University of Denver

University of Denver

Denver, University of, at Denver; coeducational; United Methodist; chartered 1864 and opened as Colorado Seminary by John Evans and others. In 1880 it was reorganized as the Univ. of Denver. It maintains Chamberlin Observatory and, in cooperation with other institutions, high-altitude laboratories at Echo Lake and at Mt. Evans. There are centers for international education, Judaic studies, and Latin American studies.
The University of Denver (DU), founded in 1864 is the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States. The University of Denver is a coeducational, four-year university in Denver, Colorado. DU currently enrolls approximately 10,791 students, divided between graduate and undergraduate programs. The main campus is a designated arboretum and is located primarily in the University Neighborhood, about seven miles (11 km) south of downtown Denver.


The University was founded in 1864 as Colorado Seminary by John Evans, the former Governor of Colorado Territory, who had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln. 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 14,000+ foot mountain visible from the DU campus.

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" and the University of Kansas' "KU."

The 'Colorado Seminary' was founded as a Methodist institution, and struggled in the very early years of its existence. By 1880, the Colorado Seminary had been renamed the University of Denver. 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 15,000 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 had 10,791 students in 2007. Of the 10,791 students, 5,122 are undergraduates. The ratio of undergraduate women to men is 55:45. Of the 5,122 undergraduate students, 79.1% are White, 2.8% are Black, 7.1% are Hispanic, 6.7% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 1.2% are American Indian, and 3% are international. Around 60 percent of the student body is from outside the state of Colorado. For 2007 the average accepted high school student obtained a 3.63 GPA, SAT combined of 1204 and, an ACT of 26.59.


The University of Denver is currently ranked 85th among all public and private "National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report in a 2008 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.

The Sturm College of Law is currently ranked the 88th best Graduate Law School by U.S News in a 2009 ranking.

In a 2006/2007 survey performed by the College of William and Mary and published by Foreign Policy magazine, the 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.

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


  • Daniels College of Business
  • Sturm College of Law
  • The Women's College
  • University College
  • Morgridge College of Education


  • 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


  • Conflict Resolution Institute
  • Intermodal Transportation Institute

Institute for Public Policy Studies


  • Graduate Tax Program
  • DU-Iliff Joint Program

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

Aside from the Strum College of Law, the University operates on a quarter system, sometimes known as trimester academic calendar; comprising of 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. The University of Denver has more than 60 percent of its undergraduate student body study abroad before graduation, placing it second in the nation among all doctoral and research institutions in percentage of undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs.

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. For the second straight year, a DU show has been held for regional honors.

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. 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.

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.

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, further establishing DU's IPPS as the premier graduate public policy program in the Rocky Mountain West region of the country.

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), ensuring that most accepted students will find 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 campus of DU that teaches preschool through 8th grade. 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. 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 USD 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.

The Daniels College of Business was completed in September 1999 at the cost of $25 million dollars. The business school has been nationally recognized by organizations such as Forbes magazine, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal where it is ranked 7th in the nation for producing students with high ethical standards.

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 with the finest acoustics in the region, 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.


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 7 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. Skiing is another strong sport at Denver, with 19 NCAA titles (more than any other school) including the most recent in 2008 and as well as three consecutive NCAA titles from 2001 to 2003. DU has also seen success in both their golf and tennis programs, as well as the women's gymnastics team. The DU men's and women's lacrosse teams have been at the top of their divisions, and attract a large growing lacrosse hub to Denver and Colorado. The men's lacrosse team has made it to the NCAA tournament twice in its history, losing both times in the first round to the University of Maryland.

Fight Song

The fight song for the University of Denver is Fairest of Colleges. The lyrics are:
D-rah! E-rah! N-rah! V-E-R 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.


Chancellors of the University of Denver :

Notable Alumni

Politics, Government and Military

Business and Industry



  • Glenn Anderson NHL Hall of Famer and who scored 498 career NHL goals and won six Stanley Cups
  • Bill Masterton, former Minnesota North Star, The NHL's Bill Masterton Trophy is named in his honor
  • Keith Magnuson, former Chicago Blackhawks coach and defenseman
  • Paul Stastny, forward, Colorado Avalanche, NHL, runner up for 2006-2007 Rookie of the Year
  • Kevin Dineen, former NHL all-star player and current coach, Portland Pirates (AHL)
  • Craig Patrick, former Pittsburgh Penguins executive vice president/general manager
  • Jerome Biffle, 1952 Olympic gold medalist in the long jump
  • Eric Alexander, scaled Mt. Everest with first blind climber to summit
  • Gregg Popovich, Head Coach, NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs
  • Sam Etcheverry, Canadian Football Hall of Fame quarterback
  • Dan Schatzeder, winning pitcher of Game 6 of the 1987 World Series
  • Matt Carle, hockey defenseman with Tampa Bay Lighting, 2007 NHL all-Rookie team and 2006 Hobey Baker Award winner

  • Michelle Kwan, World Champion Figure Skater (currently enrolled)
  • Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin Two-time U.S. Olympic medalist Luge Pair
  • Peter McNab, Former NHL hockey player, current color analyst for the Colorado Avalanche
  • Vince Boryla 1948 US Olympic Gold medalist, NBA player, head coach and long-time NBA executive

Arts and Letters



The following references are sorted in alphabetical order.

External links

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