Campus & Community

Dan Ritchie urges DU community to reimagine its future

Dan Ritchie looked back on his days as DU chancellor during a “fireside chat” with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp at the Founders Day gala Thursday.

Dan Ritchie looked back on his days as DU chancellor during a “fireside chat” with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp at the Founders Day gala Thursday. Photo: Paul Docktor

As the University of Denver begins to imagine its near future via a strategic planning process named Imagine DU, Chancellor Emeritus Dan Ritchie stood on stage at this year’s Founders Day gala and looked back at another period of reinvention.

During a “fireside chat” with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp at the gala Thursday, Ritchie said, “As I look at my role as chancellor, I really felt that, as we say in theater, I was supporting cast. We had so many wonderful folks — so many heroes — who really did the job, and my role was to encourage, support and enable, and then get out of the way.”

As DU chancellor from 1989 to 2005, Ritchie — who received the Evans Award at Thursday’s gala — oversaw a $274 million fundraising campaign that spurred numerous capital improvements on campus, including new buildings for student living, business, science, law and music education, as well as a performing arts center and an athletics and recreation center.

Ritchie credited the help he received from DU’s faculty, board of trustees, students and donors — the same people, he said, who will help guide the University through its next phase of reinvention.

“I think the biggest changes in the last 30 years really have to do with the willingness to look at the future and say, ‘We’re going to take it on and improve,’” Ritchie said. “I love what we’re doing, and I feel so proud of it. I think we have the real possibility that we could have the best undergraduate program in the world within the next 30 years. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation. I think we’re on that trajectory, and I think if we continue on the present course we’ll get there together.”

The annual Founders Day gala celebrates the accomplishments of notable alumni, donors, faculty, staff and students. Other awardees at Thursday’s event celebrating DU’s 151st year included:

Distinguished Service to the University Award: James Griesemer, director of DU’s Strategic Issues Program (SIP) and dean emeritus of the Daniels College of Business

Professional Achievement Award: James Lentz III (BSBA ’77, MBA ’78), chief executive officer of Toyota North America

Community Service Award: Barbara Barnes Grogan (attd. 2005), a member of the Daniels Executive Advisory Board and DU’s John Evans Society

Randolph P. McDonough Award for Service to Alumni: William Stolfus (BSBA ’56, MBA ’64), who his wife, Ann Richardson Stolfus (BA ’56), helped found PALs (Pioneer Alumni Legends), an alumni affinity group for those who graduated from DU 50 or more years ago

Ammi Hyde Award for Recent Graduate Achievement: Jason Crow (JD ’09), a former U.S. Army Infantry captain who now works at Denver law firm Holland & Hart

Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award: Richard Maez, a double major in history and Spanish with a minor in leadership who also is a dual-degree student in the Morgridge College of Education, where he plans to complete a master’s program in curriculum and instruction in the spring of 2016

Outstanding Graduate Student Award: Leslie Rossman, president of the Graduate Student Government

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