University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe has informed the Board of Trustees that he will retire from the University on or about June 30, 2014. Coombe has served the University for 33 years since joining as a member of the faculty. He was provost from 2001 and 2005 and became the University’s 17th chancellor in 2005.
Under Coombe’s leadership, the University is positioned to conclude the ASCEND fundraising campaign successfully in June, with more than $452 million already raised since the beginning of the campaign in 2006.
In explaining his decision, Chancellor Coombe said, “This summer I will have been chancellor for nine years, and this year will mark both the completion of our ASCEND campaign and the 150th anniversary of the University’s founding. The University will be developing a new strategic plan over the coming months and will be moving into a new phase that will require steady leadership for at least another decade. It will be an exciting new time and we should have a new leader for that new time.”
Trygve Myhren, chairman of the Board of Trustees, says the board has accepted Coombe’s decision with regret, but is excited about DU’s prospects for the future.
“I had desired that he stay longer, but I understand and accept his decision to step down now,” Myhren says. “We thank Bob for his extraordinary leadership and the truly significant successes of his nine years as chancellor and indeed his remarkable 33 years at the University of Denver. As a testimony to these contributions, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the University of Denver among the top 10 up-and-coming universities. During the course of the year, we will honor Bob for his enormous impact and contributions.”
Coombe also commented in his letter to the board that, “It has been wonderful to lead this institution that I love so deeply, and to work with the board on positioning it for the next phase. I am quite certain that the University has the strength to forge a bright and important future.”
The Board of Trustees is commissioning an international search for a new chancellor and is expected to announce the membership of the search committee within 10 days. That committee will undertake extensive outreach to the entire University community for its thoughts on the challenges facing the University and the attributes needed in a new chancellor. The board expects to be able to announce a new chancellor by the end of the academic year.