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University of Denver
University of Denver logotype.
Motto "Pro Scientia et Religione" ('For Science and Religion' or 'Knowledge and Spirit')
Established 1864
Type Private
Endowment $269.9 million[1]
Chancellor Robert Coombe
Students 10,953 (2009)
Undergraduates 4,913 (2009)
Postgraduates 6,040 (2009)
Location Denver, Colorado, USA
Campus Urban
125 acres (0.51 km2)[2]
Colors Crimson & Gold
Nickname Pioneers
Mascot None

The University of Denver (DU), founded in 1864 is the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States.[3] The University of Denver is a coeducational, four-year university in Denver, Colorado. DU currently enrolls approximately 11,400 students, divided between graduate and undergraduate programs. The 125-acre (0.51 km2) main campus is a designated arboretum and is located primarily in the University Neighborhood,[4] about seven miles (11 km) south of downtown Denver.



The university was founded in 1864 as the Colorado Seminary by John Evans, the former Governor of Colorado Territory, who had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln. John Evans, who also founded Northwestern University prior to founding DU, is the namesake of the town in Illinois named Evanston (the site of the Northwestern campus) as well as Mount Evans, a 14,264 foot mountain visible from the DU campus.

Mary Reed Hall

Evans founded the school to help civilize the newly-created (1858) City of Denver, which was was little more than a mining camp at that time.

As a co-educational institution, according to College Board, under a competitive standard, the average admitted applicant is at his or her top 25% of their graduating class.[5]

The reverse initials "DU" are used as the university's shorthand moniker (rather than the more intuitive "UD") as part of a Rocky Mountain and midwestern tradition of initial reversal, similar to the University of Colorado's "CU", the University of Tulsa's "TU", the University of Oklahoma's "OU", the University of Nebraska's "NU", and the University of Kansas' "KU."

The 'Colorado Seminary' was founded as a Methodist institution and struggled in the early years of its existence. By 1880, the Colorado Seminary had been renamed the University of Denver. Although doing business as the University of Denver, DU is still legally named Colorado Seminary. The first buildings of the university were located in downtown Denver in the 1860s and 1870s, but concerns that Denver's rough-and-tumble frontier town (the city was founded in 1858) atmosphere was not conducive to education prompted a new campus (today's campus) to be built on the donated land of potato farmer Rufus Clark, some seven miles (11 km) south of the downtown core. The university grew and prospered alongside the city's growth, appealing primarily to a regional student body prior to World War II. After the war, the large surge in GI bill students pushed DU's enrollment to over 13,000 students, the largest the university has ever been, and helped to spread the university's reputation to a national audience. In 2005, Denver selected former provost Robert Coombe as its new Chancellor, succeeding Chancellor Daniel L. Ritchie.




The University of Denver has 11,644 students in 2009. Of the 11,644 students, 5,343 are undergraduates. The ratio of undergraduate women to men is 56:44. Of the class of 2008, 70.0% are White, 1.8% are Black, 6.8% are Hispanic, 5.2% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 1.7% are American Indian, 5.3% are international, and 9.1% are race/ethnicity unknown. Around 50 percent of the student body is from outside the state of Colorado. For 2009 the average accepted high school student obtained a 3.7 GPA, SAT combined of 1220 and, an ACT of 27.


University rankings (overall)

ARWU World[6] Not ranked
ARWU North & Latin America[7] Not ranked
Times Higher Education[8] Not ranked
USNWR National University[9] 84th

The University of Denver is currently ranked 84th among all public and private "National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report in a 2010 ranking. The school is currently ranked the 48th best private university by the same publication.

The undergraduate business program, The Daniels College of Business, was ranked 67th best in 2008 by BusinessWeek, and it was ranked the 71st best program by U.S. News in a 2008 ranking.[10]

The Sturm College of Law is currently ranked the 77th best Graduate Law School by U.S News in a 2010 ranking.[11]

In a 2006/2007 survey performed by the College of William and Mary and published by Foreign Policy magazine, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies ranked 9th in the nation for graduate programs, ahead of such schools as Syracuse, University of Chicago, Yale, Stanford, University of California-Berkeley, and MIT.[12] "One should frequently visit the grounds in order to extrapolate key ideas from the younger generations" (Everett, 2008, p. x).

In 2006, Men's Fitness magazine ranked DU in the top-25 fittest colleges in America because the University actively promotes a healthy lifestyle for its students. The Coors Fitness Center has top-of-the-line equipment, personal trainers, nutritionists and fitness classes. Students also can play in 30 club and 22 intramural sports, and DU is located near some of the city's best recreational opportunities and the great outdoors.

F W Olin Hall

Academic Programs

In addition to traditional undergraduate programs, the University of Denver is home to the following graduate entities:


  • Division of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Divisions of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


Buchtel Tower and the Sturm Law School Tower


  • Graduate School of Professional Psychology
  • Graduate School of Social Work
  • Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • Lamont School of Music
  • School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Media, Film, and Journalism Studies

Institutes and Centers:


  • Graduate Tax Program
  • DU-Iliff Joint Program

Interdisciplinary Programs:

  • Digital Media Studies

Students in the graduate programs represent over half of the total enrollment of the school.

Daniels College of Business; the eighth oldest business school in the country

Aside from the Sturm College of Law, the university operates on a quarter system, sometimes known as trimester academic calendar, in which an academic year is divided into three academic quarters lasting 10 weeks per each quarter. This academic system allows students to take more classes each year than students in a more traditional 15-week semester system.

Offering students a learning experience abroad, the Cherrington Global Scholars program offers every undergraduate the chance to study abroad at no cost above the normal university tuition, room and board[13]. The University of Denver has almost 70 percent of its undergraduate student body study abroad before graduation, placing it first in the nation among all doctoral and research institutions in percentage of undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs[citation needed].

The art and music scene of DU is currently on the rise due to the recent construction of the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. This building houses both the Lamont School of Music and the DU Theatre Department. The Lamont School of Music is a structured conservatory setting which allows students to focus on their talents in a competitive manner. The theatre department, reestablished in 1985, is currently being transformed into a nationally competitive theatre school. Recently, their show "Henry the VI part iii" was selected as one of the best in the region was considered for national recognition[citation needed]. For the second straight year, a DU show has been held for regional honors[citation needed].

With the recent addition of more faculty members and renovation beginning on Margery Reed Hall, the Theatre Department has become a magnet for theatre students in the region. Much of the faculty have many professional connections with local theatre companies (Curious, DCPA), as well as contacts in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and many other regions, providing students with many available options for internships and quick job placement.

The university was the first in the country to establish what has continued to be an innovative and internationally recognized Digital Media Studies program, organized as a joint venture between the departments of Mass Communications and Journalism Studies, Art, and Computer Science[citation needed]. DMS faculty and students are currently working on an NSF-funded video game design and development initiative aimed at increasing interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in select Denver high schools[citation needed].

Sturm College of Law: The First LEED Certified Green Law School in the Country

Recently, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has also undergone an internal renaissance. In 2003, the University of Denver ATLA trial team won the national championship in New Orleans, taking Harvard's title from the previous year.[14]

The Institute for Public Policy Studies (IPPS) boasts two former Colorado Governors as teaching faculty. Richard Lamm was joined in January 2007 by Bill Owens.

Denver is one of the few schools in the US that personally interviews every undergraduate applicant (with interviews in more than 25 cities per year), demonstrating that the university is very interested in the person, not just the applicant's credentials. The Hyde interview is named after an influential DU professor, Ammi Hyde, and most students describe the process as insightful rather than painful, so the interview should not be considered a deterrent for prospective students who are nervous that they will not perform well.

The university has recently established an Undergraduate Research Center. This Center provides funding for the Partners in Scholarship program, offering students the opportunity to work directly with a faculty member over the course of a quarter or over the summer. The student may design the research project with the faculty member's approval or may work with a faculty member on an existing research project, thus affording students an opportunity for close mentorship and relationship-building that strengthens the student's overall learning experience. Annual conferences on campus highlight student research efforts

The Ricks Center For Gifted Children is a private school on the campus of DU that teaches preschool through eighth grade. Since April 1997, the school has been accredited by The North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCACASI). It was founded and is currently directed by Norma Hafenstien.


The heart of the campus has a number of historic buildings. The longest-standing building is University Hall, which has served DU since 1890.

University Hall and Daniels College of Business

Evans Chapel, an 1870s-vintage small church which was once located in downtown Denver, was relocated to the DU campus in the 1960s, and Buchtel Tower (1913), which is all that remains of the former Buchtel Chapel, which burned in 1983. The administrative offices are located in the Mary Reed Building, a former library built in 1932 in the collegiate gothic style.

Under the leadership of former Chancellor Daniel Ritchie (now Chairman of the Denver Center for Performing Arts), about $500 million in capital improvements have taken place in the last decade and the learning inside these new buildings has improved in the same period, as admissions selectivity and rankings have improved dramatically.

In autumn 2003, DU opened a new $63.5 million facility for its College of Law, what was later named the "Sturm College of Law." The building includes a three-story library with personal computers accessible to students. Donald and Susan Sturm, owners of Denver-based American National Bank, had given $20 million to the University of Denver College of Law. The gift is the largest single donation in the 112-year history of the law school and among the largest gifts ever to the university.

Margery Reed Hall

The Daniels College of Business was completed in September 1999 at the cost of $25 million dollars[15]. The business school has been nationally recognized by organizations such as Forbes magazine, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal where it is ranked seventhth in the nation for producing students with high ethical standards.[16]

Additionally, the university also recently opened the $75 million Newman Center for the Performing Arts, which houses the acclaimed Lamont School of Music. The center includes a 1,000 seat, four-level opera house, a 250-seat recital hall with the largest (3,000 pipes) natural organ in the region, and a 300-seat flexible theatre space. The Newman Center serves as home to many professional performing arts groups as well as university performing arts events.

In the last two years, DU has also built and opened a new building for the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management. Inside the building there are numerous classrooms, a large wine cellar, meeting rooms, and an all-purpose dining room that hosts numerous city and university events, weddings, and formal parties. The school helps DU rank near the top of all hotel schools in the United States. The program had its first graduating class in 1946.

School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management

The university has the second highest telescope in the world located at 14,148 feet near the summit of Mount Evans called the Meyer-Womble Observatory. This telescope is most commonly used by the university's Natural Science and Mathematics Department, and more specifically the Department of Physics and Astronomy at DU.

Nagel Residence Hall was completed in the Fall of 2008 to house upperclassman and is one of the most unique buildings on campus, offering a wide collection of art throughout the building donated by the Nagel family. The building is certified Gold in LEED standards to be environmentally friendly and more sustainable. As well as Nagel, Nelson Hall is another LEED residence hall that was built in the last eight years.

In reference to campus improvements to help DU athletics, as well as the Ritchie Center that was completed in 2000, DU completed the first ever lacrosse stadium that is specifically designed for the sport. As of now, construction is underway for a new soccer stadium on the DU campus that will also connect the School of Art.

Construction is currently taking place to build the new environmentally friendly $25 million dollar Morgridge College of Education.


Denver Pioneers logo

DU's athletic teams are known as the Denver Pioneers and the school has been fielding intercollegiate teams since 1867. Denver is a full NCAA Division I member, best known as a major power in winter sports. Ice hockey is DU's flagship spectator sport, with seven NCAA titles including back to back crowns in 2004 and 2005, and regularly selling out the new 6,000 seat Magness Arena on campus, the showpiece of the Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness. The Pioneers' 28 NCAA titles are in the top 10 of all NCAA schools in terms of total titles.

Ritchie Center Tower

Skiing is another strong sport at Denver, with 21 NCAA titles (more than any other school) with the Pioneers dominating the current decade. The Pioneers "three-peated" with NCAA titles in 2010, 2009 and 2008, won it in 2005 and as well as three consecutive titles from 2001 to 2003.

Fight Song

The fight song for the University of Denver is Fairest of Colleges, written in 1916. The lyrics are:

D-rah! E-rah! N-rah! VER Boom.
Denver, our Denver,
We sing to thee,
Fairest of colleges,
Give her three times three,
Rah, rah, rah!
Long may we cherish her
Faithful and true.
University of Denver
For me and you.


  • Pioneer Pete (1920s to 1968)
  • Denver Boone/Boone the Pioneer (1968 to 1998)[17]
  • Ruckus (1998 to 2008)
  • (Unofficial) Denver Boone/Boone the Pioneer (2009–present)

Recent Mascot Changes

Although the DU community indulged the Department of Athletics and Recreation's 1998 efforts to rebrand itself by creating a more marketable image, replacing "Denver Boone" with "Ruckus" was met with a lukewarm response and never gained much traction. By 2006, a movement to bring back the Walt Disney creation had begun to gain momentum. In 2008, a survey of the DU community showed an overwhelming 87% supported reclaiming Boone.[18] Nonetheless, on October 20, 2008, Chancellor Robert Coombe opposed the will of the overwhelming majority via an email to students, citing that Boone "does not reflect the broad diversity of the DU community"[19]. Princeton Review indicates that minorities compose just 7% of the student body[20]. The issue has been covered by the Denver Post[21], NBC affiliate KUSA [22], and ABC affiliate KMGH[23]. Editorials by Valerie Richardson in the Washington Times[24] and Mike Rosen in the Rocky Mountain News[18] have been highly critical of the administration.

By this point, DU had essentially shelved Ruckus, and in November 2008, the university announced its intention to identify a new mascot[25], Boone's departure was far from final. Chancellor Coombe had acknowledged Boone's place in DU's history and stated that "it seems reasonable that students and alumni be allowed to use the image as a celebration of that past, to the extent that they may choose."

Thus, an independent group of alumni resurrected "Denver Boone" on their own as the unofficial mascot of the DU students and alumni community. A costume was privately procured and the initiative was funded entirely by independent alumni contributions[26].

The new mascot was unveiled by students and alumni at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, as part of the 2009 Frozen Four festivities.


Chancellors of the University of Denver[4]:

  • David Hastings Moore (October 1880-June 1889)
  • William Fraser McDowell (1890-June 1899)
  • Henry Augustus Buchtel (December 1899-September 1920)
  • Heber Reece Harper (November 1922-January 1927)
  • Frederick Maurice Hunter (July 1928-September 1935)
  • David Shaw Duncan (September 1935-March 1941)
  • Caleb Frank Gates (March 1941-November 1943)
  • Ben Mark Cherrington (November 1943-February 1946)
  • Caleb Frank Gates (February 1946-August 1947)
  • James F. Price (April-October 1948)
  • Alfred Clarence Nelson, interim (October 1948-November 1949)
  • Albert Charles Jacobs (November 1949-March 1953)
  • Chester M. Alter (August 1953-July 1966)
  • Maurice Bernard Mitchell (September 1967-March 1978)
  • Ross Pritchard (October 1978-January 1984)
  • Dwight Morrell Smith (January 1984-July 1989)
  • Daniel L. Ritchie (July 1989-June 2005)
  • Robert Coombe (July 2005–present)

Notable alumni


Politics, Government and Military

  • Condoleezza Rice, Former U.S. Secretary of State under President G.W. Bush
  • Ed Schafer, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President G.W. Bush, former Governor of North Dakota
  • James Nicholson, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs under President G.W. Bush
  • Gale Norton, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President G.W. Bush
  • Former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)
  • Current U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)
  • Current U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)
  • Cindy Courville, former U.S. Ambassador to the African Union
  • Robert Dieter, U.S. Ambassador to Belize
  • Paul Trivelli, former U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua
  • Loy Henderson, former U.S. Ambassador to Iran
  • Heraldo Munoz, Chilean Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Jami Miscik, Former Deputy Director for Intelligence at the CIA, Vice-Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc. in New York.
  • Wayne Aspinall, former member, U.S House of Representatives (D-Colo.)
  • Mike McKevitt, former member, U.S, House of Representatives (R-Colo.)
  • William D. Ford former member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Mich.)
  • Mo Udall, former member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Ariz)
  • Byron Rogers, former member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Colo.)
  • John Patrick Williams, former member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Mont.)
  • Paul Laxalt, former Nevada governor and U.S. Senator (R-Nev.)
  • Charles Brannan former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President H. Truman
  • Oscar Chapman former U.S. Secretary of Interior under President H. Truman
  • John Arthur Love, former Gov. of Colorado and Dir. of U.S. Energy Policy under President Nixon.
  • M. Javad Zarif, former Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations
  • George W. Casey, Jr., U.S. Army General and former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq
  • Mary Cheney, Political Activist Daughter of former Bush VP Dick Cheney
  • Alvin Wiederspahn, former member of both houses of the Wyoming legislature and prominent Cheyenne attorney and historical preservationist
  • Peter Groff, President, Colorado Senate
  • Terrance Carroll, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives
  • Susan Waltz, chair, International Executive Committee, Amnesty International
  • Ibrahim A. Assaf, Finance Minister, Saudi Arabia

Business and Industry



  • Eric Alexander, scaled Mt. Everest with first blind climber to summit
  • Glenn Anderson NHL Hall of Famer and who scored 498 career NHL goals and won six Stanley Cups
  • Jerome Biffle, 1952 Olympic gold medalist in the long jump
  • Vince Boryla 1948 US Olympic Gold medalist, NBA player, head coach and long-time NBA executive
  • Tyler Bozak, hockey forward with Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Chris Butler, hockey defenseman with Buffalo Sabres
  • Matt Carle, hockey defenseman with Philadelphia Flyers, 2007 NHL all-Rookie team and 2006 Hobey Baker Award winner
  • Suzy Chaffee, former Olympic, World Cup and professional freestyle skier
  • Kevin Dineen, former NHL all-star player and current coach, Portland Pirates (AHL)
  • Wade Dubielewicz, goaltender with Minnesota Wild hockey team
  • Sam Etcheverry, Canadian Football Hall of Fame quarterback
  • Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin Two-time U.S. Olympic medalist Luge Pair
  • Merle Harmon Sports Broadcaster, ABC and NBC TV, plus many MLB and NFL teams
  • Michelle Kwan, World Champion Figure Skater, Graduated June 2009.
  • Cliff Koroll, former Chicago Blackhawks coach and winger (11 yrs)
  • Keith Magnuson, former Chicago Blackhawks coach and defenseman
  • Peter Mannino, goaltender with Chicago Wolves AHL, played for New York Islanders in 2008-2009
  • Bill Masterton, former Minnesota North Star, The NHL's Bill Masterton Trophy is named in his honor
  • Peter McNab, Former NHL hockey player, current color analyst for the Colorado Avalanche
  • Craig Patrick, former Pittsburgh Penguins executive vice president/general manager
  • Gregg Popovich, Head Coach, NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs
  • Dan Schatzeder, winning pitcher of Game 6 of the 1987 World Series
  • Paul Stastny, forward, Colorado Avalanche, NHL, runner up for 2006-2007 Rookie of the Year
  • Brock Trotter, hockey forward with Montreal Canadiens
  • Phil Heath, IFBB pro bodybuilder

Arts and Letters

See Also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ University of Denver (August 1, 2008). "University of Denver - The Look of Campus". Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  3. ^ University of Denver. Fast Facts about the University of Denver. Retrieved on 2009-02-04.
  4. ^ Denver Neighborhoods (Statistical) Map. City and County of Denver. Retrieved on August 25, 2006
  5. ^ CollegeBoard, University of Denver. 2009
  6. ^ Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2009). "Academic Ranking of World Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  7. ^ Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2009). "Ranking of North & Latin American Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  8. ^ The Times (2009). "World University Rankings". The Times Higher Educational Supplement. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  9. ^ "National Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2009. U.S. News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  10. ^ Business Week Undergrad Business Rankings 2008
  11. ^ U.S. News 2009 Law School Rankings
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Study Abroad". 
  14. ^ "The University of Denver Law Students Win National Mock Trial Competition in New Orleans". 
  15. ^ University of Denver Daniels School of Business (March 17, 2010). Grad Profiles - University of Denver Daniels School of Business. Web Site.
  16. ^ Daniels College of Business (September 17, 2007). Wall Street Journal Rankings : Daniels College of Business : University of Denver. Press release.
  17. ^ DU Today: Chancellor issues decision on student effort to "bring back Boone"
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Effort to identify new 'Pioneer' symbol kicks off
  26. ^

The following references are sorted in alphabetical order.

External links

Coordinates: 39°40′42″N 104°57′44″W / 39.67833°N 104.96222°W / 39.67833; -104.96222


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