Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU to rename Graduate School of International Studies in honor of Josef Korbel

His legacy has long been at the bedrock of the University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS). Now, the institution he founded and raised to prominence as one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs will bear the name of the late Czechoslovakian diplomat and professor Josef Korbel.

DU Chancellor Robert Coombe invites the University community to join Korbel’s family, colleagues and friends — including his daughter, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright — on May 28 to rechristen GSIS the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

Tom Farer, dean of the Josef Korbel School, says Korbel’s vision and passion are at the heart of the school’s philosophy and mission.

“The Josef Korbel School of International Studies is a global leader in producing practical idealists equipped with the broad perspectives, critical minds and technical skills required for careers of distinction in the public, private and nonprofit sectors of today’s integrated world,” Farer says. “In their commitment to the public good, no less than their personal success, the school’s graduates personify the legacy of Josef Korbel.”

Korbel began a career in international diplomacy in his native Czechoslovakia, in 1934 before escaping to London during World War II. He returned home after the war, only to flee again with his family after a Communist takeover. He served in the United Nations in New York City until 1949 when he moved to Denver to begin his work in higher education.

A prolific writer and a professor of international relations, he was appointed Dean of the newly created Graduate School of International Studies in 1964 and soon after was named the first Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Studies at the University of Denver.

He enjoyed an international reputation and is remembered on campus for his dedication to teaching. He died in 1977.

One of Korbel’s star students, current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, created a video tribute to recognize the occasion, recalling her mentor’s dedication and passion.

Members of Korbel’s family will be on campus for the celebratory unveiling of signage honoring him and Albright plans to sit with students for a symposium, exchanging ideas on global events with students.

The day begins with a series of private events to welcome Albright and members of the Korbel family to campus, followed by a news conference at 10:15 a.m. in front of Ben M. Cherrington Hall, home of the Korbel School.

Following the news conference, the entire University community is invited to a reception on the south lawn of Cherrington Hall.

After lunch, Albright will discuss her latest book, Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership, with DU students in person and taking part from around the world through video connections.

The Korbel family’s visit with the University of Denver community concludes with a formal reception and dinner tribute to Josef Korbel.

While the events will attract civic leaders, DU alumni and supporters, the news media, students, faculty and staff, no major disruptions to campus activities are anticipated. A portion of the driveway on the east side of Cherrington Hall will be closed from the traffic circle to the entrance of the H1 parking area from the afternoon of Tuesday, May 27 until about noon, May 28.

[Editor’s note: This article was updated on May 22.]

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