Speaker at podium of CityCenter Grand Opening

Celebrating partnership: University, city officials join grand opening

Unveiling of first CityCenter initiative, Imagine a Great Region, sets theme

October 16, 2018

Nearly 100 people packed the brand-new  CityCenter on Oct. 10 for the official grand opening of what will serve as CU Denver’s new “front door” to the city, designed as a transparent portal for the community. Partnerships between CU Denver, business people and city officials are already forming within the glass walls of the center on the corner of 14th and Lawrence streets, fulfilling a vision set forth by the mayor and embraced by Chancellor Dorothy Horrell.

VIP with cake
Left to right: Alice Jackson of Xcel Energy, Chancellor Dorothy Horrell, Mayor Michael Hancock and Adeeb Khan of TIAA. Xcel sponsored the grand-opening event, and TIAA will sponsor a new Chancellor’s Urban Engagement Scholars program, honoring one faculty member for excellence in urban-related studies in each of the university’s seven schools and colleges each year with a $5,000 stipend.

The grand-opening event included the unveiling of CityCenter’s first initiative – Imagine a Great Region, aimed at targeting Colorado’s booming growth in the years ahead – by CityCenter Executive Director Nolbert Chavez, CU Denver’s chief of external initiatives and former state legislator (top photo).

Chancellor speaks
Chancellor Dorothy Horrell listened to Mayor Michael Hancock’s urban-center idea in his office not long after she took the reins of CU Denver. She then helped lead the way to make it happen.

“Today is a big deal,” Mayor Michael Hancock (MPA, ’95) told the audience, which celebrated the CU Denver-City of Denver marriage with toasts and decorative cake. “In Denver, we have largely  ignored this tremendous asset of student intellectual capital  and faculty members that are some of the best in the world,” Hancock said.

Milo and Co.
Deans Pamela Jansma and David Engelke, left, and Nan Ellin and Martin Dunn, right, flank Milo the Lynx.

Now, that expertise can help solve serious urban issues facing the city, from traffic and transportation to housing and homelessness.

“Innovation doesn’t happen in isolation,” said Xcel Energy President Alice Jackson. “CityCenter will be a true catalyst in promotion, innovation, collaboration and connection between students and faculty at the University of Colorado Denver and the great Denver-metro community that we get to serve and work in day to day.”

Raitano of DRCOG
Florine Raitano of the Denver Regional Council of Governments listens as the CityCenter vision is laid out.

And, with the Mile High lure bringing so many people into the region, much work lies ahead, Horrell said.

“We know that, as with any other vibrant urban center, growth and progress are not without challenges, and addressing those issues requires that everyone of us in every institution that we have does our part,” the chancellor told the audience rife with deans, mayors, lawmakers and CEOs. CU Denver, the state’s only public research university, stands ready to do its part, she said.

“One of our highest priorities is to elevate our city and our region through the work that we do every single day.”