Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

University of Denver receives $10 million from alumnus Jim Kennedy

The University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education has received a $10 million gift from James “Jim” Cox Kennedy to create the James C. Kennedy Institute for Educational Success. The gift, made in part through the Denver Foundation, will endow three faculty chairs and a program/research endowment in the college.

The Kennedy Institute will seek to identify innovative and cost-effective means for promoting and sustaining the educational success of vulnerable children — from early childhood through postsecondary education.

“The Morgridge College is undergoing a major transition, one that will position it to play a catalytic role in the resolution of major educational issues our society faces, from early childhood education to K-12 reform to access and affordability issues in higher education,” says Robert Coombe, chancellor of the University. “Jim Kennedy’s generous gift will support the people and the programs that will make this happen.”

In creating the institute, the gift establishes the following program endowment and endowed chairs:
•    The James C. Kennedy Endowment for Educational Success: The endowment will support research and operations of the faculty chairs housed within the Kennedy Institute.
•    The James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning: The chair will support a faculty position dedicated to applied research and dissemination of knowledge in the area of early childhood education.
•    The James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Urban Education: The chair will support a faculty position dedicated to applied research and dissemination of knowledge in the area of K-12 reform in the urban environment.
•    The James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies: The chair will support a faculty position dedicated to applied research and dissemination of knowledge in the application of innovative technologies to educational success.

“The University of Denver played a very important part in my growth and development, and I wanted to give something back,” says Kennedy. “I’m pleased this gift will benefit both students and the community through the College of Education.”

Kennedy is the CEO of Cox Enterprises, which owns Cox Communications Inc. (cable television distribution, telephone, high-speed Internet access, commercial telecommunications, advertising solutions and the Travel Channel); Cox Newspapers Inc. (newspapers, local and national direct mail advertising); Cox Television (television and television sales rep firms); Cox Radio Inc. (broadcast radio stations and interactive Web sites); Manheim Inc. (vehicle auctions, repair and certification services and Web-based technology products) and Cox Auto Trader (automotive publications and a majority stake in

Kennedy graduated from DU in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He’s a past member of DU’s Board of Trustees.

DU’s Morgridge College of Education prepares leaders and practitioners capable of spearheading educational change, building community and fostering social equity. It has long-standing relationships with local school districts, educational organizations, libraries, businesses and mental health agencies that serve to ground the instructional and research environments within the college. Since 2001, enrollment at the college has grown by 66 percent, going from 495 students in fall 2001 to 822 in fall 2008.

The college has numerous graduate-level degree programs, including various K-12 education programs, counseling psychology, library and information science, higher education administration, the Boettcher Urban Teachers Program and the Ritchie Program for School Leaders.

Construction will begin in late winter on Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall — a new home for the Morgridge College and DU’s Learning Effectiveness Program. It will open late in 2010.

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