Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Convocation address ushers in University’s 145th year

In his Sept. 26 Convocation address, Chancellor Robert Coombe reflected on the successes of the past year and looked forward, sharing his vision for graduate studies and scholarship at the University.

“The year we just completed was in many ways the best in our history,” he said, highlighting fundraising, athletics and the University’s strong enrollment.

He reassured faculty and staff in attendance that “we are far better prepared to weather an economic storm than in times past. Good long-term planning, healthy reserves and a far broader national and international reach should hold us in good stead.”

Coombe also praised the faculty and staff of the academic units — particularly the Korbel School of International Studies, the Morgridge College of Education, the Graduate School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Professional Psychology — for their “hard work to continuously raise the bar on the absolute quality of the academic enterprise at this University.”

“It is the quality of your work that is the real attraction, the magnet for those thousands and thousands of undergraduate applicants, the reason that the academic capabilities of our students have been growing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “Your work is the reason for our national and international reach, for our growth in stature. And it is without question the focus of our future.”

That future should include more attention on the University’s graduate programs, Coombe said, noting that more than half of DU’s students are enrolled in graduate studies. “It’s high time that we devote at least an equal amount of attention and resources to them, and to the faculty scholarship, research and creative work on which they rely,” he said.

“You, our faculty and staff, have done a superb job in developing our undergraduate programs, and we will continue to work hard on them. But if we are to become a truly great university, we must also solve the other half of the puzzle,” he concluded. “I hope that you will join with me as we move our energies, creativity and resources to do so.”

After the Chancellor’s address, six faculty members and four staff members were presented with awards.

The University’s highest honor, John Evans Professor, went to Korbel School Professor Barry Hughes. Biology Associate Professor Susan Sadler received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Korbel Professor Micheline Ishay received the Distinguished Scholar Award and Psychology Professor Daniel McIntosh was the United Methodist Church, University Scholar/Teacher of the Year award winner. Michelle Meyers, an adjunct professor in the Daniels College of Business management department, was presented the Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award. Professor Jack Donnelly of the Korbel School was awarded University Lecturer.

In addition, the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) recognized Meg Steitz, director of marketing and communications in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, with a Crimson and Gold Award. Donna Kolosky, executive assistant in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, received SAC’s Outstanding Service Award, and Karl French, staff assistant in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, received the Outstanding Staff Advisory Council Member Award. Facilities Management was recognized with the Quality Department Award.

Watch a video or read the entire speech.

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