‘A Toast to Marcy and Bruce’: CU Denver Leaders Gather for Benson Terrace Dedication

June 14, 2022

As the former President and First Lady of the CU System, Bruce and Marcy Benson have always had a special connection with CU Denver students. The couple is known for their “can-do attitude” and for always being ready to roll up their sleeves—the same type of determination and resilience they see reflected in the Lynx community. 

It’s only fitting that the spirit of their leadership should be woven into the fabric of CU Denver’s campus. And on June 8, 2022, their legacy was enshrined with the official dedication of the Benson Terrace, a space at the heart of campus designed to foster community and Lynx pride. 

“Today I’m thrilled we can come together here to honor Marcy and Bruce’s tremendous legacy,” Chancellor Michelle Marks reflected. “It’s no exaggeration to say that Marcy and Bruce truly defined an era for the University of Colorado, an era of unprecedented advancement that helped each of the campuses thrive.”

The dedication event reunited the Bensons with Chancellor Marks, former Chancellor Dorothy Horrell, and other university leaders and distinguished guests—including Dan Ostermiller, the renowned sculptor behind the stately bronze Lynx that greets visitors as they enter the terrace.

The Heart and Soul of CU Denver’s Campus

The Benson Terrace is a focal point on campus, nestled between the Student Commons, the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center, and City Heights Residence Hall and Learning Commons—spaces that play a central role in the CU Denver student journey.

“Here, in the heart of our campus, there is also an incredible amount of soul,” said Marks. She guided attendees through a tour of the Benson Terrace’s community spaces—“where our students can come together to socialize, to study, to reflect, and to celebrate”—as well as the new art installations unveiled over the past year: Ostermiller’s Lynx statue and two massive murals painted by Thomas “Detour” Evans ’08, MBA ’12.

Chancellor Marks also gave a peak behind the scenes into how Ostermiller came to be selected as the sculptor for this important community art piece. “I want to note that Marcy and Bruce’s daughter, Ann, served on our artist selection committee to help ensure we could attract a sculptor of Dan’s caliber,” she said. “So a huge thanks to Ann for her support.”

An Impact Rooted in Partnership

Bruce Benson was one of the longest-serving and most impactful presidents in CU’s history, whose success was in no small part driven by a loving and collaborative partnership with his wife Marcy. They cared deeply about CU students and treasured their relationships with the faculty and staff who shared their dedication to student success.

The Bensons are remembered for their commitment to centering student voices—for example, partnering with the CU Denver students who led a grassroots effort to fund and build the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center. The Bensons were also instrumental in securing the Salazars’ generous support to expand and sustain this student-led initiative, one of countless examples of the Bensons’ unparalleled skill in raising support and funds for CU students.

A Former Leader’s Vision Realized

In addition to the Bensons, a very special thank-you was reserved for CU Denver’s former Chancellor Dorothy Horrell. “Credit for tonight really goes to Dorothy,” Marks shared. “We have Bruce to thank for bringing Dorothy to CU Denver, and we have Dorothy to thank for bringing us all here today.” 

“During her tenure, Dorothy not only steadied the ship, but she also ensured that our campus stayed true to CU’s larger strategic goals,” Marks reflected. “Her dedication also led her to recognize the potential of this wonderful part of our campus and the idea to name it in honor of Marcy and Bruce.”

Horrell envisioned a space that would sit at the center of CU Denver’s student experience: from their first visits as prospective Lynx, to their homecoming tours as alumni. And she knew that, if any name represented a commitment to student experience at CU, it was the Benson’s. 

“I Just Can’t Say Enough About the Students Here”

Both Marcy and Bruce offered words of gratitude to those gathered at the dedication ceremony. “Dorothy, thank you for having the idea to honor us with this wonderful space,” said Marcy. “And thank you, Michelle. We’re delighted to have you here as chancellor now.”

Bruce took the opportunity to bring the focus back to students: “I just can’t say enough about the students here. They’ve done so much to set the stage for these important changes on campus.” And as a reminder of their loving partnership, the couple closed their remarks with a few words for each other. “Thank you, Marcy,” Bruce said. “Thank you, honey,” she replied.

Chancellor Marks capped off the Benson Terrace dedication by asking attendees to raise their glasses of champagne. “A toast to Marcy and Bruce for the legacy they’ve built—cheers!”