CU, CSU alumni impact Colorado economy

Talking about rivalry on the field between CU and CSU is fun and tradition. In reality though, both schools have a major impact on the function and future of the state of Colorado.

DENVER - While it's part fun and part tradition for Colorado State University and the University of Colorado to compete on the football field, both universities play integral parts in the function and economy of our state.

"Companies know that when they hire a CSU graduate, they're not just getting a quality employee, they're also gaining a leader, too," Doug Wilson said.

Wilson graduated from CSU and now works as a project field manager for the Icon Venue Group. His current project is overseeing the construction of the new stadium on campus in Fort Collins.

"I make sure we maintain quality, maintain schedule, maintain production," Wilson said.

Peter Evans is a sales engineer at SendGrid, a company that provides businesses with an email delivery platform. He graduated from the University of Colorado.

"The University instilled in me qualities like discipline, persistence, working in a team environment, but more importantly, the ability to learn new material," Evans said.

Wilson and Evans represent the types of impacts CU and CSU alumni have on the economy and infrastructure of Colorado.

"We graduate probably in the order of 6,000 students," Mary Kraus said.

Kraus is the vice provost for undergraduate education at CU in Boulder. She says more than 120,000 CU alumni like Evans live in Colorado right now working in key industries for the state.

"It's healthcare. It's education. It's obviously computers and IT," Kraus said. "But, the other thing is, I hope that we're producing graduates who are going to be good citizens."

Evans says CU and Boulder carry a certain quality.

"CU definitely has that great undercurrent of culture," Evans said. 

Kraus says the University of Colorado also attracts a lot students from out of state who ending staying in the state.

"It's an economic driver," Kraus said.

Wilson like the vast majority of students at Colorado State is from within Colorado and from the metro area.

"Colorado State is only 60 minutes from downtown," Wilson said.

Amy Parsons is the executive vice chancellor for Colorado State University. She says as a land-grant university, CSU has a responsibility to Colorado.

"It's part of our mission to take what we do and bring it out to the people where they are," Parsons said.

She says 9 out of every 10 students have a job or graduate school lined up upon graduation from CSU.

"Another really important way that Colorado State University contributes to the economy is we're a very large employer," Parsons said. "We're a driving force when other companies are looking at where to start their company or where to move their headquarters."

Though, they are all professionals. Evans says Buffs and Rams can still butt heads years removed from school.

"Something happens, right at the beginning, where you just, there's a pause," Evans said. "How do I proceed? How do they feel?"

Wilson says it's especially tense around the Rocky Mountain Showdown when both football teams face off for their annual game.

"There's one day of the year we don't get along," Wilson said. "I'm actually married to a CU Buff."

But, despite the friendly rivalry, the two schools actually make the most impact on the state together.

"I really truly believe that CSU and CU make each other stronger," Parsons said.

Parsons says the universities work together on major research projects bringing in more than a billion dollars every year to the state.

"The economic impact to Colorado combined of the research systems is incredible and it's a really critical component of the entire economy and the state of Colorado," Parsons said.

Kraus says both universities work together to make sure the state has a well-informed and well-educated workforce.

"So, it has a major impact on the state in terms of people who live here and also people who are employed here," Kraus said.

Two different schools that are not actually not too different in terms of impact.

A few years ago economists released a report which showed that CU and CSU brought in a total of $10.5 billion every year into the state economy from wages to construction to research projects. 

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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