Chancellor Dorothy Horrell

Chancellor Horrell’s Impact on CU Denver, in Photos

June 19, 2020

Chancellor Dorothy Horrell retires from CU Denver at the end of this month, but her legacy will live on. Under her leadership, CU Denver went from success to significance; from an urban university to a thriving asset to the city of Denver.

Chancellor Horrell has been instrumental in making a name for CU Denver as Colorado’s premier public urban research university. Despite the unprecedented challenges the university faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has continued to lead with compassion and care for the CU Denver community.

To acknowledge Chancellor Horrell’s impact on CU Denver over the past five years, we’ve highlighted in photos some significant accomplishments and milestones.

Key Strategic Priorities Guide Ongoing Success

In fall 2016, Horrell established five strategic priorities to guide CU Denver’s ongoing success. The priorities emerged from Horrell’s 2016 Re​ach Out and Listen Tour​, a series of collaborative forums and meetings with faculty, staff, students, and community members that established a shared vision for the future of CU Denver.

  1. ​​Elevate student success through increased enrollment, retention and graduation rates.
  2. Advance scholarly excellence and innovation in teaching, research and creative work.
  3. Strengthen our position and impact as a vital community asset.​
  4. ​Create a more cohesive, collaborative and inclusive culture​.​
  5. Achieve long-term financial sustainability​ and stability.​
Graphic of CU Denver's five strategic priorities

CU in the City Is Reclaimed

Horrell led CU Denver through a new era, making a name for the university through the CU in the City campaign. Launched in spring 2017, the campaign celebrates the high-quality education CU Denver offers students in the heart of downtown Denver, at Colorado’s only public urban research university. The brand emphasizes the university as an asset to the city of Denver, spotlights student success, and highlights the importance of its research.

Dorothy Horrell on stage
Chancellor Dorothy Horrell unveils the CU in the City brand during a brand launch event for students, faculty, alumni, and staff.
CU Denver students stay busy learning in and contributing to the city of Denver.

CityCenter Unveiled as Front Door to the City of Denver

CityCenter, a fishbowl office space at the southwest corner of 14th & Lawrence Streets, matches CU Denver’s faculty expertise and student ingenuity with civic and business leaders looking for ideas and solutions. Horrell envisioned a place “where partnerships are formed, talent and knowledge are shared, and innovative solutions to urban challenges are advanced.” In partnership with the City of Denver and Mayor Michael Hancock, her vision came to life October 2018.

VIP with cake
Left to right: Alice Jackson, of Xcel Energy, sponsor of the unveiling event; Chancellor Dorothy Horrell; Mayor Michael Hancock; and former TIAA employee Adeeb Khan.
CityCenter building
An outside view of CityCenter.

CU at the Table Bridges International/American Students

Three years ago, Horrell found herself asking, “Have our international students visited an American home?” The question sparked conversation among university leadership about ways to help international students feel further connected to their new community in Denver. From there emerged CU at the Table.

Each year before Thanksgiving, the Office of International Affairs (OIA) and CU Denver Alumni Relations join forces to recruit staff, faculty, and alumni to host a Thanksgiving meal for international students, who make up about 7% of CU Denver’s student body. The intimate setting allows for candid conversation, connection—and lots of laughter.

Faculty and staff, along with Chancellor Horrell, host meals in their homes for CU at the Table.

Campaign Raises Money for Scholarships

The LYNX UP campaign first launched in 2018 in an effort to unite the campus community in raising funds for scholarships. The university surpassed it’s original 3-year, $15 million goal, raising more than $18 million since start of LYNX UP thanks to gifts from many generous donors across the country, as well as CU Denver faculty and staff. 

During the 2019 – 20 school year alone, nearly 70% of undergraduate students at CU Denver received scholarships or financial aid, which shows the importance and value of this campaign spearheaded by Horrell.

CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell and student
CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell speaks with a student during the LYNX UP scholarship campaign kickoff.

Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center Opens

In May 2018, the 85,000-square-foot, three-story center with a focus on holistic wellness opened. The beautiful facility boasts a six-lane pool, 38-foot climbing wall, fully stocked gym, basketball courts, Adventure Desk, meditation/relaxation rooms, and much more.

CU Denver Celebrates Largest Class in History

Horrell led the largest-ever commencement in CU Denver’s history May 18, 2019, at the Tivoli Quad. A record-setting total of 2,144 students graduated, with an estimated 10,000 guests, families, and friends cheering them on.

Aerial view of commencement on campus and a city view in the background.
An aerial view of the largest graduating class to date.

City Heights Breaks Ground

Under Horrell’s lead, CU Denver broke ground on its first and only residence hall dedicated to first-year students. Slated for completion in fall 2021, the addition brings to CU Denver what the campus has been missing: an affordable housing option that doubles as a central hub for academic enrichment opportunities and peer-to-peer connection. 

The 182,000-square-foot facility is made up of two residential wings housing 555 beds, a dining hall, and a three-story Learning Commons that will house some of CU Denver’s most-visited student success and academic support services.

Included in CU Denver’s 10-year Facilities Master Plan, the project falls in line with the university’s goal of becoming an undisputed top asset to the city of Denver.

City Heights residence hall broke ground in December 2019.
Rendering of first-year student housing.
A rendering of the finished project, which will sit on a portion of the recreation field between the Tivoli Quad and the Student Commons/Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center.

One-Stop Shop for Career Readiness Opens

After nearly two years of design and construction, the LynxConnect opened its doors October 2019. The 15,000-square-foot visionary space offers resources and individualized support surrounding opportunities outside of the classroom. Offices housed in the unique concept are the Career Center, Experiential Learning Center, Global Education: Study Abroad, and Undergraduate Research.

Proposed courtyard entry
A rendering of the entrance of LynxConnect, across from iPIE in the Tivoli Student Union.
A student oversees the front desk at the newly opened LynxConnect.

Thank you, Chancellor Horrell, for your unwavering commitment and dedication to CU Denver and its people. You will be greatly missed.