Current Issue

Moving forward, looking ahead

There are simply no words to express my joy at becoming the new chancellor of this truly wonderful university in this truly wonderful city. Our university is a very special one, indeed, with a long history behind it and a brilliant future ahead.

I’ve been at DU for 24 years now, and what an amazing ride it’s been. I remember well those dark days of the mid 1980s when few thought it possible that we would survive, much less become the great institution that we are today. If you take a look at our history over the last 141 years, though, you will find that there has always been a good bit of steel running through the backbone of the University of Denver. The enormous changes that have happened here have been supported by a culture of open-mindedness, creativity and integrity rooted in strong values, by a willingness to embrace change as opportunity and by an uncompromising demand for the highest quality in all that we do.

And of course we have had great leadership, from Henry Buchtel to Ben Cherrington, from Chester Alter to Maurice Mitchell, from Dwight Smith to Dan Ritchie, whose 16 years of leadership brought about a sea change in our institutional culture, in our underlying values and in the very essence of who we are as a community.

During the last several years, we’ve gone through a period of building our beautiful campus and developing major initiatives in athletics, performing arts and other areas. Along the way we’ve created tremendous visibility, pride and a culture of quality, integrity and community engagement.

The great university that we’ve always imagined is truly within our reach. To get there, we will focus our determination and resources on building a first-class academic enterprise that is important for a broad regional, national and international audience. DU will lead the nation in developing innovative and effective new approaches to teaching and learning and will sustain a bubbling, percolating scholarship and research enterprise that is focused on real outcomes for real people. We will graduate extraordinary men and women who care about people, live their lives with integrity and are committed to making a difference for society. We will develop new and more effective financial structures that serve the University well and can be emulated by other institutions. DU also will aggressively build productive relationships with businesses and non-profits, as well as the federal and state governments, in a manner that can have direct economic and social impacts for people. And, we will make an institutional commitment to the people of the city and the state that have given us so much of our identity.

Together, we will be a great private university that truly is dedicated to the public good and is important to people in Colorado and far beyond. We will be more than the University of Denver — we will be Denver’s university. We will carry that label forward, with all of the energy and vitality it implies, even as our reach becomes more national and international. We can accomplish these goals by taking the values we’ve established — uncompromising quality, creativity, integrity and engagement — and incorporating them in all that we do and all that we are.

Universities are so much more than a beautiful campus. They are principally people — students, faculty, staff and alumni. It is a great honor to lead the people of this great university. I accept that honor, and the challenge that it holds, with thanks and tremendous pride in the entire DU community.

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