outside Colorado, he was board chair of the Berkshire School in Massachusetts (1984-94) and also served on the board of Smith College (1988-95).
Nationally, Benson was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Park Service and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a member of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
During Benson’s tenure, CU’s research funding has reached record levels in each of the past three years (including a best-ever $884 million in 2010-11), supporting the university’s research strengths in biotechnology, health care, renewable and sustainable energy, and aerospace engineering, among others. He has led efforts to promote cross-campus collaboration that have resulted in cooperative academic programs and research initiatives, most notably CU’s Biofrontiers Institute, led by Nobel laureate Tom Cech.
Benson and his wife, Marcy Head Benson, chair CU’s $1.5 billion Creating Futures fundraising campaign, which was publicly announced in April 2011. The campaign has raised $1.3 billion to date to support scholarships, academic enhancements (endowed faculty positions, programs), research projects and capital improvements across CU’s campuses.
Benson has guided efforts to successfully institute operational efficiencies, cut bureaucracy and improve business practices at the university. CU has secured legislation in the Colorado General Assembly that has allowed it to save millions annually in areas such as procurement, insurance and construction. He has also established a number of public-private partnerships to make the university more entrepreneurial and meet the needs of businesses in Colorado and across the country.
Benson earned his bachelor’s degree in geology from CU. He was active in a variety of educational, civic and political endeavors. He was the Republican nominee for Colorado governor in 1994. Benson has received many honors recognizing his leadership in a variety of endeavors, but two are particularly notable: CU in 2004 granted him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and in February 2009 he was named to the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.
In addition to his wife, Marcy, he has three children and 10 grandchildren. He was born July 4, 1938, in Chicago.
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Bruce D. Benson Predator Ridge exhibit named, 2012
Denver Zoological Foundation Honorary Lifetime Trustee, 2011
Bonfils-Stanton Award for Community Service, 2011
Colorado Business Hall of Fame, Laureates Award, 2009
Denver Business Journal, Power Book Award; Nonprofits and Foundations Category, 2008
Colorado I Have A Dream Foundation, Roastee, 2006
University of Colorado, Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, 2004
University of Colorado, Ira C. Rothgerber Award, 2003 (one of two awards ever given)
Metropolitan State College of Denver, Commencement Speaker, 2002
University of Colorado Boulder, Alumni Association’s Recognition Award, 2001
Honorary Police Captain, Denver, 2001
Independence Institute, David S. D’Evelyn Award for Inspired Leadership, 1999
Arthritis Foundation Humanitarian Award, 1999
University of Colorado, University Medal, 1999
Berkshire School, Distinguished Alumnus Award, 1997
University of Colorado, Benson Earth Sciences Building, 1997
Boy Scouts of America – Silver Beaver Award, 1996
Berkshire School, Benson Commons Building (Student Center), 1992
ARCS Foundation Inc., Man of the Year, 1991
Adams State College, Distinguished Executive in Business, 1989
University Relations, Office of the President, University of Colorado
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_8277609 http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2010/06/commentary_conference_realignm.html http://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/26/us/republicans-name-donors-of-7.1-million-to-party.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm https://www.cusys.edu/newsletter/2011/04-27/creating-futures.html