March 25, 2014—The University of Denver announced today the receipt of a $17 million gift from philanthropists Anna and John J. Sie. The donation will support the University's Josef Korbel School of International Studies through the construction of a 43,000 square foot building and marks the largest single private gift in the Josef Korbel School's 50-year history.
"Anna and I are both immigrants to the United States and we understand the importance of global education and engagement. It is not only the cornerstone of world peace but also economic advancement," said John J. Sie. "With what Josef Korbel and his family have built, we believe the Korbel School is poised to be one of the top three schools in the world preparing future global leaders. We are proud to be able to support Ambassador Hill in this important endeavor."
"My father, Josef Korbel, was a renowned diplomat and pioneering scholar in the field of international studies. I'm very proud that his legacy lives on in the Josef Korbel School," said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. "My sister Kathy, brother John and I are very impressed with the direction of the School and we thank Anna and John Sie for honoring our father's legacy with their generous gift, which will greatly benefit students of international affairs for generations to come."
John J. Sie, founder and former chairman of Starz Entertainment Group LLC and former member of the University of Denver's Board of Trustees, along with his wife Anna, previously donated $5.5 million to the Josef Korbel School to build the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy in honor of John's father, a distinguished Chinese diplomat.
"The entire Josef Korbel School community is thrilled and humbled by the Sie family's ongoing commitment to our students and the future of the Korbel School," said Ambassador Christopher Hill, dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. "With their support, we will continue our ascent as a leading school of international affairs and as the epicenter for international studies in the Western U.S."
Robert Coombe, chancellor of the University of Denver, echoed Hill's sentiments, "We are truly grateful for Anna and John Sie's commitment to the University of Denver. This gift comes as the University celebrates its sesquicentennial, and their continued leadership and collaboration ensures that the University will widen its international impact and enter the next 150 years preparing students to meet the challenges of our ever-changing world with effective and innovative solutions."
The new building will adjoin the School's existing Cherrington Hall and the Sié Chéou-Kang Center to form the Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex. University Architect Mark Rogers and architectural firm Anderson Mason Dale are collaborating on the final design, with input and guidance from the Sie family. It will feature several signature University of Denver elements including multi-century load-bearing stone masonry and a tower that will become a new landmark on the University's skyline and a prominent feature of Denver's landscape. Furthermore, the top floor of the building will house preeminent presentation facilities where the University of Denver and the Josef Korbel School will welcome dignitaries from around the globe—bringing world leaders to Denver and the Rocky Mountain West. Ground breaking for the building will take place in late summer of 2014, and construction is scheduled to be completed by December 2015. The University is in the process of selecting a construction firm.
Aside from providing additional physical space, the new facilities will allow the School to significantly enhance the use of technology across its graduate and undergraduate programs.
"The future Korbel School classroom will be equipped with advanced technology that will add depth and breadth to lessons while also training students on the technological tools they will use in their future careers," said Ambassador Hill.
The donation by the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation is the lead gift in a five-year, $40 million fundraising campaign, The Future of Korbel: An Investment in Global Leadership, that will support endowed student scholarships, additional faculty positions, innovative uses of technology, and program expansions at the Josef Korbel School.