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Raul’s Report

Rauls Report Cartoon


My head’s spinning right now, how ‘bout yours? Our many back-to-school events generated so much excitement and the anticipation for all that awaits us this new academic year is sky high. It’s all wildly energizing. And, just a little exhausting at the same time! 

Procession of students at New Student ConvocationShout out to staff & volunteers
Our staff and our campus partners worked so hard to kick the year off and get our students settled in. Thanks to our Events & Partnerships team and all of you who volunteered. From CU Denver
New Student Convocation to CU Anschutz Welcome Wednesday, you provided our students with a campus welcome they’re sure to remember for years to come.

Meaningful messages 
I enjoy the opportunity these traditions give me to talk with students, staff and faculty in a relaxed atmosphere. I also enjoy listening to the messages delivered by the diverse variety of featured speakers, including one who actually quoted one of my favorite television characters, the eternally optimistic Leslie Knope, from “Parks and Recreation.” More on that in a moment.

Don, Jan and Raul

First-time gathering at CU Anschutz

At CU Anschutz, our division colleagues and other student affairs professionals from all the campus schools and colleges met for the first annual Student Affairs Academic Year Kickoff Event. The gathering underscored the common goal across both our campuses to increase our collaborations to elevate student success. 

CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman set the tone for the morning, and the future, with his opening remarks. “I’ll have more soon on the campus-wide efforts that are in the works to help break down our silos and encourage our schools and colleges to work together more,” he said. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be interacting more and learning from each other. This meeting is a good step in that direction."

Raul Cardenas with CU Denver students

Positive enrollment news
Along with all the back-to-school events came the encouraging news that CU Denver enrollment is up indicating that our admissions recruiting efforts continue moving in the right direction. The final census report comes out next week, but early numbers tell us that undergraduate enrollment is up three percent and our class of more than 1500 incoming freshman is our largest ever. Additionally, our largest class of incoming transfer students continues a 3-year upward trend and, for the fourth straight year, our freshman class is more diverse than ever before. Nearly sixty percent of the class is a racial or ethnic minority. 

State of the Campus
But, that’s just the beginning. For a snapshot of what’s next and a discussion of CU Denver’s five strategic priorities, I encourage you to attend one of Chancellor Dorothy Horrell’s two State of the Campus addresses on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at either 8:30 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. Both will be held in the Lawrence Street Center Terrace Room on the second floor.

Grecia Portillo speaking at podium

SGA president & Leslie Knope
Now, back to “Parks and Recreation” television character Leslie Knope. I had to smile at New Student Orientation when Student Government Association (SGA) President Grecia Portillo quoted her. Grecia told our incoming students her own personal story of being the first in her family to attend college. She talked about her own fear. She described how the support systems at CU Denver helped her overcome those fears. And, she encouraged her fellow students to seek out resources to help them face down their own fears.

Then, she pulled out the words of Knope to drive it all home. “There’s nothing we can’t do if we work hard, never sleep, and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives.”

Keep smiling!
Grecia made you smile, didn’t she?

While Knope’s mantra may be a little extreme, many of us share her optimism. So, let’s keep on smiling and make this the best academic year yet!

Raul Signature

Raul Cardenas, PhD, Vice Chancellor, CU Denver | Anschutz Division of Student Affairs

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Please contact Bonnie Hixson​ to schedule a time to meet​​​


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