LYNX UP scholarship campaign sparks excitement and donations

Campuswide kickoff helps spread message of scholarships' impact on students

March 1, 2018

By 8 a.m. Wednesday, a crowd of faculty, staff and students gathered in the lobby of Lawrence Street Center (LSC) to celebrate the launch of the LYNX UP scholarship campaign. Folks walked in the door to start their day and were greeted by cups of hot cocoa and hugs from Milo the Lynx.

CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell was there from minute one to celebrate the launch and encourage faculty and staff to participate. Six LYNX UP pop-up booths were spread around campus throughout the day, featuring appearances by Chancellor Horrell, as well as deans from CU Denver schools and colleges and other leadership team members.

CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell and student
CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell speaks with a student during the LYNX UP scholarship campaign kickoff on Feb. 28.

“This campaign is important, because our students’ success is our number one priority,” Horrell said. “The top reason that our students interrupt their studies is the lack of financial resources. This campaign is the very best way to assist them. They are our future.”

Last spring, the Office of Advancement formed a steering committee made up of 20 students, faculty and staff from every school and college. Since then, the committee has been working to plan and create the LYNX UP campaign, with a goal of raising $15 million in three years.

‘Doing our part’

“LYNX UP begins here with faculty and staff, because we are closest to this issue and we know our students better than anyone,” Horrell said, as she high-fived Milo. “We are doing our part from the very beginning, and that signals something powerful to the broader community: We believe in this scholarship campaign, and we believe in our students.”

The LSC lobby, as well as other locations around campus, buzzed with folks stepping in from the cold, happy to enjoy a warm beverage and learn about how CU Denver continues to put student success first at Colorado’s only public urban research university.

Graduate School Dean David Engelke
David Engelke, dean of the Graduate School, greets a booth visitor in Lawrence Street Center as Mar DiVietro and Julie DeWoody, both of the Office of Advancement, look on.

“On this first day of the campaign, we’re out here to help people understand how important scholarships are for our students and the amazing and positive ripple effect that their success has on the community,” said Vice Chancellor of Advancement Andrea Wagner. “Let’s get our own CU Denver family engaged first. This is our university and our campaign. LYNX UP!”

LYNX UP Challenge

Later in the day, a steady stream of people stopped by the pop-up table in the CU Denver Building lobby. Faculty, staff and students were excited to hear about the scholarships and enter a drawing for an Amazon gift card.

They also learned about the LYNX UP Challenge, which groups faculty and staff into teams by school and college, as well as offices and departments. The team with the most participation by percentage of faculty/staff by May 1 – whether through a one-time contribution, payroll deduction or other method – will enjoy an exclusive party in the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center next fall.

Danielle Brunner, assistant dean of finance and administration for the College of Architecture and Planning, said the kickoff event was geared toward sparking LYNX UP interest among the internal CU Denver community of faculty, staff and students.

“Then we’ll reach out to the broader community, such as alumni and other stakeholders, to hopefully reach our goal,” said Brunner, who served on the steering committee. “We’re really excited about being able to raise money for scholarships here. It’s a definite need.”

Eliminating barriers to college

Here’s what others in the CU Denver community had to say about the LYNX UP campaign:


The deans of CU Denver schools/colleges attended the LYNX UP scholarship campaign kickoff at booths across campus throughout the day, helping to spread the word of the importance of scholarships to our students.

  • Paris Smeal, an undergraduate student in the School of Public Affairs: “Having scholarships helps so I can think more about learning and not stress about money.”
  • Lauren Fontana, ADA and Affirmative Action compliance coordinator in the university’s Office of Equity: “I think the university doesn’t exist without students, yet there are a lot of barriers – many of which are financial – keeping students out. The more we can contribute to eliminating those barriers the more the university grows and benefits from that growth.”
  • Kristine Sikora, director of recruitment for the Graduate School: “I love the idea of the campus community coming together to support our graduate students, especially since they chose to come to CU Denver. It’s great we can show them support.”

UComm staff contributed to this report: Amy Ventura, Steven Vigil-Roach and Sarah Tanksalvala. Photos by Jesse Kuroiwa, CAP.