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Boettcher Scholars Reception

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Rebecca Chopp

Speech  •

Thank you, Provost Kvistad. Good evening, and welcome to all of you. I would like to echo Dr. Kvistad’s words of congratulations. You should take justifiable pride in becoming a Boettcher Scholarship finalist. This achievement reflects your impressive academic record and your incredible potential as scholars and citizens.

I understand that for most of you, this is your first visit to the University of Denver campus. If you didn’t have a chance to walk around campus before tonight’s reception, I encourage you to brave the cold and explore for at least a few minutes after tonight’s dinner. There are many beautiful buildings and paths on campus, including the gleaming copper dome of the Ritchie Center on the north end of campus. And just across from this building is Anderson Academic Commons, which combines the University’s main library with other academic services, including help in research, writing, math, physics and chemistry, digital media, teaching, technology and more. This beautiful and newly renovated space speaks to DU’s commitment to academic excellence, which is the foundation of the University.

What you won’t be able to see on a Saturday evening is the engagement between students and faculty that distinguishes the DU experience. We maintain a low faculty to student ratio and have been deliberate in attracting top-notch faculty who are recognized for their research and scholarship and who are also dedicated to collaborative teaching.

The University is currently in the midst of a community-wide process to imagine the future of the University. I have met with dozens of faculty members discussing what knowledge will look like in 2025 and beyond and how best to prepare students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. I have been continually impressed with the number of faculty who have told me about innovative ways they and their colleagues are engaging students.

Education is transformative. Wherever you choose to study, I am confident that the next four years will be ones in which you grow intellectually and personally. At DU, we intentionally create a transformative educational experience inside and outside the classroom.

In this room, we have future engineers and computer scientists, mathematicians and natural scientists, humanists and social scientists, business leaders and experts on international studies. But regardless of major, if you attend DU, you will take courses in all of those areas because our undergraduate common curriculum combines a liberal arts approach to education with an emphasis on practical skills that will help you in careers in the private sector, government, or nonprofit work.

DU students develop critical skills that help them in whatever careers or graduate studies they pursue: critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, the ability to challenge assumptions, gather research, and make sound judgments.

DU students also develop a deep sense of community and ethical leadership. As I meet with students all around campus, I find myself thinking over and over again, “These are the young people who are going to run the world.” And I’m relieved by that because our students demonstrate maturity, a commitment to social justice, and a passion for achieving.

DU students benefit from both the intentional community and individualized attention of a smaller liberal arts school and the opportunities of a research university with leading scholars and professional and graduate programs in business, engineering, law, social work, psychology, communications, and so many other fields.

If you choose to come to DU, you will benefit from experiences that bridge intellectual theory with real-world applications. We are rated number one in the country for sending undergraduate students abroad because we believe deeply enough in the benefits of studying abroad that we spend millions of dollars each year to ensure that undergraduates can go abroad for the same cost as a term at DU. Through internship experiences, service learning projects, and opportunities throughout Denver and beyond, our students grow in meaningful ways that prepare them for the world beyond college.

Thank you again for being here tonight. Congratulations on becoming finalists, and good luck with your interviews in the coming week.