Metropolitan State University of Denver celebrated 50 years with “Welcome Back” address

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Posted Wed, Sep 23, 2015

WELCOME BACK ADDRESS

MSU Denver President Stephan Jordan welcomes students, faculty and staff to the university’s 50th academic year. [Photo: Sara Hertwig]

DENVER, Auraria Campus Like a scene from an idyllic movie, a cloudless and sunny bright blue sky suited the smiling faces awaited for Metropolitan State University of Denver President Stephen Jordan’s 10th annual “Welcome Back Address.”

By 8 a.m., nearly 350 people gathered. A spunky, short-haired woman sat at the south end of the white tent, her red dress illuminating the school-spirited theme about to be pitched.

Jordan finally entered. “Welcome, welcome to the 2015-16 academic year – our 50th at this university!” he said. The crowd cheered, and the history began.

Global Initiative

Few had known that the event based around the history of the university’s 50 years would include history-making initiatives such as its partnership with Colorado Heights University.

WELCOME BACK ADDRESS

MSU Denver President Stephan Jordan announces the university’s partnership with Colorado Heights University to become a multi-campus university. [Photo: Sara Hertwig]

Steve Galpern, an MSU Denver employee who works with university advancement through fundraising in the Hospitality Learning Center, found the expansion plan very interesting and said the partnership was news to him.

CHU, a small private college located on at the century-old Loretta Heights campus, will transfer portions of its ownership to MSU Denver. The expansion will make MSU Denver a multi-campus university, with goals between the two organizations to enhance and attract students to MSU Denver’s international program. Other plans include creating a networking team of international institutions, developing new academic programs to honor CHU’s and Loretta Heights’ mission of global diversity and developing a park for global business majors.

“Our two institutions have a mutual respect for each other’s role and mission,” Jordan said. “CHU was especially supportive of our 2012 decision to offer a special tuition rate for undocumented students. We are extremely grateful and honored to have been selected by CHU for this remarkable opportunity and collaboration.”

On Diversity

Freshman and video production major Christopher Arcila came for the free breakfast, but stayed for the president’s message. He said he liked what Jordan had to say about MSU Denver’s inclusion of diversity, specifically for the Hispanic population in the “2020 Strategic Plan.”

“I like that he gives everybody a chance,” Arcila said.

WELCOME BACK ADDRESS

MSU Denver President Stephan Jordan receives applauds as he outlined the university’s mission to become a “University of Opportunity.” [Photo: Sara Hertwig]

Arcila, who was rejected by University of Colorado Denver before he became a student at MSU Denver, may be one example of many students at the university who are given the opportunity to reach their potential by programs geared toward student retention and success.

Since his time as the MSU Denver leader, Jordan has made it a goal to improve the condition for all underrepresented students and to create a campus community of shared values among groups. The student population has risen to 34 percent ethnic minority and 32 percent first-generation students.

“We continue to meet our mission as the ‘university of opportunity’ for the many who may not have had a chance for education in the past,” Jordan said.

Alumni, Faculty and Staff

It seems that MSU Denver cares very much about alumni, faculty and staff, too.

It’s apparent by Galpern’s answer as to why he works for the university.

“I was really impressed with their mission and educational opportunity, and since I’ve been here, the quality of teaching, focus on innovation and interests of everyone [including] serving students,” Galpern said.

But it’s mainly apparent because of its newest marketing campaign, “transforming lives for 50 years,” which honors past students and employees by telling each group’s remarkable stories.

An upcoming highlighted employee for the campaign will be professor of psychology and women’s studies A.J. Steele for her work in preventing human trafficking; featured alumnus Joe Rice is mentioned for his time spent in the Iraq war and for his current role as the director of government relations at Lockheed Martin.

Jordan also honored English professor Sandra Doe with an award for 50 years of service. More awards will be announced at the Oct. 1, 50th Anniversary celebration when MSU Denver first opened its doors for registration.

About Rachel Bruner

Rachel Bruner is a Denver-area writer

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