Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver

The University of Denver has launched the public phase of a capital campaign: Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver.  The quiet phase began four years ago and it is set to conclude in 2014, the 150th anniversary of the University of Denver.

DU Today, the university’s news service had an article about the capital campaign:

During Convocation remarks to more than 650 faculty and staff members today, University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe publicly announced a multi-year campaign to position the University for the 21st century.

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, raising more than $250 million to date. Of that, Coombe said $100 million is providing direct support to students and faculty.

Coombe noted that the new class of first-year undergraduate students is the best in DU history in terms of academic credentials, which include GPA, test scores, class rank and the number of Boettcher Scholars. The class also is DU’s most diverse; more than 19 percent are students of color, more than 16 percent are receiving Pell Grants, and more than 7 percent are international students. 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,” according to the Ascend website, 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.

The campaign has a video which describes its aims and goals.  You will see a number of friends of mine featured and you can see me as part of a mini-class about microfinance highlighting a class that was featured by Forbes as one of the 10 Most Innovative Business School classes –

On the website, I have been included as one of the “profiled” students.  It’s the same “One to Watch” story that appeared in the DU Magazine.  If you are interested, you can read it on the Ascend website.

I know Chancellor Coombe has been working hard on this campaign and I hope that it is successful in meeting each of its goals.  The University of Denver has a lot of potential and a great future ahead of it.  This campaign should position it well for the future.  Before too long, I hope to be able to contribute to future growth needs of the university.

About Joel Portman
Network Builder. Diversity and Inclusion Advocate. Social Media Enthusiast. Lover of family, friends, the outdoors, travel, and learning. I have experience working in the healthcare, education, diversity/inclusion, retail, and non-profit industries with organizations ranging in size from five people to Fortune 500. I am an MBA graduate of the University of Denver.

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