Chancellor Rebecca Chopp reunited about 800 DU faculty and staff on Jan. 29 for lunch as she made her annual State of the University address. Marking three-and-a-half years as the university’s chancellor, Chopp began her speech by acknowledging the qualities she’s discovered during her time in the city of Denver and at DU. She described its people as, “relentless optimists, tenacious doers and resilient builders.”
She sees these qualities as assets that will bring forth a brighter future in the years to come for the university. Before discussing the goals for the upcoming years, Chopp looked back at the influential milestones of DU’s history. Chopp reminded the audience of DU’s renowned departments such as the Daniels College of Business (which was one of the nation’s first business schools in 1881) and the Graduate School of Social Work at DU which, according to Chopp, is currently ranked as one of the top 20 social work schools in the nation.
Along with its humble origins, when DU was originally called the Colorado Seminary, and the schools earlier mentioned successes, Chopp also acknowledged the tragedies and trying times of the university. “Very much on our mind is the tragedy of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe people. The land upon which DU now stands was once the land that was home to generations of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe. The forced migration and broken promises made to the natives is one of the great tragic flaws in our country and we live daily thinking, never forgetting, healing, trying to rebuild; never forgetting,” she said.
“Every institution has a storied past,” said Chopp as she brought up the DU Impact 2025 plan which marks the outline for the future for the university by continuing to push the development of the school forward and preparing students for the 21st century. “That’s where we’re at in history right now: building on our past but willing to look radically at changes,” she said. Chopp then proceeded to outline the plan’s four objectives.
The Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equity (IRISE) and the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) are among the many organizations in DU that are helping address the challenges in the society on a local and global level.
Chopp concluded her praises by celebrating the DU Athletics program. “Our student athletes represent DU with pride and honor. They represent what DU excellence is about […] the ability to take risks, to work hard, to fail; yes occasionally to lose a game but to get up. It exemplifies what we’re about never just athletics but also academics, also leadership.”
Finally, the chancellor rhetorically asked guests, “what comes now?” To which she responded by mentioning DU’s big picture plan “Denver Advantage”—a series of projects curated with the help of community members bringing to light the changes they would like to see on campus. The closest change to come is the new community commons which will replace the Driscoll Student Center.
To the faculty and staff in attendance, Chopp urged them to speak up regarding changes they hope to see for DU in order to continue the university progress for years to come.