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University of Denver chancellor announces Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver

Campaign will end with 150th anniversary of DU’s founding in 2014

DENVER — This week, during remarks to more than 650 faculty and staff, University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe publicly announced a multi-year campaign to position the University for the 21st century. The chancellor spoke during DU’s annual Convocation, which recognizes the beginning of a new academic year.

 Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver will culminate in 2014 when the University celebrates its sesquicentennial.

“Today, I’m announcing the public phase of our campaign,” Coombe said. “We will focus on additional financial aid for undergraduate and graduate students; support for faculty chairs and professorships as well as research and scholarship; the visual and performing arts; and important improvements and additions to our facilities.” The campaign has been in a quiet phase for four years with an excess of $250 million raised to date.

While discussing his desire to provide additional financial aid to students, Chancellor Coombe noted that the new class of first-year undergraduate students is the best in DU history in terms of academic credentials, which includes GPA, other test scores, class rank and the number of Boettcher Scholars. The class also is the most diverse with more than 19 percent being students of color, more than 16 percent receiving Pell grants and more than 7 percent being international students.

More than 12,500 applications were received for the approximately 1,200 positions in the first-year class−a number that hasn’t changed much in the past few years despite the increase in applications. Also, more than 60 percent of the class comes from outside of Colorado.

Although the campaign’s emphasis is on raising funds to support DU’s “human infrastructure,” the initiative also will fund a “desperately needed new building” to house the School of Engineering and Computer Science, which has a projected price tag of $55 million, most of which has yet to be raised.

Also planned is a transformation of Penrose Library into an “academic commons.”

“The renovation will change the building’s functionality from book storage space to technology-rich people space,” Coombe said. The University has raised $25 million of the $30 million needed for the project.

“I believe all of this is possible. We can be that great private university dedicated to the public good. We can be that university that has a lasting and powerful impact on the human condition. We can ascend to that higher place together,” Coombe said in closing.

For more information about the Ascend Campaign go to


The University of Denver is committed to improving the human condition and engaging students and faculty in tackling the major issues of our day. DU ranks among the top 100 national universities in the U.S. For additional information, go to

  Jim Berscheidt
Phone: (303) 871-3172

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