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Mark Kennedy new CU President, affirmed in party line vote (formerly Bruce Benson retires)

manhattanbuf

Club Member
Club Member
I've stayed out of the Kennedy brouhaha.

I do recall a massive howl when Bruce Benson was named president. Things like "he knows zero about academics", "he is as conservative republican as anyone on the planet", "he's nothing but an old, white guy".

I'm no expert on Pres. Benson's tenure, but the little I know is that he was a tireless worker, did for nearly zero pay and I don't recall many political/partisan moves of great significance (as we were promised by those opposed to him). I've heard the fundraising under his leadership was outstanding.
Benson has always been a great fundraiser. Always.

Kennedy alienated his donor base in the old job.

They’re very different even if their politics are close.
 

Buffnik

Real name isn't Nik
Club Member
Junta Member
Benson has always been a great fundraiser. Always.

Kennedy alienated his donor base in the old job.

They’re very different even if their politics are close.
Really, their political party affiliation is the main thing they seem to have in common.

Benson did an admirable job of checking his politics at the door for the most part. What was left was a president who was respected by even political opponents and those who felt he lacked academic credibility.

I want to hear Kennedy's vision, because without that I don't see a lot for me to get excited about other than an assumption that he's a political animal who knows where his bread was buttered -- and it was the strongest supporters of CU athletics on the BoR who championed him.
 

DBT

Club Member
Club Member
Kennedy ain’t Benson, though.


I’m glad to see he’s outwardly supportive of athletics, though. That’s better than some Regents, who are openly hostile towards it.
I’d bet he’s inwardly supportive as well.
 

buffalo1

Club Member
Club Member
Benson did an admirable job of checking his politics at the door for the most part. What was left was a president who was respected by even political opponents and those who felt he lacked academic credibility.
Exactly, I have felt the same. But when Benson was hired, so many lampooned him and assured us that he would be a horrible University president unable to lead or be nonpartisan.
Unfortunately I haven't heard even a few from that crowd announce they were wrong and might make efforts to not cast aspersions based on politics alone.
 

dio

Admin
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Junta Member
Exactly, I have felt the same. But when Benson was hired, so many lampooned him and assured us that he would be a horrible University president unable to lead or be nonpartisan.
Unfortunately I haven't heard even a few from that crowd announce they were wrong and might make efforts to not cast aspersions based on politics alone.
Then you didn't read the thread at all?

Kennedy and Benson were not and are not the same at all. Benson did raise the ire of liberals for his political views, and some folks for his lack of advanced degrees - but no one at the time was concerned about his fundraising ability. The Regents at the time sold everyone on that, and the outrage was far, far less compared to Kennedy. Pretty much everyone - on this site at least - who was nervous about Benson has said IN THIS THREAD that they were pleased with the job he ended up doing.

As far as Kennedy? I think he was a **** hire, but it is too early to tell anything he is doing. Right now, he is just traveling around for outreach and marketing opportunities. He has done literally nothing (except create an expensive headcount for the same Chief of Staff that caused him problems at UND) as far as fundraising or campus wide initiatives yet. Everything that is happening right now are just photo-ops to try and sooth the raw nerves from his appointment.
 

Not Sure

Club Member
Club Member
I think people bring up Benson as an example of a guy who did well in spite of initial opposition. The argument being that we should give Kennedy that same leeway. I can buy that. I’m willing to put my preconceived notions about Kennedy aside and judge the job he’s doing. BUT, he has a short leash as far as I’m concerned. We don’t need a guy with a steep learning curve. We need a guy to build on what Benson did.
 

buffalo1

Club Member
Club Member
Then you didn't read the thread at all?

Kennedy and Benson were not and are not the same at all. Benson did raise the ire of liberals for his political views, and some folks for his lack of advanced degrees - but no one at the time was concerned about his fundraising ability. The Regents at the time sold everyone on that, and the outrage was far, far less compared to Kennedy. Pretty much everyone - on this site at least - who was nervous about Benson has said IN THIS THREAD that they were pleased with the job he ended up doing.

As far as Kennedy? I think he was a **** hire, but it is too early to tell anything he is doing. Right now, he is just traveling around for outreach and marketing opportunities. He has done literally nothing (except create an expensive headcount for the same Chief of Staff that caused him problems at UND) as far as fundraising or campus wide initiatives yet. Everything that is happening right now are just photo-ops to try and sooth the raw nerves from his appointment.
You are correct, I had not read up this thread. But when I refer to the many who protested the Benson hire, I'm NOT referring to the Allbuffs few. I'm referring to many in the Boulder/Denver area who have nothing to do with CU athletics and simply were upset that someone with the background of Benson be hired as CU president.
 

Clean Undies

Exploring the outernet
Club Member
Benson earned a CU degree, ran for Governor of Colorado, brought with him long-standing relationships with lawmakers at the state capital, and raised his family in the state. Even if you didn’t like his politics or his lack of an advanced degree, he at least had a longstanding resume as a successful Colorado businessman and local political figure.

Kennedy? Not so much. He is no Benson. He’s a Colorado outsider like Betsy Hoffman and Judith Albino.

It’s hard to imagine Kennedy surviving more than 5 years as CU chief, and it seems unlikely he will serve as long as Benson based on what he brings to the table.

Classic empty suit who blows with the North Dakota wind.
 

DrunkPanda

Well-Known Member
Saying that there was opposition to Benson as president and he turned out to be good, so the people that are opposed to Kennedy are unjustified in doing so is as shallow and meaningless a comparison as there is..... That's like saying Mac was a white guy and ended up being a great head coach, so we should have expected Hawkins to also end up being a great head coach, because he was also a white guy....

Most people that were opposed to Benson thought he was a good businessman, but were opposed to him as a president, because he had no experience in academia and they were nervous that he would run the school like a business. Which they correctly predicted, except the fact that he did that turned out to be a good thing. Most people that are opposed to Kennedy are opposed to him because he has ALREADY been a president of a university and failed miserably at it (in addition to actively holding political views that are directly opposed to and considered offensive by the majority of the population in boulder [as a businessman, you would expect Benson to not be influenced by his political views in his job. as an incompetent career politician/"academic" the same can't be said of Kennedy]), especially at the aspects of the job that people expected Benson to be good at, like managing the budget and fundraising. So what exactly do you think these 2 have in common?
 
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buffalo1

Club Member
Club Member
For the record, when I point out the great dismay from many at the time of hiring Benson (I cheered, he was a leader, hard worker, ran successful businesses and was fiscally responsible) I am NOT suggesting the same path for Kennedy. I hope Kennedy succeeds.
But I was merely trying to be a strong voice of credit for Benson after so many had predicted the worst at the time of his hire.
It worked out very well for the University.
Now here's to hoping the new guy doesn't screw things up.
 

Jalapeno

NFS Drift King
As I have posted earlier in this thread, the reason why Kennedy "alienated" his donor fanbase was that UND was undergoing a controversial nickname change from the Fighting Sioux to Fighting Hawks. The family whose name is on the hockey arena made sure that any changes would be difficult and expensive and the total donation was $100 million dollars so the family is ticked off. Just think what would happen with Oklahoma State if Boone T. Pickens was ticked off and you have the same idea of what has happened at North Dakota.

The nickname issue was why they had to go to the Big Sky Conference instead of the Summit League & MVFC along with their Dakota brothers (NDSU, USD, and SDSU). Once they fixed that issue, the Summit & MVFC extended out invitations. The Fighting Hawks are playing in the Summit this year and will join the MVFC next year.

Another source of frustration with UND stakeholders was that the STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA ORDERED those cuts to UND's academic departments. And even athletic teams such as the women's hockey team and the baseball team that existed since 1889 were cut. It doesn't matter if you were quite popular and could walk on water, there would be negative repercussions in cases like this such as angry donors.

Any president at UND or any college would have been met with those headwinds. The CU BOR did not hold that against Mark Kennedy and nor should AllBuffers.

Good Westword article: https://www.westword.com/news/why-so-many-people-hate-the-idea-of-mark-kennedy-as-next-cu-president-11308418

Wikipedia on UND nickname issue: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Dakota_Fighting_Sioux_controversy

It's time everyone on this board accounted for those issues that occurred under the previous UND president (related to athletics) and something that was ordered by the state government. Then re-process Mark Kennedy without those inheirted & forced issues. Isn't having to make difficult decisions as a leader a sign of a STRONG LEADER? I wonder if this means a round of cuts to the CU system is coming. A CU President has to have a business background due to the UCH system and campus in Aurora.

I don't care about the school itself...I just care about whether CU athletics will continue to be successful or not. The question is how much does the CU SYSTEM PRESIDENT have to do with the success of the CU athletic teams and wouldn't that be something that the CHANCELLOR has more of a say in? Given that the current CU chancellor is closing on retirement, that is something we should really focus on.
 

Buffnik

Real name isn't Nik
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Junta Member
Yeah. That one statement kind of spoiled an otherwise excellent post which was good food for thought.

The way I look at it is that CU is the flagship educational institution for the state of Colorado, a cultural and economic driver for the state, and particularly important to the Boulder community that I love. Athletics, especially football, is the front porch to the majority of observers. The house is more important than the front porch, but if you neglect that front porch it's very hard to get most people to have a positive general perception of the house.
 

Jalapeno

NFS Drift King
I don't even care about the college I graduated from either. You basically went there to get an education and that's it. Even my alma mater had some real controversies to hiring the school president...NEWS FLASH: CU isn't the only school in the freaking United States to have controversial president hires. My alma mater has turned out to do just fine and even is rated by the Carnegie Foundation as either a HRU or VHRU school despite being a D3 school.

Given that this thread is 30 pages long, I'd say people have spent way too much time & energy into the hiring of a president for their alma mater.
 

Buffnik

Real name isn't Nik
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Junta Member
I don't even care about the college I graduated from either. You basically went there to get an education and that's it. Even my alma mater had some real controversies to hiring the school president...NEWS FLASH: CU isn't the only school in the freaking United States to have controversial president hires. My alma mater has turned out to do just fine and even is rated by the Carnegie Foundation as either a HRU or VHRU school despite being a D3 school.

Given that this thread is 30 pages long, I'd say people have spent way too much time & energy into the hiring of a president for their alma mater.
Why are you posting about something you don’t care about?
 

Jalapeno

NFS Drift King
The way I look at it is that CU is the flagship educational institution for the state of Colorado, a cultural and economic driver for the state, and particularly important to the Boulder community that I love. Athletics, especially football, is the front porch to the majority of observers. The house is more important than the front porch, but if you neglect that front porch it's very hard to get most people to have a positive general perception of the house.
Yes you neglect the front porch and you are asking for trouble from the alumni. What I am trying to point out was that those things probably weren't the fault of Mark Kennedy but he made some notable gaffes according to his Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Kennedy_(politician)

1. Ripped North Dakotans for being racist after people complained about his chief of staff who was an African American female who worked remotely from Texas.
2. He declined an offer from the original designer of the Fighting Sioux logo to create a new logo for the school. I think that is debatable but I don't think we have to worry about the CU Ralphie logo at this point.
3. The Elgstrad family said in 2019 that they would stop donating to UND due to MK's staffing choices...that might have forced MK's hand to leaving UND.

Mark Kennedy will not have to worry about a mega donor such as the Elgstrad family holding the school hostage at CU unless I'm unaware of people who could be like that. And I don't think he will be in charge of making the decision to CU's logos either.
 

Jalapeno

NFS Drift King
Why are you posting about something you don’t care about?
Because I can and to also illustrate the fact that not all CU fans are alumni of the school. Mike Bohn & Rick George has talked about courting non-alumni such as myself as further growth of the CU fanbase.

Lost me here.
Not every CU fan is an alumni of the school and the number of non-alumni fans are probably growing faster than alumni fans for any school.
 

Not Sure

Club Member
Club Member
CU has plenty of big donors. Maybe not one, single sugar daddy type, but he damn well better know how to handle donors or his stint at CU will be very, very short.
 

Not Sure

Club Member
Club Member
Because I can and to also illustrate the fact that not all CU fans are alumni of the school. Mike Bohn & Rick George has talked about courting non-alumni such as myself as further growth of the CU fanbase.



Not every CU fan is an alumni of the school and the number of non-alumni fans are probably growing faster than alumni fans for any school.
Even non-alumni should still care about the school itself. Particularly if you’re a fan of the athletics teams. But beyond that, the economic vitality of the state is tied in many ways to the ability of the University to train and educate future leaders who will contribute to the future of the state.
 

Buffnik

Real name isn't Nik
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Junta Member
Because I can and to also illustrate the fact that not all CU fans are alumni of the school. Mike Bohn & Rick George has talked about courting non-alumni such as myself as further growth of the CU fanbase.
OK.

I'm also not an alum. Also, most donation dollars to CU (athletics and otherwise) are not coming from alums. Most season tickets are not bought by alums. Alums have a different and important connection to the school that is different from how non-alums relate, but I don't see how any of that relates to your recent posts. You did some good research, citing sources, and made some points in this thread that were valuable to the conversation. Within that, you made a strange comment about not caring about it. Then that morphed into some feelings you have about non-alums being undervalued.

I'm kind of at a loss on where you're coming from.
 

Jalapeno

NFS Drift King
OK.

I'm also not an alum. Also, most donation dollars to CU (athletics and otherwise) are not coming from alums. Most season tickets are not bought by alums. Alums have a different and important connection to the school that is different from how non-alums relate, but I don't see how any of that relates to your recent posts. You did some good research, citing sources, and made some points in this thread that were valuable to the conversation. Within that, you made a strange comment about not caring about it. Then that morphed into some feelings you have about non-alums being undervalued.

I'm kind of at a loss on where you're coming from.
You are correct about that since our tax dollars do help fund research at CU and a good chunk of it. Same thing for corporations who would benefit from research being done at CU.

As for my posts about not caring about the school, I talked about the school itself versus the athletic department and I believe most alumni would even say the same thing but the athletic teams end up being their connection to the school they graduated from. If my alma mater is doing well in football or other sports as tweeted, that still could make my day. The same happens for CU athletics as well. And as a non-alumni fan, I do not feel undervalued at all either so I don't know where the assumption came from you.

I don't think the CU system president or chancellor is really going to make a profound impact to the culture and the city of Boulder...not as much as state legislators would be able to. The only thing that could happen is CU does well after all or there will be another CU president search met by protests which seems to occur at many schools across the country...nothing new here.

Do I support MK as CU's system president? It doesn't matter to me except for anything that relates to the success of athletics. The state legislators already took care of a major stumbling block with those coaching contracts and that is going to help CU's athletic teams be more on an equal footing when it comes to competition. If he messes with the front porch, I will not be happy about it at all. At the same time, his tenure at UND really needs to be taken with a huge chunk of salt because of what he faced with things that were beyond his control. I would say this whole thread could have been very unfair to MK because people kept sticking to those talking points without bothering to do research on those points like college graduates should have been able to do and also look at both sides of the issue. For example with the funding for Hispanic students, would a Congressman from a region in Minnesota that probably was mostly white with a few Hispanics really understand the need for such a thing like that? Maybe not and that could be used against him for good reason but at the same time the people making such accusations need to learn or actually put themselves in the shoes of said person. Will MK make that same decision when it comes to Hispanic students in this part of the country? I'd say most likely not because Hispanics & Latinos would represent a large pool for CU to draw future students from. So does MK's Congressional voting record really show what decisions he would be making for CU as opposed to UND? Think about that.

The sad thing is that with today's society, the art of looking at the issue from both sides of the topic is becoming a lost art.
 

dio

Admin
Club Member
Junta Member
You are correct about that since our tax dollars do help fund research at CU and a good chunk of it. Same thing for corporations who would benefit from research being done at CU.

As for my posts about not caring about the school, I talked about the school itself versus the athletic department and I believe most alumni would even say the same thing but the athletic teams end up being their connection to the school they graduated from. If my alma mater is doing well in football or other sports as tweeted, that still could make my day. The same happens for CU athletics as well. And as a non-alumni fan, I do not feel undervalued at all either so I don't know where the assumption came from you.

I don't think the CU system president or chancellor is really going to make a profound impact to the culture and the city of Boulder...not as much as state legislators would be able to. The only thing that could happen is CU does well after all or there will be another CU president search met by protests which seems to occur at many schools across the country...nothing new here.

Do I support MK as CU's system president? It doesn't matter to me except for anything that relates to the success of athletics. The state legislators already took care of a major stumbling block with those coaching contracts and that is going to help CU's athletic teams be more on an equal footing when it comes to competition. If he messes with the front porch, I will not be happy about it at all. At the same time, his tenure at UND really needs to be taken with a huge chunk of salt because of what he faced with things that were beyond his control. I would say this whole thread could have been very unfair to MK because people kept sticking to those talking points without bothering to do research on those points like college graduates should have been able to do and also look at both sides of the issue. For example with the funding for Hispanic students, would a Congressman from a region in Minnesota that probably was mostly white with a few Hispanics really understand the need for such a thing like that? Maybe not and that could be used against him for good reason but at the same time the people making such accusations need to learn or actually put themselves in the shoes of said person. Will MK make that same decision when it comes to Hispanic students in this part of the country? I'd say most likely not because Hispanics & Latinos would represent a large pool for CU to draw future students from. So does MK's Congressional voting record really show what decisions he would be making for CU as opposed to UND? Think about that.

The sad thing is that with today's society, the art of looking at the issue from both sides of the topic is becoming a lost art.
You are acting like the people reading this thread haven't thought and discussed everything you've posted. You're 3 months late to the party my man. Everyone here has moved into the 'wait and see' mode.
 

ahoelsken

Well-Known Member
You are correct about that since our tax dollars do help fund research at CU and a good chunk of it. Same thing for corporations who would benefit from research being done at CU.

As for my posts about not caring about the school, I talked about the school itself versus the athletic department and I believe most alumni would even say the same thing but the athletic teams end up being their connection to the school they graduated from. If my alma mater is doing well in football or other sports as tweeted, that still could make my day. The same happens for CU athletics as well. And as a non-alumni fan, I do not feel undervalued at all either so I don't know where the assumption came from you.

I don't think the CU system president or chancellor is really going to make a profound impact to the culture and the city of Boulder...not as much as state legislators would be able to. The only thing that could happen is CU does well after all or there will be another CU president search met by protests which seems to occur at many schools across the country...nothing new here.

Do I support MK as CU's system president? It doesn't matter to me except for anything that relates to the success of athletics. The state legislators already took care of a major stumbling block with those coaching contracts and that is going to help CU's athletic teams be more on an equal footing when it comes to competition. If he messes with the front porch, I will not be happy about it at all. At the same time, his tenure at UND really needs to be taken with a huge chunk of salt because of what he faced with things that were beyond his control. I would say this whole thread could have been very unfair to MK because people kept sticking to those talking points without bothering to do research on those points like college graduates should have been able to do and also look at both sides of the issue. For example with the funding for Hispanic students, would a Congressman from a region in Minnesota that probably was mostly white with a few Hispanics really understand the need for such a thing like that? Maybe not and that could be used against him for good reason but at the same time the people making such accusations need to learn or actually put themselves in the shoes of said person. Will MK make that same decision when it comes to Hispanic students in this part of the country? I'd say most likely not because Hispanics & Latinos would represent a large pool for CU to draw future students from. So does MK's Congressional voting record really show what decisions he would be making for CU as opposed to UND? Think about that.

The sad thing is that with today's society, the art of looking at the issue from both sides of the topic is becoming a lost art.
Team Sport politics gone wild. I don't give a rat's ass about his voting record in Congress, and I think its about as relevant as Benson's oil industry connections, his climate change denials, or his decrying of the passage of Amendment 64. Some of the controversies (from the little I know about them) seemed like they were out of his control. Let's give MK a shot and see what he does here. Just out of curiousity-how long was the contract Benson got when he took over in 2008?
 

MiamiBuffs

Wᴉɐɯᴉ qnɟɟs
Club Member
Yeah. That one statement kind of spoiled an otherwise excellent post which was good food for thought.

The way I look at it is that CU is the flagship educational institution for the state of Colorado, a cultural and economic driver for the state, and particularly important to the Boulder community that I love. Athletics, especially football, is the front porch to the majority of observers. The house is more important than the front porch, but if you neglect that front porch it's very hard to get most people to have a positive general perception of the house.
Im far prouder of the Nobel Prizes, MacArthur Geniuses, Rhodes Scholars, and Astronauts above all (especially that Avery piss).
 

FLounder

The Buffs will rise again!
Club Member
Yes you neglect the front porch and you are asking for trouble from the alumni. What I am trying to point out was that those things probably weren't the fault of Mark Kennedy but he made some notable gaffes according to his Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Kennedy_(politician)

1. Ripped North Dakotans for being racist after people complained about his chief of staff who was an African American female who worked remotely from Texas.
2. He declined an offer from the original designer of the Fighting Sioux logo to create a new logo for the school. I think that is debatable but I don't think we have to worry about the CU Ralphie logo at this point.
3. The Elgstrad family said in 2019 that they would stop donating to UND due to MK's staffing choices...that might have forced MK's hand to leaving UND.

Mark Kennedy will not have to worry about a mega donor such as the Elgstrad family holding the school hostage at CU unless I'm unaware of people who could be like that. And I don't think he will be in charge of making the decision to CU's logos either.
That family is Englestad, not elgstrad.
 

Mick Ronson

Well-Known Member
i worked at CU for a decade, was an instructor and have a grad degree from.....i haven't really followed this much. I saw a lot of dumb stuff and a lot of great stuff at CU. Benson was a different cat than i think most university people were used to but it's a different world than hiking up to Chautauqua in your twill wool suit. quoting Cicero like George Norlin did.

DiStephano is reviled at allbuffs but people working at the university think highly of the guy. i have no view on Phil, really.

Kennedy seems like a mediocre hire at best and i would have hoped for something more or different.. but, i will give him a chance.

world is full of surprises. i will not say you can trust the administration at CU to have done a good hire......a bunch of people driving saabs and taking friday ski days. admins are usually mediocre politicians with the TV hair and tend to hire people like themselves. a club.

i never understood how CU can have so much out-of-state tuition and always be broke. CU has way more OOS income than, say, U North Carolina where my sister works or U Iowa.....and they seem to do public education a lot better. UNC has only 15% out of state students as a mandate.....CU is almost 50% OOS and private school expensive.

i went to Colorado College in the early 90's and it was about the same price as CU out of state. like i say, i went to grad school....worked at CU for a 10 years....i never got a sense where that money goes.

i do think CU has had a president crisis for a long time. which i also don't get......based on experience, i think you have a lot of competing fiefdoms at the institution in a way that is unhealthy. and those people are tasked to find a "leader"....so they choose someone who isn't, really. or can be thrown off the bus down the road. or someone who is thereby in fealty.
 
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