Mines Today: Reunion Lunch with the President
Friday, April 27, 2012
It is my pleasure to welcome you all back to Golden. I hope that you are getting the chance to
reconnect with classmates and reminisce a bit about the good old days you spent together at
Mines. I’d especially like to recognize those of you who are here for your 50th reunion. As I’ll bet
you have noticed, things are quite different now than when you graduated in 1962. Each
generation of Mines students is inspired by the legacy of those graduates who came before
them, and all that each of you has achieved over the past five decades has bolstered our
students’ ambition and strengthened Mines’ reputation for success.
Since you were students here, things certainly have changed. As I take you all back 50 years,
you’l be happy to know that we have left out a few of the more vivid details – just in order to
protect the innocent!
• In 1962, the population of the U.S. is 187 million, and the world population is less than ½
of what it is today, at 3.2 billion. The average income in this country is just over $5,500 a
year. A loaf of bread costs 20 cents; a dozen eggs sells for 54 cents, and a gallon of milk
will cost you 49 cents. And a first class stamp is 4 cents.
• If you are heading to the movies, a ticket will set you back about 50 cents, and the gas to
get you there wil run you 31 cents per gal on. At the drive-in, you might see The
Birdman of Alcatraz, To Kill a Mockingbird or The Manchurian Candidate. The first James
Bond film, Dr. No, is released this year as well.
• In 1962, the world loses Marilyn Monroe at age 36, and Eleanor Roosevelt passes away
at age 78.
• TV shows making their debut include The Beverly Hillbillies, The Jetsons and The Lucy
Show. And Johnny Carson begins his 30-year run as host of The Tonight Show this year.
• 1962 is a big year for music and dance, with Tony Bennett’s I Left My Heart in San
Francisco winning record of the year, and the first Beatles single – Love Me Do –
released. Other hits this year include Hey, Baby by Bruce Channel [shu-NELL], and Elvis’s
Good Luck Charm. The Four Seasons top charts with both Sherry and Big Girls Don’t Cry.
The biggest dance craze of the year is Chubby Checker’s The Twist.
• In sports, the New York Yankees beat the San Francisco Giants 4 to 3 to win the World
Series. The Toronto Maple Leaves win the Stanley Cup by overcoming the Chicago Black
Hawks. Nearly 65,000 fans endure freezing temperatures at Yankee Stadium to watch
the Green Bay Packers take the NFL Championship title from the New York Giants, 16 to
• The first K-Mart store opens this year in Garden City, Michigan, and Sam Walton opens
his first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas. Polaroid introduces color film. Telstar relays
the first, live trans-Atlantic television signal. And Albert Sabin’s [SAY-bin’s] life-saving
oral polio vaccine is licensed.
• John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth this year, during the
Friendship 7 mission.
• 1962 also marks the continuation of the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. In
January, the U.S. begins Operation Chopper, our first combat mission against the
Vietcong. Later this year the U.S. blockades Cuba until Khrushchev agrees to dismantle
Soviet silos stationed there.
On campus, the year is also eventful:
• The Orediggers defeat the Colorado State College Bears, 13 to 6, to win the
Homecoming football game. And we beat Colorado College, 10 to 7, as well.
• The soccer team fares well in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Soccer League, and the
swimming team captures the RMAC Championship.
• In yet another victory this year, Mines wins the Rocky Mountain Faculty Athletic
Conference basketball championship – taking the win on the 50th anniversary of Mines’
previous basketball championship victory in 1912.
• And Mines’ wrestling team achieves the highest level attained in the national NCAA
meet this year, finishing in a tie for 20th place among 62 competing schools.
In many ways, your experiences at Mines were quite different than today. In 1962, Mines
enrol ed about 1,200 students. This year, we enrol ed more than 5,300. 50 years ago, there
were just a handful of women on campus. Today, 26 percent of our students are women – and
Mines is the proud home of the largest chapter of the Society of Women Engineers in the
country! This year, we welcomed all female graduates of Mines back to campus during Alumni
Weekend – a great opportunity for us to honor their unique experience and accomplishments.
Back in 1962, in-state tuition at Mines was $235 per year, and out-of-state was $750. This year,
in-state tuition was upwards of $12,500 and out-of-state was more than $27,000. But 50 years
ago an average starting salary for an engineering graduate was just over $6,000. As entry-level
engineers, our 2012 graduates will earn an average of more than $63,000 as a starting salary,
and $106,000 at mid-career – the highest of any public university in the country. You may have
noticed that the value of a Mines education is receiving lots of national recognition. For the last
two years running, Payscale ranked Mines as the top U.S. public university for starting salaries.
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranked us in its top 100 best values in public col eges this
year and Bloomberg Business Week again cal ed us “the biggest bargain” for education
investment of any university in the country. While the cost of a Mines education has gone up
significantly, there is broad recognition that the return on investment is stil outstanding!
Regardless of all that has changed, one commonality remains: Mines students are still among
the hardest-working you will find at any university. I can never resist the opportunity to “brag”
about them a bit, so here goes! Our athletics program has been enjoying remarkable success in
recent years. Just a few highlights…
• This winter, men’s basketbal finished the season with a 29-3 record, winning the
RMAC regular season and conference titles, and advancing to the 3rd round of the
NCAA Division II tournament. The team received a number 1 national ranking for the
first time in school history.
• The men’s cross country team has placed among the top 9 in the nation for 7 years
in a row.
• Women’s softball claimed their 2nd consecutive RMAC regular-season championship
and earned the right to host the conference tournament that began just yesterday.
• Women’s volleyball went to the NCAA tournament this season for the 3rd-straight
year and won the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament match with a 3-2 victory
• Mines football has posted a winning record in 10 of the past 11 seasons.
• In 2011, men’s soccer recorded its 8th straight winning season and played in the
RMAC Tournament for the 12th consecutive season.
• The women’s soccer team has made 4 consecutive trips to the NCAA
Tournament in its 7 seasons as a program, and advanced to the Elite 8 in 2 of the
last 3 seasons.
• And our golf team is the number 1 team in the latest NCAA Central Region
Not too shabby for an engineering school! In addition to our athletics program, Mines students
also excel through their involvement in professional associations and student groups. Some
For the past four years, our students have organized a leadership conference, drawing more
than 250 student participants and some outstanding speakers – this past year, Erik
Weihenmayer, the only blind man in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest, spoke at
the event. As he talked, the video was running behind him, and as the audience watched him
scale the mountain and cross over ice crevasses, you could have heard a pin drop in that room –
he had everyone’s attention.
The year before last we featured Bob Waterman, who was a graduate of the class of ’58 in
geophysics, and co-author of the book In Search of Excel ence with Tom Peters, one of the
classic management leadership books. And tomorrow night we will be awarding a Mines Medal
to Don Thorson, who has so graciously helped us with the funding to support this leadership
conference. And if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Senior Design Trade Fair or
graduate student research fair, I can guarantee you would be amazed at the quality of research
being undertaken by both our undergraduate and graduate students.
Of course Mines students are also busy working! U.S. News and World Report ranked Mines
2nd among all national universities in the percentage of bachelor’s degree recipients who have
worked as interns during the course of their education.
To continue to build on this positive momentum, we are pursuing an ambitious plan for Mines
developed around six core strategies:
• Enhance undergraduate education
• Grow our research programs
• Pursue key strategic enterprises
• Expand our academic infrastructure
• Become a true residential university
• Enable Mines’ future financial security
As I’m sure you know, state funding for higher education has been on a continuous decline, and
we are working diligently to build our resources for the future. Enrol ment growth and growth
in our research program are important to this strategy. Our research portfolio has grown in
recent years to nearly $50 million annually, and we are home to 45 research centers and
institutes. Our faculty are regularly called upon for their expertise, particularly in current
research “hot spots” like rare earth metals, hydrates, unconventional natural gas, and
renewable energy materials.
A critical component in our ability to provide the science and engineering expertise that the
world needs will be an ambitious fundraising campaign. Garnering private resources enables us
to attract the best and brightest students from around the world and to bring star faculty and
researchers to Mines. Our campaign will focus on fostering innovation in curriculum and
research, building on our core strengths, enriching the Mines experience, and furthering our
global reach through partnerships, outreach and service.
As we ready ourselves for a comprehensive campaign, we are conducting some exciting capital
projects on campus to support our goals. You have likely noticed some of the recent additions
and improvements taking shape:
• Maple Hal , our first new residence hal built in 3 decades, opened this fal to
house 290 students.
• Our recently completed plaza out front of this building creates a wel -traveled
pedestrian- and bike-friendly thoroughfare at the heart of campus.
• A new wel ness center is taking shape just southwest of where we sit, thanks to a
generous gift from 1956 alumnus Steve Mooney and his wife, Gayle.
• The modern addition to Brown Hal provides state-of-the-art teaching and
research space – and serves as a fitting home for Mines’ first college, the College
of Engineering and Computational Sciences.
• And when our new petroleum engineering facility, named for 1980 alumnus Tim
Marquez’s family, opens its doors later this year, our entire community wil
benefit from cutting-edge new space.
Up next for the Mines campus are:
• a football stadium and sports complex to house our footbal , track and other
outdoor sports programs – and to replace our 1920s-era stadium (the oldest
collegiate stadium still in use in Colorado),
• and a cornerstone academic facility that will showcase Mines’ expertise in core
strengths and interdisciplinary initiatives.
Today, perhaps more than ever, our way of life depends upon the work of skil ed scientists and
engineers. The Class of 2012 will be called upon to steward the world’s resources, harness new
energy sources, safeguard the environment, and invent the technologies that help shape life
around the world.We are proud to count you as partners in our forward progress and happy
that you have remained involved with the university. You are an important part of Mines’
legacy of excel ence. As you have put your expertise to work to make the world a better place,
you have demonstrated the power of a Mines education for transforming lives. Thank you!