Courage in Education Award to be Presented by Steamboat Institute to Bruce D. Benson, President, University of Colorado

TENNIS 04/21/07 vs OU So. Courts

We are excited to announce that Bruce D. Benson, President of the University of Colorado, is receiving the Courage in Education Award from the Steamboat Institute at the 2016 Freedom Conference on Saturday, August 27, 2016. “In recent years, we have observed many universities caving to the pressures of ‘political correctness’ and, in the process, stifling free speech and intellectual diversity on college campuses,” said Steamboat Co-Founder Jennifer Schubert-Akin.

“Fortunately, for the citizens of Colorado and the students at CU, President Bruce Benson has demonstrated courage and leadership by encouraging intellectual diversity and free speech at CU,” Schubert-Akin continued.  “Under his leadership, CU has made huge strides in advancing conservative thought and policy.  Because of President Benson, CU is setting an outstanding example for other universities by encouraging open inquiry, vigorous debate, and the free exchange of ideas.  The Steamboat Institute takes great pride in recognizing President Benson’s courage and leadership by presenting him with a special ‘Courage in Education’ award.”

“I’m honored to be the first recipient of the Steamboat Institute’s Courage in Education Award,” said University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson. “It recognizes the important work we are engaged in at CU to ensure that diversity of thought is a part of our institutional culture. It’s critical that we teach students how to think, not what to think, and that our university is a place that values and promotes debate, discussion and, above all, free speech.”

Benson will be honored at the closing luncheon of the Steamboat Institute’s 8th Annual Freedom Conference & Festival in Steamboat Springs, CO on August 27, 2016.

About the Courage in Education Award

The Steamboat Institute promotes America’s first principles, including freedom, free markets, and individual liberty, and is proud to partner with CU by co-sponsoring speaker seminars on the Boulder campus and in Steamboat Springs, in conjunction with CU’s Conservative Thought & Policy Program.  This speaker series offers students and members of the Boulder and Steamboat Springs communities with an outstanding opportunity to meet and interact with speakers on topics ranging from free market capitalism to Supreme Court appointments.  It is because of President Benson’s leadership that the culture on the Boulder campus has evolved to welcome intellectual diversity and the free and robust exchange of ideas.  To recognize this remarkable achievement, the Steamboat Institute Board of Directors is proud to present President Benson with a special “Courage in Education” award.  This award will be presented at the closing luncheon of the Steamboat Institute’s 8th Annual Freedom Conference & Festival, August 27, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  To register for the Freedom Conference and for more information about the Steamboat Institute, please visit .

About Bruce Benson

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. During his tenure, CU’s research funding has reached record levels in each of the past four years (including $861 million in 2013-14 and a record $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.

CU has seen its six best fundraising years (including a record $298.4 million in 2013-14) under his leadership. Benson and his wife, Marcy, chaired CU’s $1.5 billion Creating Futures fundraising campaign, which exceeded its goal in November 2013. The campaign, the largest in university history, supports scholarships, academic enhancements (endowed faculty positions, programs), research projects and capital improvements across CU’s campuses.

Benson has guided efforts to 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 oversees a system with four campuses (Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora) where some 67,500 students pursue courses for credit. During his tenure, CU’s four campuses have seen record enrollment. The university’s annual budget is $3.82 billion.

Before becoming CU’s president, Benson had already made his mark in business, politics, philanthropy, education and civic endeavors. He founded Benson Mineral Group in 1965, a year after earning 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.


August 9, 2016