Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Korbel Dinner honors humanitarian ideals

The University of Denver will recognize an industry leader and two prominent Denver philanthropists Aug. 30 at the 10th annual Korbel Dinner

The event pays tribute to the humanitarian and scholarly ideals of DU’s Graduate School of International Studies(GSIS) and Josef Korbel, the Czech diplomat who founded the school in the 1960s. Madeleine Albright, Korbel’s daughter and secretary of state from 1997–2001, will provide the evening’s keynote address at the Marriott City Center. 

Some 900 guests are expected for the dinner, which funds scholarships for GSIS students and supports the school’s Center for Teaching International Relations. The center has helped K-12 educators teach about global affairs for 40 years. 

Wayne Murdy, chair and former CEO of Newmont Mining Corporation, will receive DU’s International Bridge Builder Award for his efforts to foster a culture of corporate social responsibility at Newmont and in the mining industry. The award recognizes individuals who have helped build relationships between Denver and international communities. 

Murdy’s selection has drawn criticism from some non-governmental organizations and members of the University community. Some GSIS faculty have been vocal in their opposition to the award, saying it should be delayed until Newmont has made more dramatic changes on the ground, particularly in Latin America.

“We selected [Murdy] to register the University’s commitment to promoting ethical business practices that serve the national and the human interest,” says GSIS Dean Tom Farer. Through Murdy’s leadership, Farer says, Newmont managers have been working with Daniels College of Business faculty to address the corporation’s responsibilities to protect the environment and human rights. 

“It is rare indeed for a corporation to open up its management structure to this extent in an effort to move corporate culture,” says Chancellor Robert Coombe. “The senior leadership shown by Mr. Murdy in leading change is the reason the leadership at GSIS believes the award to be fitting, and I concur. Social responsibility and sustainability are major themes here at the University.”

Robert and Judi Newman, philanthropists and leaders in Denver’s arts and cultural community, will receive the Josef Korbel Humanitarian Award. Their endeavors include the establishment of a summer camp for children at the Denver Center Theatre Academy, underwriting of local arts projects as well as contributions to area arts venues, including the Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts at DU. 

Robert Newman is on the DU Board of Trustees and Judi Newman serves her alma mater, the University of Miami, as a trustee. The couple also works with the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

The Graduate School of International Studies was ranked among the top 10 masters degree programs for international studies in a 2007 survey released by Foreign Policy magazine.

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