2020 2021 year change

Our Best Stories of 2020

January 2, 2021

With 2020 now behind us, we can look back at some of our favorite stories of the year. For everyone in the Lynx community, 2020 was a year unlike any other. But in the midst of difficulty and sorrow, CU Denver showed the determination and community spirit for which we are known, and it is empowering to remember the meaningful, heartwarming, and most-clicked stories we shared last year. Below you will find the 10 stories that stood out most in our memories and among our readership.

portrait of musician Payden Widner

Alum’s “Helplessness Blues” Brings Denver Musicians Together During Isolation

Musician and sound engineer Payden Widner ’15 decided he had had enough isolation, so last spring he brought together 38 Denver musicians to join him for a virtual cover of the Fleet Foxes song, “Helplessness Blues.” The resulting music video is guaranteed to make you smile and will remind you of our students’ incredible talent.

Faculty Fellow Faye Caronan

Faculty Fellow Appointed to Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Following listening sessions during the summer and fall in which the campus shared ideas to improve equity and inclusion, Faye Caronan, PhD, head of Ethnic Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was appointed to advise the chancellor and leadership on issues concerning underrepresented and diverse students, faculty, and staff. Learn about her experiences and priorities in this compelling Q&A.

fortune cookie with blue background; photo by Elena koycheva via Unsplash

Amazing Positives from Pandemic History

The fact that 2020 graced us with two Taylor Swift albums was not a fluke. Historically, many amazing creative and scientific accomplishments have emerged during pandemics. Read about other silver linings that have come from some of history’s darkest days.


New Discovery of Giant Bipedal Crocodile Footprints in the Cretaceous of Korea

Admittedly, this title somewhat buried the lede. In case the full implication failed to register, that means 13 feet tall, upright crocodiles once roamed the earth—literally walking nightmares. Learn how a CU Denver professor helped discover these monstrosities.

Chancellor Michelle Marks

Looking Ahead with CU Denver’s Incoming Chancellor

In the summer of 2020, CU Denver said farewell to Chancellor Dorothy Horrell and hello to Chancellor Michelle Marks. As part of Marks’ introduction to the campus, she shared her thoughts on a range of topics with CU Denver News. Read her answers.

Community Fridge

The Denver Community Fridge Project

Just in time for Thanksgiving, graduate student Eli Zain launched Denver’s first network of community fridges. These artist-decorated, outdoor refrigerators located around the city allow anyone to take what they need and to give what they can. Read about Zain’s vision for the project and follow Denver Community Fridges on Instagram.

reedbuck, South Africa, migration

Migration Patterns Reveal an Eden for Ancient Humans and Animals

2020 was a banner year for CU Denver’s research. In particular, one of the best performing stories we shared centered on the research of Jamie Hodgkins, PhD, assistant professor of anthropology. Learn about Hodgkins’ research into Pinnacle Point, one of the world’s most important localities for the study of modern human origins.

Face masks created by faculty members in the College of Engineering

Schools and Colleges Pool Resources to Produce Protective Gear

During the early days of the pandemic, when personal protective equipment was in short supply, people from all across CU Denver stepped up to produce safety gear such as masks and face shields. Learn how CU Denver schools and colleges worked together to help minimize the initial spread of the coronavirus.

Woman in field of lavender

Feeling Stuck & the Pandemic: How I Escaped Hopelessness and Found Mindfulness

In May, student Julia C. Niedzwiecka, a marketing major in the Business School, penned this essay that reflects how many of us felt as we adjusted to our new, more socially distanced lives. Read her perspective.

intersex flag

Everyday Explained: What Is the “I” in LGBTQIA+?

This important explanation ranked near the top of our search results in 2020. As we work to become a more inclusive and equitable campus for everyone, it is critical that we learn to understand one another better. That’s how empathy begins. With the help of our faculty contributor, learn what it means to be intersex.