The need for child care on campus was evident in 1993 when a grass roots movement headed by employees Lisa Biro and Connie Stultz Busch gained momentum within the University of Denver community. It continued when the issue of child care was broached as s a top concern at the 1996 Women’s Conference, and the push for an early learning center on campus began in earnest when a feasibility committee was formed to study on-campus child care.
Chancellor Daniel Ritchie was enthusiastic about the project and encouraged the 22 member child care committee to pursue a developmental school-based model to echo the excellence put forth from other programs offered by the University of Denver.
Several options were explored including contracting with established day care facilities in the Denver area. Many quality early learning centers across the country were toured, and the Daniels College of Business was asked to complete an in-depth feasibility study. Faculty and staff were surveyed regarding their interest in an early childhood center on campus.
Many organizations and individuals interested in supporting education came forward to support this endeavor including: Donne and Sue Fisher, Joy Burns, Sharon Magness, Jean Yancey, Nancy Gary, Jeanette Baughman, The Rose Foundation, The Mabel Y. Hughes Foundation, The Anna and John Sie Foundation, to name a few.
After years of hard work and commitment, The Donne and Sue Fisher Early Learning Center opened its doors to 187 children aged six weeks to five years on October 4, 2000. Completed only weeks before opening, the state-of-the-art facility promised to be an exemplary early learning center for the University of Denver and the Denver community. Morgridge College of Education faculty members Dr. Gloria Miller and Dr. Toni Linder worked in conjunction with the first Executive Director, Michele Coates, multiple parent groups, DU staff members, and community partners a year before Fisher opened to secure grants for training and curriculum, and to identify needs on campus and in the community.
Fisher from its inception has been committed to providing an inclusive early learning experience to all children in the Denver community. With support from the Morgridge College of Education and the University of Denver, Fisher continues to offer a high quality early learning environment.