Chancellor's Communiqué

A Message from Chancellor Dorothy Horrell, 2019-09-12

Dear CU Denver community,

I am writing to let you know that I will be retiring as Chancellor on June 30, 2020. This decision is bittersweet for me. While I am eager to spend more time with my loved ones, the work we are doing at CU Denver is among the most significant and rewarding of my career. And I have been honored and privileged to do it with tremendous people.

When Bruce Benson and the Board of Regents asked me to take on this responsibility in October 2015, I committed to do so for three years. That point came this past January (I officially started in January 2016). As I assessed our position at that time, I felt it was not an optimal time for a leadership transition. We were in the middle of implementing a new budget model, planning had just begun for the first-year student housing project, the redesign of our student success efforts was at a pivotal time, and we had just opened CityCenter. In addition, the selection process for a new president of the university was underway.

It was for those reasons that I decided to extend my tenure. And now, it is clear that incredible progress is being made. We are positioning CU Denver as a premier institution, reimagining our work and redesigning our university for the 21st century. Our faculty and staff have taken on new challenges and responsibilities, and so many remarkable initiatives are well underway. I do believe that for everything, there is a season, and next June is the right time for me to transition to permanent retirement and give more attention to my family and to the commitments I have made to them.

Over the next nine months, I will prioritize my efforts on setting the stage for continued success at CU Denver. All of us can take pride in what we’ve accomplished over the past several years, and I want to see that momentum continue. I will focus on five areas for the remainder of my chancellorship:

  1. Supporting the work to deliver an unparalleled student experience: completing the design and beginning construction of the first-year housing and dining facility, strengthening advising services, leveraging LynxConnect, improving our website, and developing and implementing a mental health strategic plan.
  2. Working with Senior Vice Chancellor Sobanet to develop and launch a strategic enrollment plan, as well as guiding decisions that address current budget challenges and position CU Denver for long-term financial stability.   
  3. Working with Provost Nairn to fill key leadership positions: Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs, Vice Provost/Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Success, and Dean of the Business School.
  4. Securing funds for the new building for the College of Engineering, Design and Computing.
  5. Supporting the initiatives President Mark Kennedy is leading for the CU System, including the strategic planning process, during which I will champion the unique capabilities and interests of CU Denver.

To ensure continuity in leadership, I have recommended to President Kennedy that the process to select the next chancellor begin this fall. He will work within Regent Law and Policy to name a search committee and select a search firm. You can expect multiple opportunities for the campus community to provide input and be involved in the process. Read more from President Mark Kennedy here.

One of the things I will miss most are the connections I have with all of you -- our students, faculty and staff. It is a joy for me to do work I love with people I admire and respect. Over the coming months, I look forward to working together to ensure that the promise of CU Denver shines brig​ht as our journey continues from “what we’ve been” to “what we will be” as Colorado’s public urban research university.

With affection and gratitude,

    Dorothy Horrell signature

    Dorothy Horrell

    Chancellor’s Office

    CU Denver

    Lawrence Street Center

    1380 Lawrence Street

    Suite 1400

    Denver, CO 80204


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