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President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog

2015 Big Idea Winners!

The Big Idea 2015

Persistence and perseverance is the name of the game for this year’s Big Idea winners, teams that have participated in the program before.

We talk about this program as a way to support innovative thinking and help CC students put the liberal arts into action.

Congratulations to this year’s top teams:

Kadi Energy, a group that impressed the audience last year but was not awarded, came away with the top prize of $25,000 for their business plan to bring low cost and high quality solar chargers to Ghana, home of company founder, Paul-Miki Akpablie ’16. Their plan combined excellent technology with local knowledge and innovative distribution channels.  Congratulations to the Kadi team: Paul-Miki, Usaama Alnaji ’15, alum Samantha Barlow ’13, Rachel Katzoff ’15 and Erica Hoffman ’16.

Frederik Lindseth ’15 and Jeremy Harlam ’15, with iDro, were awarded $15,000 for their hydroponic growing system, and Meredith Bird ’15 and Dan Lewis ’15 from Colorado Springs Food Rescue were awarded $10,000 for their food rescue app.

Watching iDro and our Food Rescue team develop and refine their ideas over the last two years should encourage our newcomers, app developers Bene and Friendlier, who also made it to the finals.

I look forward to watching the progress of all our Big Idea teams. Thanks also to our judges and the mentors who work alongside our students. Seeing all the participants in action puts a face on why we continue to “build on the block” here at Colorado College!

Nobel Laureate Lars Hansen on Campus

Last Thursday, University of Chicago Professor Lars Hansen was on campus to give the W. P. Carey Lecture.  Professor Hansen is an internationally known leader in economic dynamics who works at the boundary of economics and statistics. He received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and the 2010 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Economics, Finance, and Management. Professor Hansen talked on “The Consequences of Uncertainty.”

William P. Carey, businessman and philanthropist, was a real friend to Colorado College. The W.P. Carey Foundation (with the support of alumnus Jan Karst) established this lecture series, which brings a Nobel laureate in economic sciences to our campus each year. The WP Carey lecture series has brought 15 of the greatest scholars in the field of economics to CC. In 2002, CC’s own Nobel Laureate James Heckman gave the Carey Lecture and, last year, we heard from the 1989 Laureate Amartya Sen.

Thanks to Professor of Political Science Tim Fuller for his wonderful work in organizing the W.P. Carey Lecture!

Lars Peter Hansen


On Saturday, Colorado College hosted the annual Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum. Students from the US Air Force Academy, the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, and CC shared their work through presentations and poster sessions. CC Professor of History Anne Hyde gave a wonderful keynote on her own research journey. Thanks to CC professors Esteban Gomez (Anthropology) and Amy Dounay (Chemistry) for their work in organizing this collaboration!

Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum

Remembering Dr. King

Today, April 4, is the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. I thank Dr. Paul Buckley, AVP and the Director of CC’s Butler Center, for sharing this essay by Scott Newstok. As Paul indicated it “highlights the training of a soldier in the barracks of education, specifically the liberal arts.”

Lubchenco ’69 Wins Tyler Prize

Why are CC science grads so successful? One reason is their ability to communicate difficult scientific concepts in compelling and accessible ways.  It is that gift for helping others understand and act upon complex and high stakes climate science that brought Jane Lubchenco  ’69 to yet another global stage.

Professor Lubchenco, an internationally renowned ocean expert, has won the 2015 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievementone of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards.  Lubchenco shares the 2015 award with Madhav Gadgil, a forestry and environmental leader at India’s Goa University.

I am pleased to share news of Jane’s accomplishments, as her story is reflective of what so many CC grads do, in so many settings.  In the sciences, our graduates lead and contribute to national agencies and top colleges and universities. In fact, we have a few of our graduates teaching here – not surprising given that liberal arts colleges produce PhD candidates at the highest rates in the U.S. in all fields including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

The liberal arts — taught in intimate and interactive classes, by exceptional faculty as teachers, scholars, and mentors — provide context, elicit critical and constructive thinking, and require the ability to write and speak compellingly.  These are the ingredients for lives of impact, on any stage.