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DU Celebrates its Founding

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Theresa Ahrens

Condoleezza Rice and Ralph J. and Patricia Nagel to be honored

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Founders Celebration

The University of Denver kicks off its 153rd Founders Celebration on Wednesday, March 1 and concludes with the Founders Gala on Thursday, March 2. The celebration — whose theme this year is Finding our Founders — will include faculty forums and panels, community festivities featuring Lamont School of Music alumni band The Wash Park Band, and the annual gala, which this year will honor DU alumna Condoleezza Rice and generous DU supporters Ralph and Trish Nagel.

Condoleeza Rice

“Founders Celebration is a time for our community to acknowledge the contributions across the generations that have laid the foundation of this great university,” said DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. “As we honor our past, we look toward a bright future.”

The University will honor former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with the International Achievement Medal bestowed upon individuals or families who have had an immeasurable impact on the world and whose global leadership and civic engagement exemplifies the University’s values.

“Dr. Rice is a distinguished alumna whose work has had an extraordinary impact on our country and the world,” said Chancellor Chopp. “We are pleased to award her with the inaugural International Achievement Medal for her continued global leadership in civic engagement.”

Ralph and Trish will be honored with the Founders Medal — the University’s highest honor — presented to those whose transformative leadership and engaged philanthropy represent the pinnacle of the University’s mission.

Ralph and Trish Nagel

The Nagels are deeply involved in the Denver community and their visionary leadership is responsible for driving progress in the city and state. They founded the Meridian Retirement Communities with a goal of challenging the status quo with an innovative "social" model of aging. Additionally, Ralph became deeply involved in higher education serving as an honorary trustee on the University of Denver’s Board and also as Chairman of the Colorado Commission of Higher Education. Trish launched the groundbreaking Star Catchers® Experience program for four to six-year-olds that provides a variety of opportunities to practice reading and critical thinking skills and allows them to grow as individuals.

“Ralph and Trish Nagel are dear friends of the University whose generosity is limitless,” said Armin Afsahi, vice chancellor for Advancement. “It is a pleasure to recognize them with the University’s highest honor for their unparalleled commitment to philanthropy and civic leadership. Their enduring impact exemplifies the University of Denver’s mission to be a great private university dedicated to the public good.”

To learn more about the Founders Celebration and to find out how you can participate in the two day tradition, click here.
To read more about the impact Ralph and Trish Nagel have had on DU and the Denver community, click here.