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CU officials hit road to tout university

Scott N. Miller
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyElizabeth Hoffman speaks about the future of the University
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EAGLE COUNTY ” The University of Colorado has had headlines in the last year a true Buffs fan wouldn’t even wish upon a Cornhusker.

Despite the allegations of sex used as a recruiting tool for high school football players and the continuing saga of possible academic fraud by a professor, the university’s president and regents are traveling around the state touting the school to parents, alumni and taxpayers.

The road show passed through the Eagle Valley recently. New Athletic Director Mike Bohn, outgoing President Elizabeth Hoffman and Regents Gail Schwartz of Aspen and Cindy Carlisle of Boulder met with reporters and community groups. The main message was: outside the headlines, there’s good work going on at CU.

“The quality of education at CU is one of the best in the nation,” Hoffman said. She pointed to the success of the school’s space sciences program.

“Undergraduates can design and participate in the building of satellites,” she said. “There’s no place else an undergraduate can do that.”

Students in Boulder are now working on a probe that will be sent to Pluto in the coming months, and also worked on a Saturn probe that sent pictures back to Earth just last summer.

Hoffman also noted the school was able to land Ryan Patterson, a 2002 graduate of Grand Junction Central High School who earned international acclaim for inventing a glove that translates American Sign Language to standard English while still a teen. Patterson, who had his pick of colleges, chose CU over Stanford, she said.

But Hoffman and the Regents acknowledged the school’s reputation has taken some serious hits. The headlines have sparked some public interrogation from the public during the Western Slope tour.

“We had some tough questions,” said Carlisle the day after a dinner in Glenwood Springs. “But what we’re hearing is that people want to support CU.”

That seems to be the case with several local parents of CU students.

“I’m satisfied,” said Tom Denboske of Gypsum, whose son, Josh, is just finishing his second year at Boulder. “There aren’t too many schools that can say they’ve never had a problem.”

Back home in Gypsum for the summer, Josh Denboske said most of the headlines about the school don’t really affect him or his fellow students.

“The most it really affects me is the people who ask how it affects me,” he said.

While stories about students who died from alcohol poisoning have shaken a lot of kids at CU, “stuff about the president, the athletic director and all that doesn’t really affect me,” Josh Denboske said.

While he said he plans to finish his undergraduate degree at CU, he did say he’s frustrated by the negative press. “Every time something comes out, it drops the value of my degree a little bit.” he said.

While the Denboskes are happy with CU, another local family isn’t as impressed. Mike and Sandy Rose of Eagle have two daughters attending CU. One, Briar, is doing fine, the other, Bailey, just transferred to the University of Northern Colorado. The struggles of her older daughter have left Sandy Rose soured on the Boulder school.

“When you have the kind of controversies they’ve had, and raising tuition, too, are you going to want to send a kid to CU?” Rose said.

Teresa Minett of Eagle said her son Everet is in the right place.

“He really enjoys it,” Minett said. “He’d make the decision to go there again.”

Gypsum resident Mallie Kingston, finally, said she worries about her daughter, Brooke Baughfman, who just finished her sophomore year at Boulder. But she’d worry about her kid no matter where she went to school.

“I’m sure things go on at other schools that we don’t hear about,” Kingston said. “Partying goes on just about everywhere, but it depends on the kid how that affects them.

“But she’s happy there, and that’s fine,” Kingston added.

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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