Campus & Community

Donor Ed Anderson sees Academic Commons as a ‘game changer’ for DU

The founder of a successful venture capital firm, Ed Anderson (BFA ’71) is always on the prowl for game changers.

As an investor, he’s looking for comapanies chasing a billion-dollar market and pursuing solutions to big problems. As a philanthropist, he’s looking to put his money behind education-focused enterprises that foster opportunity, access and aspirations.

The Anderson Academic Commons fits that bill nicely. Named in recognition of a lead gift from Anderson and his wife, documentary filmmaker Linda Cabot, the building houses the University’s main library, its special collections and an array of services that support teaching and learning.

“It’s a great place for students to come together in a very elegant building, with incredible views of the mountains — the soul of Colorado,” says Anderson, a University of Denver trustee. “They will be able to seamlessly access data, do great research, attend great seminars and discuss what they’ve learned. Hopefully, it will open up new horizons for them.”

When Anderson was studying advertising design at DU in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the campus was a far cry from what it is today. The Mary Reed Building served as the institution’s library, while the site of the future Penrose Library was better known as Woodstock West — an impromptu protest zone created by students (including Anderson) in response to the 1970 shootings at Kent State.

Anderson sees the new library as a venue that not only supports cross-disciplinary learning but that allows students wide-open access to educational resources all over the world. He hopes that alumni, those of his generation in particular, will look at his gift as a “call to arms” to support their alma mater and its efforts to enhance opportunities.

Anderson came to DU from New England at the urging of his father, who had come to love Colorado when he served at Camp Hale with the Army’s elite 10th Mountain Division in World War II. Anderson’s renewed engagement with the University began in 2002, when he returned to campus to speak to students as part of the Masters Program, sponsored by Alumni Relations and designed to offer students insight from alumni working in various fields.

“I hadn’t been back to the campus in 30 years and was astounded to see the scale of new building across the entire campus; it has evolved into something really exceptional,” Anderson recalls. “I’d encourage alumni from the ’70s and

’80s to come back to DU, see for themselves what has happened, and like me, invest in its future.”

The Anderson/Cabot gift to the Academic Commons aligns with the couple’s longstanding tradition of supporting educational causes. “We believe education is the great equalizer,” Anderson says. “Devoting time and financial resources to education pays back in many ways. Very broadly, it helps people from all walks of life scale mountains.”

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