Quote from Chancellor Chopp - 'Throughout our history, the University has demonstrated a genius for doing, for building, for achieving. You see it in our students, our faculty and our alumni.'

A Campus Created for Student Success We Call It the Denver Advantage

What does it take for students to succeed in the 21st century?

A talented and dedicated faculty, of course. Also, a curriculum that builds foundations and makes connections. And just as important, space that makes every student feel welcome and supported for their best efforts.

Recognizing that learning, creative collaboration and idea exchange are enhanced when the setting is right, the University is designing three important new spaces to enable programs for the 21st century’s brightest, most promising students. We call our approach the Denver Advantage.

Addressing these bright and promising young scholars in “Why Space Matters,” Liliana Rodriguez, vice chancellor for campus life and inclusive excellence, noted that the University underpins this commitment to their education and well-being through constant questioning:

“Are we preparing you for the challenges of your time? Are you enjoying the university experience? Do you feel you belong at DU? We know there are vast improvements we can make so that you answer those questions in a way that shows we are giving you the best experience academically and personally.”

High-achieving students from all different places and backgrounds

Undergraduate and Graduate enrollment numbers

Student success leads to professional opportunity

In any given year, students graduating from the University of Denver find that their newly minted degrees translate into opportunity.


Within six months of finishing their degree programs, 90 percent of undergraduate students have a job or are in graduate school.


For the Class of 2017, 78 percent of bachelor’s graduates reported participation in an internship, research project, required practicum, student teaching or co-op experience while attending DU.

Homeless Hackathon: Fresh ideas for a persistent problem

Sometimes an age-old problem requires some new thinking.

That was the premise behind the University’s first Homeless Hackathon, launched in June 2017 by DU’s Graduate School of Social Work.

Drawing on the skills of community members and graduate and undergraduate students from various backgrounds and disciplines, the event included an interdisciplinary brainstorming session designed to tap into fresh perspectives on homelessness. Hackathon participants worked in teams of six to prototype and pitch practical ideas to a panel of experts, all in under seven hours.

The winning result? A prototype app that can map shelter-bed availability and allow users to reserve beds through mobile phones or kiosks.

The long-term impact? A community of change leaders empowered to bring flexible and creative thinking to social challenges.

Homeless Hackathon: Fresh ideas for a persistent problem

In search of knowledge, solutions and a better future

With her 2012 book “Mapping the Nation,” professor Susan Schulten of the Department of History enthralled cartography aficionados and history buffs alike as she examined the role of maps as analytical tools in U.S. history.

Now, thanks to a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Fellowship, Schulten is on a fast track to finish a book that will illuminate the American story from 1492 to the present. In “The History of America in 100 Maps,” due on bookshelves in 2018, Schulten will help readers understand why maps matter and how they help us make sense of the past and, by extension, the present.

Smart cities offer one of the best hopes for fighting climate change. By putting new technologies to work optimizing the efficiency of operations and infrastructure, smart cities are good for municipal budgets and the environment.

But brainy burgs aren’t likely to take off without engineers to design and maintain them. That’s where the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Amin Khodaei comes in. His drawing board is full of plans for turbo-charging student interest in smart cities. In the works now: a forthcoming undergraduate summer program on developing power and energy systems.

The initiative complements DU’s strategic partnership with the city of Denver. Khodaei’s work is so promising that it has won funding from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates site program.

Stress is bad for pregnant women, and it’s especially bad for their unborn children.

Enter Elysia Poggi Davis and Pilyoung Kim of the Stress, Early Experiences and Development Research Center in the Department of Psychology. They are researching the psychobiological effects of maternal depression on children. Funded by a $3.4 million award from the National Institute of Mental Health, the study aims to identify specific coping techniques that pregnant mothers can use to protect their unborn children during times of extreme anxiety.

In search of knowledge, solutions and a better future

With plenty of feedback from the campus community and neighbors, University leaders began thinking about what kinds of spaces and opportunities are most likely to foster learning, collaboration and community. Their work resulted in a two-pronged approach that introduces three new spaces to our learning environment and that reimagines the campus as an integral part of a vibrant DU District.

The new buildings — scheduled to debut by summer 2020 — all focus on helping students build relationships among peers, neighbors and friends.


A residence hall for first-year undergraduate students will employ a cluster model to create a sense of belonging that supports better academic success.

A reimagined Community Commons converts the existing Driscoll Student Center into a campus hub where students, faculty and staff interact, collaborate and enjoy after-hours programming that complements the University’s holistic approach to learning.

A Career Achievement Center will provide students with world-class resources, career coaching and advising on internships, graduate schools and job placements. It will connect students with employers and DU’s growing global network of 140,000 alumni.

Across the disciplines, students aim high

Walid Hedidar, an anthropology and international studies major, dreams of being a change agent for what he considers much-needed education reform in Tunisia, his home country. He sees reform as critical for the promotion and maintenance of democratic systems and norms.

Supported by funding from an Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences internship grant, Hedidar journeyed to Tunisia to lead workshops for English teachers. His aim was to introduce them to transformative educational experiences new to their setting, including interactive, student-centered teaching methods.

In an opinion piece he published in the May 5, 2017, issue of the online publication Tunisia Live, Hedidar called on the nation’s education advocates to commit to serious change. Reform, he wrote, “occurs with our willingness as teachers to better our teaching methodologies, as administrators to better cooperate, as parents to monitor and report, and as students to resist and protest [for] our right to an empowering education. The cultural shift that is needed for education reform to happen in Tunisia requires the hard work and efforts of all members of the society. Now is the time for us to act.”

Maddy Drosendahl and Racheal Erhard, students of mechanical and electrical engineering, landed highly sought-after summer internships at NASA — an opportunity that allowed them to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it alongside working professionals.

To prepare for the galactic challenge, they worked in DU’s Unmanned Systems Research Institute (DU2SRI), helping to advance efficiencies in automated flight capabilities. Drosendahl focused on using back-and-forth oscillation to manipulate the fluid flow around a rotor or airplane wing, while Erhard researched ways to replace a conventional mechanical flap on a plane with a different design that is able to morph due to changes in flight.

For both students, the NASA experience combined professional opportunity with the chance to advance their work at DU2SRI. As Drosendahl put it, “I’m hoping to be able to take what I’m doing at DU to the next level.”

Molly Haugen, a doctoral student in chemistry and biochemistry, won the chance to talk science with Washington, D.C., policy makers with her essay on how her rural Minnesota childhood led to an interest in global science leadership. Haugen was one of five national winners in the Capitol Hill Visits Essay Contest, sponsored by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Haugen hopes the interaction with policy makers will enhance their understanding of the role science plays in solving problems. “The point was to show that the science community has a face,” she told the DU Newsroom after her trip. “As a chemist, I study trends in diesel emissions. I’d like to see an impact from my work and be an advocate for science and science communications.”

Across the disciplines, students aim high

A staff member’s commitment to business improvements pays off

As assistant director for Shared Services, Ulli Nierling (MA ’14) oversees payroll and accounts payable operations for the University, while at the same time identifying and creating best practices that drive business improvements.

Nierling’s hard work was behind the successful 2016 debut of Kronos, the new time and attendance system affecting roughly 5,000 employees. It streamlined the University’s reporting process for managers and their direct reports, increasing compliance along the way.

Nierling’s talent for improving processes and systems and for spearheading training and communication efforts was recognized in fall 2016, when she was presented DU’s Outstanding Service Award at an annual ceremony. The award recognizes a person who exemplifies DU’s mission and who demonstrates caring, responsiveness, accountability and courtesy in their day-to-day efforts.

A staff member’s commitment to business improvements pays off

Motiv8ed to #Skatefor8

From the season opener until the final showdown at the Frozen Four, the Denver men’s hockey team had a single goal: Bring home the team’s eighth national championship. On April 8, the Pioneers trounced the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs to deliver DU’s first NCAA hockey trophy since winning back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005.

Several Pioneers also came home with individual honors, including:

Team captain Will Butcher became the 37th winner of the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s highest individual honor. Butcher is the second Hobey Baker winner in DU history.

Junior goalie Tanner Jaillet received the Mike Richter Award for outstanding goaltender.

Jim Montgomery was named NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Coach of the Year.

Motiv8ed to #Skatefor8

To help shape the vision for community building and collaboration beyond campus borders, the University partnered with planning and architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross. This partnership involves working with neighbors to identify areas and occasions for blurring the boundaries between campus and the surrounding neighborhood.

Why so much emphasis on creating new spaces for student success and engagement?


“Space matters a great deal,” Rodriguez wrote. “Space is never neutral; it impacts you, your mood, your creativity and your social interactions. The physical environment whispers messages about what can and will happen there, about who has been there before you … .”

Empowered by Philanthropy:
A tradition of investing in student learning and outcomes

F.W. Olin Hall

Sturm Hall Renovation

Ricketson Law Building

Newman Center for the Performing Arts

Joy Burns Center

Craig Hall

Ruffatto Hall

Margery Reed

Denver Advantage Projects

Olin Hall

F.W. Olin Hall

F.W. Olin Hall gives the natural sciences a state-of-the-art home.

Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness and Daniels College of Business buildings

The Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness

The Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness offers athletics and fitness resources for the campus and community.

Daniels College of Business

The Daniels College of Business houses a school recognized internationally for its emphasis on ethics.

Sturm Hall

Sturm Hall Renovations

After its renovation, Sturm Hall emerged as a campus hub for programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Nelson Hall

King Lee and Shirley Nelson Residence Hall

With its dining hall and central courtyard, Nelson Hall provides spaces for student interaction.

stacked images of Ricketson Law and Newman Center for the Performing Arts

Frank H. Ricketson Jr. Law Building

The design of the Ricketson Law Building reflects the Sturm College of Law’s student-focused culture.

Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts

Music and theater students share their talents in state-of-the-art Newman Center performance venues.

Chambers Center

Merle Catherine Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women

The Chambers Center, home to the Colorado Women's College, serves as a hub for women’s empowerment and education.

Joy Burns Hall

Joy Burns Center

At the Joy Burns Center, students in the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management enjoy facilities that foster experiential learning.

Craig Hall

Craig Hall provides spaces for Graduate School of Social Work students to engage with the region’s professional social work community.

Nagel Hall

Nagel Hall was designed to foster a high standard for residence life on campus.

Ruffato Hall

Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall

At Ruffatto Hall, students and faculty in the Morgridge College of Education collaborate on groundbreaking research.

Anderson Academic Commons

Anderson Academic Commons

Home to the University Libraries, the Anderson Academic Commons serves as a resource for every academic unit.

Margery Reed Hall

Margery Reed Renovation

An updated Margery Reed Building houses various units of the Daniels College of Business.

stacked image of SIE International Studies building and the Ritchie School of Engineering building with a prominent dome

Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex

Students in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies come together for classes and conversation at the Sie International Relations Complex.

Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science Building

The Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science was built to foster a culture of innovation.

Denver Advantage project map with future buildings

Denver Advantage Projects

The Denver Advantage encompasses three new building projects, each designed to empower learning and community engagement.

The Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness

Daniels College of Business

Nelson Hall

Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women

Nagel Hall

Anderson Academic Commons

Sie International Relations

Ritchie School of Engineering
and Computer Science

1997 F.W. Olin Hall
1999 The Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness
Daniels College of Business
2000 Sturm Hall Renovations
2002 Nelson Hall
2003 Ricketson Law Building
2005 Joy Burns Center
Craig Hall
2008 Nagel Hall
2010 Ruffato Hall
2013 Anderson Academic Commons
2014 Margery Reed Renovation
2016 Sie International Relations Complex
Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science Building
2017 Denver Advantage