The Denver Difference is our call to action

Higher education is facing a defining moment. It’s time to rethink what universities can really promise students and society. Let’s get going.

We start by renewing trust and respect. That means critical reflection and reimagining our approach, our culture – and our value. We deliver a new kind of university experience that’s meaningful and relevant. And we herald a true renaissance, transforming and enriching people’s lives on campus, in our communities, and around the globe.

While no single institution can provide all the answers – one can lead in the right direction. That’s what DU is doing.

We’re already on a different track, pragmatically preparing young people to succeed in the urgent future they face. And doing all we can for the public good all along the way.

We’re breaking from tradition, offering a path for others to follow. We’re emphatically optimistic about where we’re headed. And we're enthusiastic about our prospects.

From our perspective, the future of higher education is bright. And full of potential.

From Our Chancellor

At the University of Denver, we took a good, long look at the future of higher education and thought: we can do better.

So, we’re challenging conventional thinking.

We’re doing higher education our way. Holistically. We’re developing the whole student, focusing on intellectual growth, life purpose, character, and well-being.

We’re redefining the promise of higher education. Preparing a new kind of leader and world citizen for what’s ahead. Solving problems and creating new knowledge that directly improves the human condition. Because young people coming up deserve a better future. And what DU can do will help them to solve the toughest challenges they face.

True to our Rocky Mountain West can-do spirit, we’re rolling up our sleeves to do the hard work of making a difference now.

With open hearts and minds, we’re actively solving societal complexities through visionary leadership, research, scholarship, and strong partnerships.

I’m grateful for your interest and support as we set the new standard for higher education in the 21st century. This campaign is the turning point that establishes our approach as the model to match. It makes transformation possible – and raises everyone’s hopes for the future.

We’re The Denver Difference. Let’s show the world what DU can do.

Jeremy Haefner

DU Difference-Makers

Promoting democratic ideals in a world that desperately needs them, through programs like the Democracy Summit, Denver Dialogues and Debate Across the Curriculum.

The world-class via ferrata at the Kennedy Mountain campus is the first of its kind on any college campus worldwide.

At DU, we strive to be known for the impact we make in the world. And for our character as authentically good individuals who care about others, our future and our planet.


We’re challenging convention

We’re difference-makers. Changing the course of higher education. Redefining what a top university is and does in today’s world.
Visionary leadership and societal problem-solving are in our DNA.
From advancing K-12 education and mental health practices to affordable housing and sports science innovations, our teacher-scholars are the engines of discovery and success. We’re working to solve society’s most pressing challenges – now and for the future.
In classrooms, labs, and through experiential learning, we’re preparing students to navigate complexities – whether climate change or hyper-charged political climates – that no other generation has grappled with.
At DU, we’re doing right by our students.

DU Difference-Makers

Advancing ethical stewardship in the art world and framing the conversation around repatriating looted artwork

The Newman Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural anchor for Denver and is acclaimed as one of the nation's finest university performing arts centers.


Thinking differently to achieve the extraordinary

We’re doing higher education differently, true to the optimism and can-do nature of the Rocky Mountain West.
Our faculty leads by example teaching students how to think, not what to think.
That’s the promise of our Four- Dimensional Experience (4D). It’s a bold, unique approach to higher education.
It means every student grows intellectually, expanding their curiosity and creativity, as well as their experience and expertise. They discover meaningful career paths and lives of purpose.
They explore who they are, building character and practicing the kind of reflective thinking that deepens learning. And they embrace all aspects of well-being to thrive physically, emotionally, and financially.
The 4D Experience is scaled for all students and personalized to each individual.

4D is the DU student experience

Two campuses
A world of perspective

Our Denver and Kennedy Mountain campuses further prepare students to go where their lives take them, immersing them in richer, deeper learning opportunities.
Our dual urban and mountain campuses offer an academic and character-enriching university experience that’s unlike any other in the US, perhaps the world.

We’re new kinds of leaders and world citizens. Daring to challenge the status quo with millions of intelligent, thoughtful decisions to answer what’s next.


Raising the bar for major universities

The Denver Difference campaign is our most ambitious yet. It sets us up as exemplars of how universities can deliver higher learning and contribute to society in the 21st century.
We’re a top-tier university, proud of our prominence
in research and athletics.
But these achievements are not the whole story. We are quietly making extraordinary differences every day. Doing more. Going further.
We impact Denver, Colorado, and the nation with interdisciplinary initiatives focusing on mental health, education, policy, international law, sport and human performance, affordable housing, democracy, sustainability, free expression, pluralism, and civil discourse.
We are breaking boundaries. We’re challenging ourselves, our limits, and our past to be better today than we were yesterday. And we never lose sight of our mission as a leading private institution dedicated to making the world a better place.
This is a legacy-making moment. It’s a pivotal time to achieve the extraordinary in higher education together.

DU Difference-Makers

Operating nine pro-bono legal clinics serving underrepresented individuals and communities as the undisputed leader in experiential legal education

DU’s Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging is changing the perception of aging and helping people live longer, healthier, vibrant and connected lives.


Establishing DU as the standard to match

DU is a university like no other. Our dedication to improving lives extends beyond our campuses or city. We’re knowledge generators. And the way we see it, it’s our responsibility to apply our research and scale our initiatives to benefit societal change and the public good.
This campaign is far-reaching: our goal is $1B.
It will establish DU as the model to emulate. It will open opportunities for our faculty and students to achieve their aspirations and ambitions.
Our campaign priorities are our people and the programs and places that facilitate their work.

We are a powerful force
Focusing on people and potential with transformational support, resources, and experience

We advance the human condition
Investing in programs to empower progress through research, scholarship, and action

DU rules Division 1 sports
Building championship programs while preparing student-athletes for careers of purpose

New knowledge through research
Recognized as a top R1 research university, we’re among an elite group of 146 in the nation

Our scholarships change lives
Opening the doors to a DU education – making the 4D Experience a reality for all students


We are a powerful force

Our campaign’s focus on people enables us to deliver transformational support, resources, and experience to unleash our promise to its fullest effect.
Students can bring their ambition to DU and graduate with the skills and ethical mindset to champion a better tomorrow. Likewise, faculty can pursue their passion to unlock human potential – in their classrooms, their programs, and their research.
Advisors/mentors guide students throughout their university careers as they develop new skills through 4D to solve life’s challenges and practice reflection for deeper learning.
Scholarships provide a path for high-achieving students to realize their dreams and goals. Your support dramatically expands our ability to bring exceptional talent to DU, build greater diversity, and broaden our worldview.
Our commitment to world- class faculty, bringing the best minds in their fields to DU, will be achieved through named and endowed chairs and professorships, funding for research and innovation, and fellowships and residencies.


Our programs advance the human condition

The Denver Difference empowers substantive and measurable progress toward a better future through research, scholarship, and action. Campaign investments enable faculty to share and scale the results of their work in communities nationwide.
We will be a beacon for democracy and free expression, pluralism, and civil discourse. This campaign galvanizes DU as the center of democratic engagement throughout the Rocky Mountain West.
Our research and thought leadership aims to strengthen democracy and lessen polarization. This initiative is already impacting our colleges, schools, region, and state.
We're focusing new initiatives on biomedical engineering, health equity, healthy aging, and education across the human lifespan. These initiatives build on DU’s considerable expertise in athletic performance, sports science, policy, and sports medicine – and position us as an undisputed leader in the field.


DU rules Division 1 sports

This is where world-class athletics meets world-class academics. Our athletic experience is known for both physical competition – and meaningful personal, social, and intellectual growth.
DU Pioneers are exemplars of the student-athlete model. Our athletics program boasts a 95% graduation success rate and consistently earns perfect scores across all teams from the NCAA in its annual Academic Progress Rate.
DU student-athletes are top competitors. We’re currently ranked thirteenth among U.S. universities in Division 1 team national championships.
Funding will advance our championship programs, while preparing our student-athletes for lives and careers of purpose.
Dramatic facility renovations and upgrades are being planned, helping our student- athletes excel on and off the field. Improved spaces will allow DU to continue recruiting and developing top student-athletes.
Support for scholarships, coaching, and programming will provide holistic support for the emotional and physical well- being of our student-athletes, character and leadership development, and performance opportunities that shape long- term thriving.


Our research generates new knowledge

We are the only private, top-tier R1 research university in the Rocky Mountain West. We have a diverse research portfolio and we are expanding our horizons.
Our proposed new STEM Horizons facility will amplify the interdisciplinary nature of modern STEM education through partnerships and collaborations. It increases research capabilities by expanding our life and health science laboratory space by nearly 25%, offers collaborative and interactive common spaces, and provides state-of-the-art teaching labs.
Investments in new endowed chairs, professorships, and fellowships will allow us to recruit and retain the best researchers in the country and expand already significant graduate and undergraduate research opportunities.
We envision a vibrant campus corridor for transformational science and technology exploration – with philanthropy enabling future renovations to the Seeley G. Mudd and Boettcher West science facilities alongside the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.


DU scholarships are life-changing

Help build our ability to open doors for the next generation of difference-makers. Scholarship philanthropy bridges the gap between ambition, merit, and equitable access.
It makes the full promise of DU’s 4D Experience a reality for all students.
We are dedicated to promoting access and excellence in the DU student body, and we must do more. When we succeed, we will ensure that talented students whose means are limited, but whose ability and ambition are limitless, have true opportunity to benefit from all this institution has to offer.
This is where philanthropy plays a critical role.
DU scholarships ensure that every student’s educational experience will be made richer thanks to the fact that they are surrounded by exceptional peers from different backgrounds, cultures, and places.

DU's groundbreaking programs and interdisciplinary initiatives are changing Colorado and our world


Our difference at work

At DU, we’re constantly proving our mettle as a world-class university for top faculty and high-performing students.
Faculty drive a great university. Inspired and inspiring professors come to DU to change lives and shape the future. They are leaders. Providing students with opportunities for real-world experience. And making significant contributions in their areas of work nationally and globally.
We’re showing the world what DU can do.

We’re doing higher education differently

We’re fiercely ambitious and forward-thinking, surpassing all expectations to redefine what success looks like and how to achieve it.


What you can do with DU

The Denver Difference campaign transforms the model for higher education in this country.
This transformation is big. It’s necessary. And it’s underway.
Your generosity prepares students for life: developing character-driven leaders and world citizens capable of thinking logically, creatively, and ethically, even in the most challenging circumstances.
It supports students – and faculty – with programs and facilities that enable them to make positive changes for society in their studies, work, and communities.
And your gift accelerates our mission as a private university dedicated to the public good.
There has never been a more exciting and optimistic
time to be involved. Explore philanthropic possibilities with us. Bring your can-do spirit. And root your legacy in the Rocky Mountain West.
We are grateful for your partnership.

You make The Denver Difference.

Learn more at

Questions? Contact us DenverDifference@du.edu

Campaign Cabinet
Edward T. Anderson (Co-Chair), Douglas G. Scrivner (Co-Chair), Barbara Burwell, Navin Dimond, Craig Harrison, James Kennedy (Honorary), John A. Miller, Judi Newman, Robert C. Newman, Denise M. O’Leary, Secretary Condoleezza Rice (Honorary), Daniel L. Ritchie (Honorary), Joseph Saunders, Sharon Saunders, Donald L. Sturm (Honorary), Andrew Taylor

Board of Trustees*
John A. Miller (Chair), Edward T. Anderson, John Bucksbaum, Peter Burwell, General George Casey, Susana Córdova, Deborah L. DeHaas, Navin Dimond, Margot Gilbert Frank, Kevin C. Gallagher, Peter A. Gilbertson, James Griesemer, Craig Harrison, Brandon C. Johnson, Taylor Kirkpatrick, Jim Lentz, Wade Loo, Donna Lynne, Gregory L. Moore, Trygve E. Myhren, Denise M. O’Leary, Douglas G. Scrivner, Catherine C. Shopneck, Stephen Sturm, Otto Tschudi, Frederick T. Waldeck, Michael D. West (* As of April 2024)

Honorary Life Trustees
Jane M. Hamilton, James Kennedy, Carrie Morgridge, Ralph Nagel, Robert C. Newman, Scott J. Reiman, Daniel L. Ritchie, John J. Sie, J. William Sorensen, Donald L. Sturm