Bruce Benson to step down as CU president

Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado. (CU)

Bruce Benson, a businessman and politician who has led the University of Colorado for a decade, will retire next year, the university announced Wednesday.

Benson, who turned 80 this month, has led CU through a decade of change that included getting the school system back on its feet after the 2008 financial collapse sent its budget teetering. The longtime head of the state’s Republican party and 1964 CU graduate used his business background to firm up the university systems finances.

In a letter to alumni, Benson talked about how his college experiences kept him motivated on the job.

> RELATED: TEXT: Bruce Benson announces his exit as CU president

“After a decade on the job, I believe even more strongly in what my CU experience taught me – this place changes and improves lives,” Benson wrote. ” It certainly changed mine, providing the foundation for a successful career and fulfilling life. There are tens of thousands of stories like mine, and a big part of my job is ensuring that everyone who attends CU has the same opportunities I did to take advantage of education as a ticket to a better life.”

> VIDEO: Watch a Storytellers profile of Bruce Benson by 9News.

CU touted Benson’s accomplishments in a new release announcing his retirement, which is set for next July. Benson’s tenure included a 10 percent enrollment growth at CU campuses and a doubling of its annual budget from $2.2 billion to $4.5 billion.

“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 in a statement. “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.

Check back shortly for more on this developing story.

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