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Celebrating Jim Griesemer

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Mary Clark

Announcement  •


Dear Members of the DU Community,

Jim Griesemer
Jim Griesemer

I have known Jim Griesemer for a short while, but it didn't take long to learn of his immense impact on the University of Denver. So, it was bittersweet when I heard that after more than 30 years at DU, Dr. Griesemer is retiring from his current position, director of the University's Strategic Issues Program (SIP).

"He wasn't a good hire, he was a great hire—the best," says Chancellor Emeritus Daniel L. Ritchie, who brought Dr. Griesemer to DU as the chief financial officer when the fiscal future of the university was uncertain. Dr. Griesemer's steady leadership helped the university recover when it appeared as though the university was in a death spiral caused by a downturn in Colorado's economy and declining enrollment.

One of Dr. Griesemer's final projects is an oral history of that time called A Renaissance in Crimson and Gold. In it, Dr. Griesemer interviews some of the people who helped DU recover, including two former chancellors, Dan Ritchie and Dwight Smith, and two of my predecessors as provost, Bill Zaranka and Gregg Kvistad.

The series is a fascinating look at how difficult decisions are made in higher education. It is typical of in-depth reports that Dr. Griesemer produced as the head of the Strategic Issues Program.

The panels looked at creative solutions to Colorado's and the nation's most pressing problems, including immigration reform, campaign finance reform, rethinking the state's constitution, and policies for fiscal sustainability.

“Jim had incredible foresight; the recommendations in those reports have withstood the test of time,” says Chancellor Jeremy Haefner. “He continues to be such a thoughtful and wise steward for DU, including on our Board of Trustees.”

And it seems in every situation in which Dr. Griesemer provides leadership, there is a success. From 1994 to 2004, he served as dean of the Daniels College of Business. During his tenure, the college increased enrollment by 70 percent, quintupled its endowment, constructed a state-of-the-art building, expanded degree programs, and gained a national reputation for excellence.

"It was under Jim's leadership that the Daniels College of Business became what it is today, a top-ranked business school," says Dean Vivek Choudhury.

"On behalf of all the students, faculty, and staff who continue to benefit from Jim's legacy, I would like to say thank you and wish Jim all the best in this next chapter of his life," Choudhury says.

While Dr. Griesemer is stepping down, he's not stepping away. As Chancellor Haefner noted, he will remain a valued member of DU's Board of Trustees. For that, I am thankful that we all will have someone of his caliber and institutional knowledge to call on for advice and guidance. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Griesemer on what I know is an exciting time in his life.


With warm regards,

Mary Clark

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor