Realizing Our Mission
The chancellor and his cabinet work across the University to implement our vision and allow the community to live out our mission. Guided by DU IMPACT 2025, these leaders help shape our campus culture and the surrounding neighborhood, fostering diversity in work and life at DU. The cabinet members connect with students, faculty, staff, alumni and neighbors to guide their efforts toward creating an inclusive community where all can realize their aspirations.
Meet the Cabinet
Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor
Chancellor Dr. Jeremy Haefner brings nearly three decades of higher education leadership to DU. His accomplishments and areas of interests include enlarging research capacity, elevating student access and success, expanding international education, and prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusive excellence across campus. Previously, Dr. Haefner served as provost and executive vice chancellor here at DU and, before that, senior vice president for academic affairs at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
Mary Clark, provost and executive vice chancellor
Mary Clark serves as the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Denver. With expertise in the areas of higher education law, women’s legal history, legal ethics, judicial politics, and property, Provost Clark also holds an appointment as professor in the Sturm College of Law. Prior to being named provost at DU, Provost Clark served as interim provost, deputy provost, and dean of faculty at American University, associate dean for faculty & academic affairs at AU’s law school, director of its doctor of juridical science program, and acting director of its Law and Government Program.
Todd Adams, vice chancellor of student affairs
As vice chancellor for student affairs, Todd Adams will help shape a vital part of the DU student experience. He brings to DU a wealth of experience, including serving as associate vice president and dean of students at Northwestern for seven years as well as holding several leadership roles in student affairs at Duke. Todd is a highly respected and collaborative leader. He has built successful student-centered operations, and his vision and compassion for students is widely recognized and respected across the student affairs field. Todd is a longtime member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), where he has served as the national co-chair of the Fraternity & Sorority Knowledge Community. He also assisted in creating the highly selective institution Network for the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) and served as its inaugural co-chair. Todd earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and holds a doctorate from the Peabody School at Vanderbilt University.
Leslie Brunelli, senior vice chancellor for business and financial affairs
Leslie Brunelli is the senior vice chancellor for business and financial affairs at the University of Denver. Brunelli functions as the chief financial officer and develops operational and financial policies that deliver the resources, services and facilities necessary for the continued advancement of the University of Denver. In this role, she is responsible for coordinating the institutional mission and plans into operational reality. Brunelli has 22 years of experience in higher education, previously serving in multiple positions at the University of South Carolina including vice president for finance and chief financial officer. She is an appointed member and chair of the National Association of College and University Business Officers Research Universities Council (NACUBO) and has presented at NACUBO, SACUBO and APLU events. Brunelli is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a Master of Business Administration.
Paul Chan, vice chancellor for legal affairs & general counsel
As vice chancellor for legal affairs and general counsel, Paul Chan directs all legal services provided to the University. Paul attended DU as an undergraduate (BA 1981) before earning his law degree at the University of California, Berkeley. Paul has held numerous leadership positions in local and national bar associations, and has served on commissions and advisory boards for the Colorado Supreme Court, the Governor of Colorado, the Mayor of Denver and Denver Public Schools. He is active in charitable and cultural organizations, most recently serving as a trustee of the Boettcher Foundation.
Karlton Creech, vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations
As vice chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations, Karlton Creech is committed to building a legacy that champions academic performance as a key element of athletic success. Creech aims to maintain our athletics programs' history of success and to foster a culture that values winning the right way. Prior to joining DU, Creech was the director of athletics at the University of Maine.
Jerron Lowe, interim vice chancellor of human resources
An alumnus of our Sturm College of Law, Jerron Lowe serves as interim vice chancellor of human resources. He joined HRIC in March 2018, and has led the division’s transformation of a new strategic human resources service delivery model, introducing HR Partners to provide personalized support to each division. He strives to create an environment that allows every employee to achieve their full potential and to create a strong sense of community and shared purpose.
Renea Morris, vice chancellor for marketing and communications
As vice chancellor for marketing and communications, Renea Morris leads the strategy for developing a cohesive brand narrative and enhances the visibility of the University. With more than 25 years of marketing and communications experience in the private sector and in public higher education, Renea most recently served as chief marketing officer at Ohio University. Renea has a collaborative and engaging leadership style. With her team of marketing and communications professionals and by working across the university to build diverse stakeholder teams, Renea's constant aim is to find compelling and consistent ways to enhance the DU story.
Nancy Nicely, senior vice chancellor and chief of staff
Nancy Nicely works in partnership with numerous faculty, students and staff across campus to help meet the strategic goals of the chancellor on behalf of the University. As secretary to the Board of Trustees, Nicely works closely with the board and members of the senior administration. Additionally, she leads the implementation and communication of major campus and institutional initiatives on behalf of the chancellor. Nicely helps coordinate and strengthen the University's relationships and outreach with the broader public and community in the areas of marketing and communications, government and community relations, and conferences and special events. Previously, Nicely served as secretary of the college and vice president for communications at Swarthmore College.
Stephanie O'Malley (JD '89) , associate vice chancellor for government and community relations
Stephanie comes to DU from Denver’s Office of the Mayor, where she has served as senior executive officer for equity policy and operations in the administration of Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock since 2018. Prior to that, she served Mayor Hancock’s administration as executive director of the Department of Safety for five years as well as deputy chief of staff for two. Stephanie has held roles in Denver as an elected official, serving as county clerk and recorder from 2007-2011. In addition, she worked for three years in the administration of former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.
Valerie Otten, senior vice chancellor for university advancement
Valerie “Val” Otten oversees all University development and advancement operations, as well as global engagement. She partners closely with the Chancellor, deans and university leadership to build strong, sincere, and lasting relationships with the alumni, parents and friends. In addition, she is responsible for developing and strategically growing the advancement organization, including recruiting and retaining exceptional advancement staff, as we garner resources to support University priorities and move closer to the public launch of our next comprehensive campaign. Val has more than 25 years of experience as an advancement professional, including senior executive roles at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and University of California Santa Barbara.
Todd Rinehart, vice chancellor for enrollment
Our vice chancellor for enrollment, Todd Rinehart, leads the admission and financial aid departments, and has helped elevate the University’s undergraduate reputation with unprecedented growth in enrollment, academic quality and diversity. Rinehart is a noted speaker at local, regional and national conferences, covering key issues related to enrollment management, college admission and ethical practices. He oversees an admission and financial aid team that is committed to Inclusive Excellence, college access, student-centric service, and ethical and transparent processes.
Chris Whitt, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion
As vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, Dr. Christopher M. Whitt will champion and foster diversity at DU in all its forms — race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or ability, religious or spiritual beliefs, veteran status and political beliefs. Prior to joining DU, Whitt served as Creighton University’s inaugural vice provost of institutional diversity and inclusion. He holds a Ph.D. in government and politics from the University of Maryland, where he also earned an M.A. He earned a B.A. in political science at Salisbury University. Whitt is also recognized nationally for his teaching as a political science professor.
Gary Starling, interim vice chancellor and chief information officer
Our interim vice chancellor and chief information officer, Gary Starling, provides strategic direction for the use of information technology at the University and executive management of the unified IT organization. Prior to accepting the interim CIO role, Gary served as the university’s chief information security officer and assistance vice chancellor of IT infrastructure. Gary has also served as CISO in the healthcare industry and has an extensive background in government contracting and the airline industry.