Magazine Feature

$17 million gift helps build new facility for international studies school


The new 43,000-square-foot building will adjoin the Korbel School’s existing facilities to form the Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex.

The University of Denver in March announced a $17 million gift from philanthropists Anna and John J. Sie to support a new building for the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. The donation is the largest single private gift in the Josef Korbel School’s 50-year history.

“Anna and I are both immigrants to the United States, and we understand the importance of global education and engagement. It is not only the cornerstone of world peace, but also economic advancement,” says John J. Sie, founder and former chairman of Starz Entertainment Group LLC and an honorary member of the University of Denver’s Board of Trustees. “With what Josef Korbel and his family have built, and under the instruction of Dean Chris Hill, we believe the Korbel School is poised to be preeminent in the world preparing future global leaders.”

The Sies previously donated $5.5 million to the Josef Korbel School to build the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy in honor of John’s father, a Chinese diplomat.

The new 43,000-square-foot building will adjoin the Korbel School’s existing facilities to form the Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex. University Architect Mark Rodgers and the architectural firm Anderson Mason Dale are collaborating on the final design, with input and guidance from the Sie family. It will feature several signature University of Denver elements, including load-bearing stone masonry and a tower that will become a new landmark on the University’s skyline. The building’s top floor will house presentation facilities for dignitaries and leaders from around the globe.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the building is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sept. 23, and construction is scheduled to be completed by December 2015.

Aside from providing space for classrooms and offices, the new facilities will allow the Korbel School to significantly enhance the use of technology across its graduate and undergraduate programs.

“The future Korbel School classroom will be equipped with advanced technology that will add depth and breadth to lessons, while also training students on the technological tools they will use in their future careers,” says Christopher Hill, dean of the Korbel School.

The donation by the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation is the lead gift in a five-year, $40 million fundraising campaign for the Korbel School. The Future of Korbel: An Investment in Global Leadership will support endowed student scholarships, additional faculty positions, innovative uses of technology and program expansions.

Anna and John J. Sie will receive the University of Denver Josef Korbel Humanitarian Award at the Korbel Dinner, which will take place Sept. 22 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. Also being honored is Jeffrey Tarr, CEO of DigitalGlobe, who will receive the International Bridge Builder Award. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (BA ’74, PhD ’81) is the evening’s keynote speaker. For more information, visit

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