Campus News / Spring 2017

Students part of the fun at Founders Celebration

Students dance at the Founders Formal, part of the two-day Founders Celebration in May. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Thanks to an expanded list of fun and educational programs, students had the chance to exercise their bodies and brains at the 2017 Founders Celebration, held March 1 and 2 on campus and elsewhere in Denver. The festivities included a student formal dance at the Cable Center and two separate events where faculty members shared their areas of expertise.

“Students are the reason why this campus runs every day and why we are here,” says Jess Davidson (BA ’16), the 2016–17 student government vice president who, as a senior, helped jump-start the student-focused side of Founders Celebration. “We thought integrating events for the students and making this a University-wide celebration was a really great way to recognize all facets of the community and to remove some of the disconnect between alumni and students.”

At the Founders Lecture Series, students dipped into history, learning about DU’s role in the community and the world over the past 153 years. They delved into the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the 1970 student-rights movement known as Woodstock West. They also discovered how DU Professor George Bardwell used math in the battle to desegregate Denver’s schools.

At Founders Forum, six faculty members delivered short, TED-style presentations on their research, covering everything from physics and immigration policies to music and anthropology.

The Founders Gala, staged at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, highlighted the contributions of DU alumna Condoleezza Rice (BA ’74, PhD ’81) and University supporters Ralph and Trish Nagel. The Nagels were honored with the Founders Medal — the University’s highest honor — while Rice received the International Achievement Medal, which is given to individuals who have had an immeasurable impact on the world and whose global leadership and civic engagement exemplify the University’s values.

Davidson, who introduced Rice at the gala, says she was honored to be asked to present the award to the former U.S. secretary of state.

“It really says a lot to me about the way the University values its alumni that they invited me back to be a part of this event,” Davidson says. “It shows this isn’t just about what alumni are doing 20 or 30 or 40 years down the road, but also what alumni are doing in that first year or two after their college experience.”


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