June 12, 2014—The University of Denver, its Board of Trustees and Chancellor Search Committee today announced the selection of Dr. Rebecca Chopp as the new chancellor of the University of Denver. She comes from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where she has served as president since 2009. The chancellor-elect will begin work prior to the start of the University's fall quarter in September.
As president of Swarthmore, founded in 1864 outside Philadelphia and ranked the third-best liberal arts college in the United States by U.S. News and World Report, Chopp passionately upheld the College's longstanding commitment to admitting the most highly qualified students without regard for their financial circumstances. She supported innovative ways for faculty and students to interact at Swarthmore, and extended the distinct role the school plays in educating students to build inclusive communities and to become leaders motivated to contribute to the common good.
Prior to joining Swarthmore, Chopp served as president of Colgate University, where she led a comprehensive strategic plan that expanded the university's academic space, strengthened academic programs and developed new interdisciplinary centers. She also served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory University, and as a dean at Yale University.
"I am honored to serve the University of Denver as an institution equally devoted to scholarship and teaching and learning," said Chopp. "As chancellor, I look forward to engaging with faculty, students, staff, alumni and the DU trustees, along with the communities we serve, as we advance the University's vision to be a great private university in service to the public good, preparing students to live lives of meaning, purpose, and accomplishment."
The University community is invited to welcome the chancellor-elect on Friday, June 13th. The introductory ceremony will take place on the University campus inside the Anderson Academic Commons at 10 a.m., followed by other events, including a catered community reception.
With more than 30 years of academic experience, Chopp will succeed Robert Coombe who announced his retirement following a 33-year tenure with the University, including serving as chancellor for the last nine years. Chopp will become the University of Denver's first woman Chancellor.
"Rebecca Chopp is an imaginative and very effective leader who has extensive academic and administrative expertise," said University of Denver Board Chair Trygve Myhren. "Her demonstrated strategic leadership, commitment to student success and passion for development are the right combination at the right time for the University of Denver."
Chopp is a widely published author and editor. Importantly, her six books include Remaking College: Innovation and the Liberal Arts (2013), which she co-edited with Haverford College President Dan Weiss. Her other notable publications are The Praxis of Suffering: An Interpretation of Liberation and Political Theologies (1986) and The Power to Speak: Feminism, Language, God (1989). She has published more than 50 articles.
Chopp is the immediate past chair of the Centennial Conference President's Council. Previously, she served on the governing boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Survey of Student Engagement. Chopp has also served as a member of the executive committee of the Annapolis Group and the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching. She also served as president of the American Academy of Religion.
"Dr.Chopp's background and experience reflect the institutional values and mission of the University of Denver," said University of Denver Board Chair-Elect Douglas Scrivner who led the search committee. "She is a distinguished scholar who has demonstrated her strong commitment to the academic success of students and will serve the University community well."
A native of Kansas, Chopp received a B.A. from Kansas Wesleyan University, a M.Div. from St. Paul School of Theology, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Each of her alma maters has honored her with distinguished awards, and she has received six honorary doctorates from other colleges and universities. Chopp is married to Frederick Thibodeau. They have three sons, one living in Colorado, as well as other family who also reside in the state.