The year ended June 30 was a good one for the University of Denver, with significant progress made in a number of areas at the heart of our mission and several major milestones reached along the way.
The absolute quality of the academic enterprise at DU continued its rapid growth. The students enrolled in fall 2010 were, once again, the most academically capable in our history, surpassed only by those who have enrolled in fall term of the current year. Our ability to attract great students has gained tremendous momentum over the past years, as applicant pools among potential undergraduate and graduate students have grown dramatically to record levels. Our national and international reach continued to grow as well, adding to the diversity of the University community. We continued to expand our faculty, adding new positions that brought our student-to-faculty ratio to 12:1 overall and to 9:1 for undergraduates. The DU community has developed tremendous intellectual vitality, depth and creativity in both its teaching and learning and its scholarship and research. It is a wonderful time to be at DU— as a student, a scholar or a staff member.
The year also produced good financial results. In spite of stagnating national and worldwide economies, the University continued to operate from a stable financial platform. Substantial working capital and excellent liquidity enabled us to move resources according to our strategic needs, and once again, the year ended with a solid operating margin. Our endowment grew to an all-time high, fueled by new gifts and investment growth. Our Ascend campaign ended the fiscal year at $285 million in gifts and commitments. Ascend is now closing in on the $300 million figure, with the better part of three years remaining until its conclusion in 2014, the 150th anniversary of our founding.
The University continued to serve the public good and enrich public life, applying our intellectual capital to major issues pressing on the lives of ordinary citizens and presenting a broad array of talent among our students and faculty members. DU also played a major role in economic, educational, legal and cultural reform efforts, working hard to inform the public from the position of a credible neutral within the maelstrom of change.
While all of this speaks to a wealth of productive work at our University, the real measure of success is in the impact we have on the minds and hearts of our students and on the lives they lead as alumni. The students of the class of 2011, both graduate and undergraduate, reflect some of the best DU has to offer America and the world. The contents of this report testify to their capability and commitment.
Robert D. Coombe
Universities are optimistic places. They’re about solving problems, exploring new frontiers and creating knowledge. Most important, they’re about preparing students for lives and careers of meaning.
At the University of Denver, our optimism is ascending—with good reason. We’re enrolling some of the most capable students in the world, students destined to make remarkable contributions to their communities and professions. Our resources are growing, and so is our investment in excellent people and programs. Anticipating the world our students will enter after graduation, we are breaking down silos and crossing disciplines so we can further liberate their minds.
We recognize that the U.S. model for higher education is mature and time-tested. We also understand that students’ needs and the manner in which they process information are changing. As we respond to these developments, we won’t modify our educational model abruptly or hastily. But we will carefully integrate new advancements in mass communication technologies and brain biomechanics, as well as evolving learning methodologies driven by disruptive technologies.
Our disciplined attention to adopting new knowledge will benefit students in many ways. We are researching how to improve comprehension and accelerate the speed of learning. In time, we hope to cut the time students spend pursuing their degrees. That, in turn, can reduce costs and make even the highest quality education more affordable.
In athletics, we’ve positioned our programs for new challenges by aligning with very competitive conferences. In 2011, the Pioneers men’s lacrosse team played in the Final Four after dominating the newly formed Eastern College Athletic Conference. Our hockey team will begin action with the recently created National Collegiate Hockey Conference in the 2013–14 season. Basketball and other Pioneers teams will begin playing in the high-profile Western Athletic Conference in 2012–13.
Finally, we’ve launched an ambitious fundraising campaign, slated to conclude in October 2014 as we celebrate our 150th anniversary. Already, thanks to your generosity, we’re more than halfway toward our goals. These are aimed at strengthening our intellectual infrastructure and building our financial aid pool so that a DU education is possible for students of all incomes and backgrounds.
Surrounded by ever-escalating change, no university can rest on its laurels. Although we take the time to celebrate our many successes, our energies are channeled toward ascent. Our students and alumni deserve no less.