CU President Bruce D. Benson announces retirement

University of Colorado President Bruce Benson
CU President Bruce Benson

University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson today announced his retirement, effective July 2019.

Benson, who earned a geology degree from CU in 1964, has been president since March 2008. He is the longest-serving CU president in 65 years.

“It has been my honor and privilege to serve as president of my alma mater for the past decade-plus,” Benson said. “CU is among the top universities in the world and has a bright future. The university advances the economy, health and culture of our state every day, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done to ensure it is one of Colorado’s most important public assets.”

“Bruce Benson has been one of the most effective presidents in the university’s storied history and the mark he leaves on CU and our state will endure for some time,” said Sue Sharkey, chair of the CU Board of Regents. “His passion for education, commitment to diversity of all kinds, business acumen and outstanding leadership have CU well-positioned for a bright future. Bruce is a true friend and mentor in the art of leadership, not only to me, but also to many who have known him.”

During the 10-plus years of Benson’s tenure, CU has seen considerable success in annual measures.

  • Some 135,000 students have earned degrees from CU’s four campuses (Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, the Anschutz Medical Campus). Enrollment increased from 54,174 to 65,375 (with an additional 7,000 taking courses for credit);
  • Internally generated financial aid increased from $88 million to $184 million;
  • Research funding increased from $660 million to $1.03 billion;
  • Fundraising increased from $135 million to more than $400 million;
  • CU’s endowment increased from $640 million to $1.2 billion;
  • The overall budget increased from $2.2 billion to $4.5 billion;
  • CU’s economic impact increased from $5.3 billion in 2012 to $8.3 billion ($12.3 billion when affiliate hospitals are included).

“CU’s success has been a team effort and I have been fortunate to work with some great people, from faculty and staff to campus chancellors and my executive team,” Benson said. “Together, we’ve improved the culture, enhanced collaboration and increased diversity in all its forms. CU has programs and people in every corner of Colorado and we’re proud of what we do every day to improve the state that was founded the same year as the university.”

About the CU System
The University of Colorado is a premier public research university with four campuses: the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. With more than 65,000 students (and another 7,000 taking courses for credit) and over 7,200 full-time instructional faculty members, CU is the largest institution of higher education in the state of Colorado. With an annual budget of $4.5 billion, CU generates a remarkable economic impact of $12.35 billion annually for the state. CU researchers attracted more than $1.03 billion in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2016-17. The university’s Technology Transfer Office has helped launch more than 180 startups since 1994. Academic prestige is marked by CU’s five Nobel laureates, 10 MacArthur “genius” Fellows, 20 astronauts and 19 Rhodes Scholars. For more information about the CU system, and to access campus resources, go to

Bruce D. Benson Statement

It has been my honor and privilege to serve as president of the University of Colorado for the past decade. Today I informed the University of Colorado Board of Regents that I intend to retire from my position, effective July 2019. I want to give the board ample time to find a successor who can continue the tremendous positive momentum at CU.

I’m proud of what we have accomplished over the past 10-plus years. The university is well positioned for a bright future. I want to stress that it is a team effort. On all four CU campuses, we have record enrollment, record research funding and record fundraising. Tens of thousands of students have earned degrees that will improve their lives and allow them to contribute to communities across Colorado and beyond. We have kept tuition increases in check, substantially increased financial aid and made access to a CU education a reality for Coloradans. The university has shown improvements in all forms of diversity.

My goal as CU president has always been simple – to make sure the university is among the best in the world, and we have a faculty that delivers on that promise every day. Great staff members support them. Students and alumni embody the university’s ideals and contributions. Donors add substantial value to our enterprise.

The university has contributed billions to our state’s economy and is one of Colorado’s greatest public assets. We improve the economy, health and culture of our state every day. Our hospital partners, with their $4.1 billion annual budget, provide first-rate health care and innovations that improve the lives of those in Colorado and beyond.

I’m also proud that our $4.5 billion annual enterprise runs efficiently and effectively thanks to measures we have taken over the past decade. Additionally, we have partnered with the Colorado legislature and governor to pass many bills that not only help CU run efficiently, but all of higher education in the state.

CU has also been innovative in the delivery of education and has placed a sharp focus on ensuring that our campuses are places where robust debate and discussion are welcome, as is a diversity of viewpoints.

None of this happens because of one person. CU is fortunate to have an exemplary faculty, an exceptional staff, a great executive team and first-rate campus chancellors.

Over the next year, I will work with the Board of Regents and my team to continue to build on the progress we have made.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife Marcy for her support. She is a partner in every sense of the word and she has supported me throughout my tenure. I could not do this job without her.

The University of Colorado has been a part of my life since I was an undergraduate some 55 years ago. It will remain an important part of my life. It will also remain critical to Colorado’s success and will continue to address the critical issues facing our nation and world. I invite you to join me in ensuring that CU lives up to the considerable promise of higher education. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president.

Bruce Benson signature

Bruce D. Benson, president

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