Expanding Our Commitment to Our Aurarian Past & Future

March 31, 2022

Dear Lynx Community,

We study, teach, and work at a special place rooted in deep history. From the Indigenous Peoples who first settled here to the Aurarians who built a thriving neighborhood starting in the 1870s, we must honor those who came before us.

In this spirit, we announced the expansion of the Displaced Aurarian Scholarship Program last year. Initially established to embrace and welcome back our former community members who were displaced to create public higher education opportunities through the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC), we are proud to extend this program to more generations of learners in our continued commitment to honor our complex legacy and build a more inclusive future. And, building on that promise, I am delighted today to share with you a big step CU Denver is taking to further commit to being an equity-serving institution that values the past as we build a more equitable and just future.

In partnership with AHEC and our community, we will embark on an initiative to preserve and renovate historic homes along Ninth Street—as well as define their usage—as one important way to honor and celebrate our history as we build our collective future. Nolbert Chavez, a CU Denver alum, CU Denver’s chief of external initiatives and a CU Regent, will take on a new assignment to facilitate this critical work, which the CU System is graciously supporting.

The houses that line the Ninth Street Historic Park were constructed between 1872 and 1906 as part of one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods. We intend to broaden opportunities to learn about the deep roots of its history and uncover the stories of the diverse families who lived, worked, and worshipped at Auraria. It’s important that we continue to acknowledge the sacrifice and honor the legacies of the families displaced when the Auraria Campus was built in the 1970s and the Indigenous Peoples before them. This effort is especially fitting as we prepare a full slate of activities to commemorate CU Denver’s 50th anniversary in the coming academic year.

While I am proud that we can take one more step forward in our goal of being a true equity-serving institution in service of our communities (both past and future), I know we must continue to take an impactful and proactive approach to our work as an institution, a unified campus, and a global community.

I want to congratulate Nolbert and thank him again for his dedication, as I know he will pour his heart and soul—and deep expertise—into this initiative and represent us proudly. He has already made so many positive and lasting contributions to CU, the City of Denver, the State of Colorado and our neighbors.

Michelle Mark signature

Michelle Marks

Chancellor’s Office

CU Denver

Lawrence Street Center

1380 Lawrence Street

Suite 1400

Denver, CO 80204


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