After a 10-year reign, benson is stepping down
Over the past 10 years, Bruce D. Benson has served as the figurehead for the CU system; next summer his reign will come to an end. President Benson will be retiring after having become CU’s longest-serving leader in over six decades, according to the DailyCamera.
When Benson was originally announced as CU’s president, he was met with apprehension and skepticism. People were quick to point out that Benson was an oil and gas executive and was heavily involved in Republican politics, including his position as chairman for the Colorado Republican Party from 1987 to 1993 and his run for governor in 1994. He also was criticized for not having any experience in academia, being a climate change denier, and only holding a bachelor’s degree in geology from CU.
Most recently, when Amendment 64 passed, allowing legal recreational use of cannabis, Benson was quick to send out an email shaming its ratification as well as predicting that the school system would lose funding due to the amendment.
However, over the past decade, Benson, now at age 80, has proved the critics wrong.
This year, CU saw record-breaking private donations for the ninth consecutive year, totaling up to $440.4 million, and some think it’s thanks to Benson. “Private support at CU has more than tripled in a decade,” Benson said in a statement for Communique, UCCS’s student-run newspaper.
Additionally, Benson has also pushed to promote more cross- collaboration between the four CU campuses, which has resulted in many research and academic opportunities, including the CU Biofrontiers Institute, an “interdisciplinary hub for bioscience research and education with a focus in improving human health,” according to their website.
In a statement on Wednesday, July 11, Benson said, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve as president of the University of Colorado for the past decade.” He continued on to say that the university has a “bright future” ahead and praised the four campuses along with staff, students, alumni, and his wife, according to The Denver Channel 7 website.
“The University of Colorado has been part of my life since I was an undergraduate some 55 years ago,” Benson said. “It will remain an important part of my life, and I am forever grateful for what my alma mater has done for me, hundreds of thousands of my fellow alumni, Colorado, and the world.”