Chancellor addresses faculty and staff during State of the University
Note: This article was updated on Feb. 8, 2021.
Building tomorrow’s university for tomorrow’s world. That was the message delivered by Chancellor Rebecca Chopp during this year’s State of the University address.
Nearly 800 faculty and staff listened to Chopp’s remarks inside Hamilton Gymnasium on Monday, Jan 29. “I am so thankful and excited by how we are building and creating One DU; how we are using knowledge to address the local and global challenges and expand our deep engagement in Denver and beyond,” she said.
Chopp began her speech by focusing on what she has learned about the University and the city of Denver in her three-and-a-half years as chancellor.
“Denver is a city of reinvention. A city that looks relentlessly forward. I have learned that this is a city and a university filled with practical optimists, tenacious doers and resilient builders,” Chopp said. “That spirit of ‘find a way or make a way’ is the unique inheritance of our university. It’s the spirit of ‘We are Denver.’”
It’s this history and legacy that has allowed DU to build and reinvent for the future and paved the way for DU IMPACT 2025. Chopp discussed how the University’s strategic plan is already coming to fruition by examining its four transformative directions.
She talked about how the Learning Effectiveness Program and Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence are helping students learn and lead in the 21st century. Chopp discussed how the Joseph and Loretta Law Institute for Arts and Technology is just one way DU is helping to create and expand knowledge that addresses society’s challenges. She highlighted how the Veterans Advocacy Project, the Barton Institute for Philanthropy, the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship & Learning (CCESL), and the Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equity (IRISE) are all partnering with the community to make a difference in Denver and the Rocky Mountain West. Finally, she talked about the success of DU’s student-athletes and coaches in fostering the notion of One DU.
“We have much to celebrate,” Chopp said. “But just like those builders and innovators who have gone before us, we’re not here to reminisce about past successes. The question we’re here to answer is — what comes next?”
Part of this is being answered by the Denver Advantage — a family of projects that addresses several pressing needs. A new Community Commons will replace the Driscoll Student Center and provide a gathering place for students, faculty, staff and the community. A new residence hall will provide much-needed accommodations for first-year students. And a new Pioneer Career Achievement Center will help students connect with more than 140,000 DU alumni worldwide.
“We have an amazing momentum across the University, in our state and around the country,” Chopp said. “We are gaining a reputation as a school that is reinventing higher education, maintaining quality and building on its strengths.”
The chancellor concluded her address by asking faculty and staff what their vision is for the future of higher education. She said little has changed in the past 150 years and that we must do better as we face an uncertain future.
“My commitment to you is that I’ll never shy away from tackling the complex issues about the future of higher education — and the future of DU — head on,” she said. “We can only achieve this kind of transformational change if we do it together, as one connected and networked DU community.”