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2016 Media Releases

University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School Receives $1M Gift for New Public Opinion Research Center

March 15, 2016 – A new survey research center has been created at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies with a $1 million gift from public opinion research pioneer and DU alumna Helen Crossley. The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research will be Colorado's leading academic center for survey research. It will train students in American public opinion as well as international public opinion related to international policy issues.

Helen Crossley earned a master's degree from DU in 1947 with an emphasis in survey research, and enjoyed a long career in public opinion research, mostly in the area of international affairs. The new center is dedicated to her and her father, Archibald Crossley, one of the founders of survey research.

The Crossley Center will be led by Floyd Ciruli, a well-known Colorado public opinion pollster. Ciruli is the center's director and an adjunct professor of public opinion and international policy. Ciruli noted that the new center is part of the Josef Korbel School's public policy initiatives that prepare students for management and leadership roles in international affairs professions.

"We are gratified with Helen Crossley's generous gift and excited to launch the Crossley Center," said Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, dean of the Josef Korbel School. "As the center grows, it will become instrumental in helping students and the greater community understand American public opinion related to international affairs, and international public opinion. Both are key in developing international policy and working effectively with individuals in other countries."

The Crossley Center and the generous gift from Helen come at the perfect time in DU's history, as it unfolds its strategic plan: DU Impact 2025. "The University is continuously amazed at the generosity of its alumni," said DU Chancellor, Rebecca Chopp. "The Crossley Center will be able to apply this donation towards the incredibly important research needed for aiding in policy development and enhancing the student learning experience."

Archibald Crossley began his career in research in the 1920s working in the field of radio and helped create the ratings system still used today. He was a pioneer in survey sampling techniques and statistical methods and started the long-lasting Crossley Poll. In 1936, working for the Hearst Newspapers and joined by George Gallup and Elmo Roper representing other media outlets, Crossley correctly predicted the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The three high-profile pollsters established polling's credibility and laid the groundwork for it becoming a national institution. Later in his life, Crossley dedicated himself to international public opinion and strongly believed polling was valuable "to discover the basis upon which conflict can be eased and good will advanced among peoples of the world."

Both Archibald Crossley and Helen Crossley were instrumental in establishing the field's professional organizations and its ethical and scientific standards. They were founding members of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the World Association of Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) and the National Council on Public Polls (NCPP).