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Office of the Chancellor

About the Office

A History of University Chancellors

Founded in 1864 as the Colorado Seminary, the University of Denver has been shaped by a distinguished group of visionary leaders.

Since 1880, the University has been directed by a chancellor working in conjunction with a board of trustees, as well as faculty, staff and alumni. To date, the University has been led by 18 chancellors:

Chancellor Term(s)
Rebecca Chopp September 2014-present
Robert Coombe July 2005-June 2014
Daniel L. Ritchie July 1989-June 2005
Dwight Morrell Smith January 1984-July 1989
Ross Pritchard October 1978-January 1984
Maurice Bernard Mitchell September 1967-March 1978
Chester M. Alter August 1953-July 1966
Albert Charles Jacobs November 1949-March 1953
Alfred Clarence Nelson, interim October 1948-November 1949
James F. Price April-October 1948
Ben Mark Cherrington November 1943-February 1946
Caleb Frank Gates March 1941-November 1943
February 1946-August 1947
David Shaw Duncan September 1935-March 1941
Frederick Maurice Hunter July 1928-September 1935
Heber Reece Harper November 1922-January 1927
Henry Augustus Buchtel December 1899-September 1920
William Fraser McDowell 1890-June 1899
David Hastings Moore October 1880-June 1889


Note: Gaps in the chronology reflect periods when the University was led by an acting chancellor.