Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU’s future to be focused on ‘public good,’ chancellor says

The University is in the strongest condition of its 143-year history, Chancellor Robert Coombe said in his Sept. 28Convocation address to 610 faculty and staff members gathered in Magness Arena.

That strength, he said, comes from a faculty of “nationally competitive scholars who are as committed to teaching and their work with students as they are to their scholarship,” and from a strong financial footing.

Coombe announced that this last year had been the University’s best fundraising year yet, with new gifts and pledges totaling $76 million. Of that, $33 million is designated for support of the endowment, bringing the total to $271 million.

This superior financial condition has enabled the University to create a host of new programs and increase financial aid, he said.

Looking toward the future, Coombe asked faculty and staff to help in making a “good to great transition,” manifested by “the kinds of people that we graduate and what they do with their lives” and “in the manner in which we leverage our collective intellectual capital against the great issues of the day.”

“Great universities are those that attack the great issues, those that play a positive, catalytic role in their resolution,” he said.

Coombe said the University’s direction is set by its vision statement, established by the University Planning Advisory Council seven years ago and reaffirmed last year: The University of Denver is a great private university dedicated to the public good. To manifest greatness and dedication to the public good, the chancellor outlined themes and asked faculty and staff to consider how their roles could be shaped by them. 

Among other things, Coombe called on DU to become a university where research and scholarship are focused on public good; and a university where ethics, values, and social responsibility are imbedded in the curriculum, culture and the lives of graduates.

University endeavors ranging from engineering research to co-curricular programs like Bridges to the Future focus on the improvement of individual lives and the greater good of the public, Coombe said.

Coombe also stressed the University’s commitment to education and diversity.

He called on the Morgridge College of Education to “become the fulcrum through which the intellectual capital of the University is leveraged to produce positive change in the schools of our communities.”

Coombe said that there is a lot of work to be done in continuing to build a culture of ethics and social responsibility on campus.

“We must build our own community in order to become the catalyst for broader change,” he said.

Watch video of Convocation.

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