Campus & Community

Groundbreaking ceremony celebrates new building for Josef Korbel School

Anna and John Sie, who donated $17 million for a new building for the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, spoke at the building's groundbreaking on Tuesday. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Anna and John Sie, who donated $17 million for a new building for the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, spoke at the building’s groundbreaking on Tuesday. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

The University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies began a new era Tuesday with the ceremonial groundbreaking on the Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex — a new campus building made possible by a $17 million donation from the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation.

“We are both immigrants who had the fortune and the privilege of coming to live and thrive in this great country, America, for more than 60 years,” said John Sie, founder and former chairman of Starz Entertainment Group LLC and a former member of the University of Denver’s Board of Trustees. “Being able to give back to the community is the ultimate high.”

The Sies previously donated $5.5 million to the Josef Korbel School to support the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy in honor of John Sie’s father, a distinguished Chinese diplomat.

In addition to the Sies, speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony included Douglas Scrivner (JD ’77), chair of the University of Denver Board of Trustees; Rebecca Chopp, chancellor of the University of Denver; Ambassador Christopher Hill, dean of the Josef Korbel School; and Condoleezza Rice (BA ’74, PhD ’81), an alumna of the Korbel School and the 66th U.S. secretary of state.

Rice said the new complex “will allow this great school to push forward — it will allow this school to find more Condi Rices who are searching out there for what they might do and decide that they belong in a world quite different from their own. A world that is increasingly complex, increasingly diverse, and therefore needs the diversity of talents and people who can find and make sense of our common humanity when so much tries to tear us apart.

“And in that building they will be schooled and taught, and they will find their passion, and they will go out into the world to try to make it a better place because they will have a vision of the world not as it is, but as it should be,” Rice continued. “They will be inspired by teachers like Josef Korbel. They will be inspired by great philanthropists like John and Anna Sie. And they will be inspired to do what they can to make the world a better place for all humanity.”

The new five-story, 46,000-square-foot addition will adjoin the Josef Korbel School’s existing facilities to form the Sie Complex, which will house the Josef Korbel School, its undergraduate and graduate programs and its 10 research centers and institutes. Construction of the new building is scheduled to be completed in February of 2016; renovations of the school’s existing facilities will commence shortly thereafter and are scheduled to be finished by July 2016. The estimated total cost of the project is $23.36 million.

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