Aaron's Special 50-Year History With CU
My relationship with the University of Colorado began 50 years ago when I was mentored by CU Provost Larry Silverman, who became the first Chancellor of the brand new University of Colorado – Colorado Springs in 1971. A world-renowned scholar, Larry was my best friend’s father and taught me by example and great humor.
While at Fairview High School, I first learned programming at the CU Computing Center at 3845 Marine in Boulder. The building still is there and actually looks exactly the same. Today most people look at me quizzically when I tell them about computer punch cards (think Florida’s “hanging chads” in 2000).
While in high school, I also had the privilege of using the extraordinary resources of Norlin Library to do research and explore. And when I was in college and spent the summer working on Dick Lamm’s gubernatorial campaign, it was Norlin Library which provided the resources I needed to instantly become an expert in public opinion research so I could create a statewide polling operation for him.
At the end of high school, I was honored to be selected to give the valedictory speech at CU’s Macky Auditorium when I represented my graduating class at Fairviewof 552 seniors in front of students, parents, other relatives, the Boulder Valley Board of Education, and many others. I posited that the Board had failed because 50% of my classmates who matriculated at college would drop out. They didn’t like hearing that. LOL
Later, after graduation from college and starting a software company in Boulder, I served under the leadership of Walt Koelbel and Tom Moon (two other mentors) as the youngest member of the Macky Auditorium Campaign Cabinet in 1986, when we raised millions of dollars to renovate Macky. I was excited to be part of that exciting transformation and gift to the community.
I was asked by CU Dance Professor Nancy Spanier to serve as the first Chairman & President of what became the internationally acclaimed artistic group, the Nancy Spanier Dance Theatre of Colorado. It was one of my many contributions to volunteering for the arts.
In 1982, one of my first high technology businesses involved a partnership with a department within the CU Medical School in Denver. This gave me insight, over 35 years ago, into what CU did to train medical professionals and perform vital research in its efforts to help so many people. It also taught me how mutually beneficial a “win/win” partnership could be.
In my Media work, I helped raise funds through a nonprofit foundation which included making a contribution to the CU Geology Department. And, when I was in the movie business, we often worked with the Film Department by previewing some of our productions for students and faculty. Their candid reviews convinced me I should not be in that business. To validate how bad I was in this industry, the DISCOVERY Channel actually paid me six figures to not make a movie!
I also served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, whose performances have been in Macky Auditorium for decades and whose leaders and musicians were dominated by CU’s Music Department. It was another great CU connection I had for many years.
More recently, I was on the Board of Directors of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra and guided them to their first performance ever at CU, which included many performers associated with the University. Their leadership, too, includes members of the CU faculty.
For what seems to be countless number of years, I have enjoyed being involved with the Bolder Boulder (including promoting it) and have participated in Race and Memorial Day events at Folsom Stadium (where the Race ends and the festivities begin) as well as producedtelevision shows there, including one program on running and health with Dr. Oz. It was recorded right after Dr. Oz beat me by just 6 minutes in that 10K race — one of Boulder and CU’s annual signature events. His victory proved what an advantage having a good night’s sleep could provide. You can see the show at HarberTV.com/Oz.
One of my most significant projects related to CU was the production of our special television program about the Anschutz Campus (HarberTV.com/Anschutz). It was created almost a decade ago to inform Coloradans and people across the country that an extraordinary resource — about which they probably had never heard — was available to them.I felt too many people simply did not know about the existence of the Campus and what it had to offer those in need. Our goal was to help save lives by educating people about some of the opportunities for help they had at that amazing campus.
During the 2016 Presidential Election cycle, at the invitation of CU Student Government, on campus at the University Memorial Center, I served as the Moderator of a very energetic panel debate of political experts for students, faculty and staff members, and others from the community, prior to and the Presidential Debate being held next door on campus.
Throughout the years, numerous CU students from the Boulder and Denver campuses have had great experiences serving as interns for my nonpartisan public affairs television program. Many of them have gone on to great careers and have told me how valuable their experiences with our show were.
And the exceptional Producer of my program, who has been with me for eight years, started as an intern while getting her degree in Journalism at CU Boulder. She quickly joined the team full-time after demonstrating the media-related skills she had acquired while in college.
Of course, my most recent and perhaps most significant experience as part of the CU family has been that of a parent. My daughter is in her Junior year and has something to tell me every day about her experiences at school. In fact, it has been her experiences (many of which were less than ideal) which were one of the tipping points which convinced me to run for the position of Regent.
While there is much more I can tell you about my 50-year relationship with CU, I hope this gives you a sense of why I feel so strongly about this great institution and the potential it has to do far more for students, faculty, and staff as well asfor members of communities across the entire State of Colorado.
I hope you will join me in this endeavor to make a difference.