Campus & Community

University celebrates sesquicentennial with 1864 Week

Every March the University of Denver celebrates its legacy with Founders Day, a celebration of the people that have helped shape the school. This year, in honor of DU’s 150th anniversary, the Founders Day celebration will last all week. Dubbed 1864 Week, the week of Feb. 28 through March 7 will be full of events highlighting history on campus. As at any good birthday celebration, celebratory refreshments will be served throughout the week.


The Big Birthday Event

Friday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. – Driscoll Student Center, Campus Green, Ritchie Center Complex

The BIG EVENT is the official kickoff event for the sesquicentennial Founders Week activities and a celebration of 150 years of the student experience at the University of Denver. A major late-night event for students, faculty, staff, alumni and special guests, the BIG EVENT features activities such as concerts, carriage rides, laser tag and more.

>More information


Remembering a great educator

Monday, March 3, 4 p.m. – William T. Driscoll Center

Welcome: Provost Gregg Kvistad

Presenters: Dr. Dennis Barrett, Associate Professor Emeritus; Dr. Roscoe Hill, Associate Professor Emeritus; Dr. Cynthia Cherry, Former Director of Driscoll University Center

Special Guest: Helen Driscoll

This informal gathering is open to the entire DU community. Speakers will celebrate the many contributions of Bill Driscoll (AB ’42, MS ’48), a member of the biology faculty from 1944-83. From 1968 to 1983, Driscoll was also the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Honored many times as a teacher, he was also the rare administrator whose popularity only grew over the decades. Soon after his death in 1983, the student center was named in his honor, unusual recognition for a faculty member. Friends and colleagues of this extraordinary, well-liked educator will remind us of what makes a great Pioneer.

150th Happy Birthday refreshments will be served, courtesy of Sodexo.


Pro Scientia et Religione?: An exploration of the religious half of DU’s motto

Tuesday, March 4, 4 p.m. – Evans Memorial Chapel

Welcome: Parker Calbert

Presenter: Gary Brower, University Chaplain

The University of Denver was founded by Methodists. Yet, in the charter, it was made clear that there would be no test of religion required for admittance. There have been chapels on campus, but, for decades, no regular religious services. And what about that “Iliff School of Theology”? Isn’t it part of DU? The last 150 years have seen a lot of changes, both in religion in the U.S. in general, and in religion at DU. We will spend a few minutes looking at this complicated history, especially as it is borne out in the institutions on the DU campus.

Refreshments will be served, courtesy of Eli’s Cheesecakes, Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.

Looking forward, looking back

Wednesday, March 5, 10:30 a.m. – Renaissance Room, Mary Reed Building

Welcome: Chancellor Robert Coombe and Trustee Margot Gilbert Frank

Presenter: Dan Jacobs, curator of the University Art Collection

This event brings a historic perspective on some special people who helped build both the DU campus and the DU community. Held in the beautiful and historic Renaissance Room (DU’s former main reading room), the event will include a short presentation by Dan Jacobs, curator of the University Art Collections, who will illustrate the contributions of Mary Reed (1875-1945). A DU parent, Reed made two major additions to the campus: Margery Reed Hall, which opened in 1929 in memory of her daughter Margery (BA ’19); and Mary Reed Library, which was dedicated three years later. The two buildings mark the special relationship between mother and daughter — and parallel the bond between the DU community and its students. Learn how Mary and Margery Reed were acknowledged by the entire DU family through the creation of an iconic artwork on the DU campus in 1929.

150th Happy Birthday cake will be served, courtesy of Sodexo.

Founders Day Gala
Wednesday, March 5, 5:30 p.m. – Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center
We will toast the founding of the University and the many alumni, donors and friends who have contributed to its development. At the gala, previous honorees will be recognized for their impact on the University’s past, present and future.
>More information and registration


150 years on the frontier

Thursday, March 6, noon – Anderson Academic Commons

Welcome: Carrie Forbes, Associate Dean for Student and Scholar Services

University Library

Presenter: Steve Fisher, University Historian

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is among the oldest institutions in Colorado. The school was founded by Dr. John Evans, who wanted to bring education to the citizens of the territory and did so by creating Colorado Seminary. While the school had close ties to the Methodist Church, students of all denominations were welcome. After relocating to the newly established University Park, the school was officially renamed the University of Denver, and it has become a highly ranked private University, attracting students from around the globe. University historian Steve Fisher will trace, in a slide show, the school’s illustrious history from its founding through today, celebrating the school’s 150-year story. Using images from the DU archives, Fisher will examine the significant people and events that made DU what it is today.

Light lunch will be served, sponsored by Sodexo.


Musical birthday celebration

Thursday, March 6, 7:30 p.m. – Gates Concert Hall, Newman Center for the Performing Arts

Remarks: Stephen Seifert, Executive Director, Newman Center

Newman Center Presents Gabriel Kahane and yMusic! Gabriel Kahane is one of the leading lights of a young generation of indie artists who are remaking the concert hall experience across America. Gabe writes and performs music that moves effortlessly from vernacular popular songs to classical modernism. He’s a composer, pianist, guitarist and singer and loves to entertain audiences and engage their minds and emotions. Of his last performance here, The Denver Post said: “Wondering what Denver’s classical scene needs more of? Unconventional, imaginative and crowd-pleasing programs like this one.” Gabe will be joined by the exciting band that calls itself yMusic. yMusic’s virtuoso members (string trio, flute, clarinet and trumpet) have played with artists as varied as Bon Iver, Anthony and the Johnsons and Sufjan Stevens. The New York Times calls them “a New York chamber ensemble at the heart of the current indie-classical overlap.”


150th Happy Birthday cupcakes will be served, courtesy of Sodexo.


Birthday Celebration, DU Hockey vs. Miami (Ohio)

Friday, March 7, 7:37 p.m. – Ritchie Center

Remarks: Jeff Howard, Senior Associate Athletic Director, External Relations


150th Happy Birthday cookies will be served, courtesy of Sodexo.

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