Joy Burns, already an iconic name on campus, recently was honored for three decades of service to the University of Denver and the Daniels College of Business when DU officials named the building that houses the Knoebel School of Hospitality Management the Joy Burns Center.
Burns and her late husband, Franklin Burns, are the namesakes and primary benefactors of several campus facilities and programs, including the Joy Burns Ice Arena in the Ritchie Center, the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management and the Joy Burns Plaza at the Newman Center.
“Joy joined the University’s Board of Trustees in 1981 and, over the past 30 years, she has helped the University to become the extraordinary institution that it is today,” says DU Chancellor Robert Coombe. “We are forever grateful for all she’s done to strengthen and expand our academic programs, especially in the Daniels College of Business, and to make our campus into one of the most beautiful in America.”
Burns, a Denver-area businesswoman, philanthropist and women’s sports pioneer, chaired DU’s Board of Trustees from 1990–2005 and again from 2007–09.
“We would like to convey our deepest appreciation to Joy Burns for her involvement with and commitment to the Daniels College of Business and the University of Denver,” says Daniels Dean Christine Riordan. “Ultimately, the true legacy of Joy Burns will be our students and alumni who are the real standard bearers of her dedication to the University of Denver.”
In addition to housing the Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, the Joy Burns Center is home to the Daniels executive education program and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. It also serves as a primary venue for many conferences and events on the DU campus.
Burns was one of the original founders of the Women’s Bank in 1976, which became Colorado Business Bank in 1993. She renovated the former Hampshire House into the Burnsley Hotel in the 1980s, was a founding member of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, and is the first woman to chair the Denver Metro Convention and Business Bureau. She is president of the D.C. Burns Realty & Trust and president of the Sportswomen of Colorado board of directors. In 2000, she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.