Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU launches public phase of capital campaign

Chancellor addressed crowd at Convocation

Instead of delivering a typical state-of-the-university Convocation address, Chancellor Robert Coombe announced a capital campaign at Convocation Oct. 26. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

During Convocation remarks to more than 650 faculty and staff members today, University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe publicly announced a multi-year campaign to position the University for the 21st century.

Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver will culminate in 2014 when the University celebrates its sesquicentennial.

“Today, I’m announcing the public phase of our campaign,” Coombe said. “We will focus on additional financial aid for undergraduate and graduate students; support for faculty chairs and professorships as well as research and scholarship; the visual and performing arts; and important improvements and additions to our facilities.”

The campaign has been in a quiet phase for four years, raising more than $250 million to date. Of that, Coombe said $100 million is providing direct support to students and faculty.

Coombe noted that the new class of first-year undergraduate students is the best in DU history in terms of academic credentials, which include GPA, test scores, class rank and the number of Boettcher Scholars. The class also is DU’s most diverse; more than 19 percent are students of color, more than 16 percent are receiving Pell Grants, and more than 7 percent are international students. Also, more than 60 percent of the class comes from outside of Colorado.

Although the campaign’s emphasis is on raising funds to support DU’s “human infrastructure,” according to the Ascend website, the initiative also will fund a “desperately needed new building” to house the School of Engineering and Computer Science, which has a projected price tag of $55 million, most of which has yet to be raised.

Also planned is a transformation of Penrose Library into an “academic commons.”

“The renovation will change the building’s functionality from book storage space to technology-rich people space,” Coombe said. The University has raised $25 million of the $30 million needed for the project.

“I believe all of this is possible. We can be that great private university dedicated to the public good. We can be that university that has a lasting and powerful impact on the human condition. We can ascend to that higher place together,” Coombe said.

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