Chancellor sees DU on stable ground with a busy year ahead
October 5, 2011
By: Chase Squires

Coombe ConvocationDU Chancellor Robert Coombe addresses Convocation on Oct. 5. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Chancellor Robert Coombe said the University of Denver is in an excellent position to move forward as he outlined five strategic goals for the coming year at the annual Convocation event Oct. 5.

Chief among those goals is continuing to recruit outstanding students and helping those students cover the costs of their education. Coombe told some 1,000 faculty and staff members at the event that DU now competes with the nation’s top private universities, many of which have larger endowments from which to draw student financial aid. DU is committed to attracting a bright, engaged and diverse group of students, and building resources to help students meet financial needs is key, he said.

Other goals include a renewed focus on campus diversity. That means more than just recruiting a diverse student body and faculty, but also integrating those elements into campus life. Coombe said diversity must be built on inclusion if the campus is to grow and benefit from a variety of viewpoints, beliefs, perspectives and cultures.

Senior leadership, he said, is aware of a growing gap between salaries at DU and other institutions. Insuring that faculty and staff salaries are competitive in the market will allow DU to recruit and retain top faculty and staff, and the University is committed to addressing the gap, Coombe said.

There also will be a renewed focus on the sciences in the coming year, he said. The nation is turning out a new generation of scientists and engineers, and DU needs to be ready offer excellent programs for students seeking new skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That effort includes attracting and retaining the best faculty and providing the facilities they need to teach and research.

“We have to be as competitive as we can possibly be in those areas,” he said.

And after a quiet phase, the University is moving forward with its ASCEND fundraising campaign. Since its inception in the 2006–07 academic year, the campaign has raised some $300 million. The University will press ahead with the campaign until 2014 — DU’s 150th anniversary.

Building a robust endowment will allow the University to fund new facilities, and build scholarships that help students afford the cost of higher education.

Nguyen joined the National Honor Society and says the Bridge Project helped her achieve confidence and success.

The University today is in a strong place, the Chancellor said. Its finances are solid, the first-year class is filled with bright, high-achieving students, and the campus continues to boom with new construction and renovation projects.

“DU is incredibly stable right now,” he said. “The future is filled with opportunity. The door is wide open for us.”

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Ascend — The Campaign for the University of Denver