Campus & Community

University to celebrate 150th anniversary throughout 2014

The DU campus as it looked in the early 1900s.

It took many decades for the University of Denver to become the school it is today, but the institution has its roots in 1864, when Colorado Seminary — as the University was chartered — was founded by John Evans and a group of prominent Denver citizens. Evans previously had founded Northwestern University in Chicago and wanted to create a college in Denver so future generations of students would not have to travel back east for their higher education.

Over the coming year, the University will celebrate its sesquicentennial  with a variety of events and exhibits, including an expansive “Tradition and Legacy” exhibit at the Anderson Academic Commons and special versions of campus traditions such as Winter Carnival, Founders Day and Homecoming.

A schedule of major events appears below; check out the sesquicentennial website for a complete — and constantly updated — list of anniversary events including athletics games, concerts and more.


January 13–December 24

“Tradition and History,” Anderson Academic Commons — Mixing artifacts and video clips with text and archival photographs, this interactive exhibit shows how aspiration and vision came to animate the DU experience. Individual displays focus on everything from athletics and recreation to campus life, Homecoming festivities to Commencement traditions.


January 9–March 9

A Decade of Gifts and Discoveries,” Victoria H. Myhren Gallery — Many will be surprised to learn the extent of the University’s art collections, which date from the 1890s, only a decade after the founding of the University’s School of Art. Equally impressive are the breadth and depth of materials donated during the decade leading up to 2014, DU’s sesquicentennial year. Additional delights include artworks rediscovered after many years languishing in basements and attics.

January 31–February 2

Winter Carnival — This year, alumni will be invited to join students, faculty and staff for the annual Winter Carnival at Keystone. Alumni Relations will host an après ski party and an alumni ice skating event. Discounted lift tickets and accommodations will be offered to alumni.


March 5

Founders Day Gala — This annual celebration of the University’s birthday features distinguished speakers and live entertainment. On this occasion of the University’s sesquicentennial, past honorees will be recognized for their impact on the University’s past, present and future.


June 6–7

50th reunion, Class of 1964 and Centennial Scholars — Alumni Relations hosts two days of activities for 50th reunion attendees and guests, beginning with an emeritus tea and the induction of the class into Pioneer Alumni Legends, a large, active local network of alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago. Other activities include campus tours, dinner and participation in the undergraduate Commencement ceremony.


Summer (dates TBA)

Summer concert series — A family-friendly, free concert series featuring a variety of musical styles will take place on campus weeknights in June, July and August


October 30–November 2

Homecoming and Alumni Symposium, various locations — The annual celebration will be enhanced for DU’s sesquicentennial year, with an all-class reunion, inductions into the Athletics Hall of Fame, lifelong learning opportunities, parent sessions, Taste of DU, campus tours and Pioneers hockey games against powerhouse Boston College.




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