Winter 2016

Chopp inaugurated as DU’s 18th chancellor

Chancellor Rebecca Chopp receives the ceremonial red vest from Chancellor Emeritus Daniel Ritchie at Friday's inauguration ceremony. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Chancellor Rebecca Chopp receives the ceremonial red vest from Chancellor Emeritus Daniel Ritchie at Friday’s inauguration ceremony. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

In a Sept. 18 address capping ceremonies installing her as the University of Denver’s 18th chancellor, Rebecca Chopp called on Coloradans to imagine a renewed relationship between higher education and democracy and previewed DU IMPACT 2025, the institution’s ambitious strategic plan, scheduled for a formal release in spring 2016.

“There is a thrilling and deeply fulfilling future ahead of us, but we must create it,” Chopp, the University’s first woman chancellor, told a crowd of students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests assembled in Magness Arena.

Chopp’s emphasis on the importance of higher education to democracy and a resilient economy comes at a time when public funding for colleges and universities is shrinking and critics are questioning the value of traditional approaches to teaching and research.

“We are a people who believe passionately in the rights of the individual and the importance of the common good — as well as an obligation to work toward a better world. Our democratic ideals make our unique and diverse system of higher education the engine for the future of our society,” Chopp said.

In her speech, Chopp traveled through U.S. history to trace the many ways universities have responded to the nation’s needs for talent and knowledge, spanning the creation of the land-grant institutions in the 1860s to the “Golden Age of Research” triggered by the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of Sputnik.

Throughout the nation’s history, higher education has met the demands of changing times, Chopp said, adding that the nation’s transformative periods have resulted from “great criticism within our democracy.”

Noting that colleges and universities are once again facing great criticism and huge challenges, Chopp looked ahead to a new transformative period, spearheaded by the University of Denver.

“Times are unsettled,” Chopp said. “We live in a vortex of complexity, pressure and swirling winds of disruption. And yet this kind of vortex is precisely where transformation can occur. As [the poet and activist] Audre Lorde observed, ‘Out of chaos, creation is born.’ And I believe that DU is ready to be a crucible: We are ready to lead positive change.”

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