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Raul's Report

I don’t know about you, but my calendar was jam-packed with big happenings in September. I listened as new CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell reported out from her listening tour, mapping some next steps, priorities and university-wide ambitions; I watched, and picked up a shovel, as we broke ground for the new CU Denver Student Wellness Center; and I enjoyed the camaraderie at the
annual CU Anschutz Block Party

Silos tumbling
The back-to-school celebration at CU Anschutz is always a good time but this year it had added meaning as we welcomed Jan Gascoigne, PhD, to our student affairs team in the newly created role of assistant vice chancellor in the Office of Campus Student Services. You can read more about Jan, including her dog Charlie, in the “What’s New” section of this Connection newsletter. 

Jan’s focus will be on bringing the CU Anschutz schools and colleges together in a coordinated effort to support our students the best ways we possibly can. And, in many ways, the Block Party does the same thing. It was developed to break down silos and connect people through food, entertainment and informational booths. And, I can tell you that when the sun’s shining and the music’s blasting, the silos do come tumbling down! 

Spirit Thursday groundbreaking
At CU Denver, I can’t remember a bigger moment than the groundbreaking for the new Student Wellness Center. It may just have been the best Spirit Thursday ever! 

Everyone knows how close to my heart the project is. Developed by our students and supported by our students, it’s rooted in student leaders involved in their campus and I’m humbled by their dedication and passion. I was amazed to see how many CU Denver alumni made it a priority to attend the ceremony. Ronson Fox even made the trip all the way from Honolulu! So, that tells me how much the center means to them. It will be a lasting symbol of our new connected campus and our students’ determination and I’m grateful for their efforts.

Chancellor with a plan
You’ll remember that Chancellor Horrell spent her first months here on campus listening to all our stakeholders, including students and staff. At her recent Campus Forum: From Listening to Action, she outlined several next steps. She also identified a campus-wide ambition for all of us to pursue—that CU Denver be regarded as one of the City of Denver’s top five civic, cultural and economic assets by the year 2023, which also happens to be the university’s 50th anniversary as a stand-alone institution. 

Like those of you who were able to attend, I listened closely as she talked about the role student recruitment and retention plays in her plans. And, I have to admit that I got a little rush of pride when she mentioned that she’d attended the Lynx Center Open House and referenced its “concierge” service as a model for others to follow. 

Our leadership role
Moving forward with university-wide plans and priorities, our staff is sure to continue its strong leadership role. We’re the ones going above and beyond. We’re the ones who are, as the chancellor suggested, already asking students ‘what else can I do for you?’ 

Onward & upward
And, I’m certain that’s one of the reasons we have a record number of new students enrolled at CU Denver this fall. Everyone at the university stepped up their game, including all of our areas in student affairs.

Admissions & K-12 Outreach was so pleased with the success, they scheduled a little celebration which I was glad to be invited to attend. I told the gathering of admissions staff, and I’ll tell you, that our successful student numbers blow me away. This is the flywheel I talked about at our kick-off event in action. In just three years, we’ve increased our undergraduate applications by nearly 150 percent from 6,458 to 15,992. That’s a result of us all pushing the flywheel in the same direction and, with a little more effort, we’ll take the next step and start converting more of those applicants into proud CU Denver Lynx. 

Together, you’ve gotten this new academic year off to a great start. I can’t wait to see what’s next!


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


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

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