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Symposium ‘exceeds expectations,’ alums say

They already have diplomas and jobs, their graduations are past and final grades forgotten. But on Oct. 5-6, more than 120 University of Denver alumni went back to school.

The alumni were on campus for the University’s inaugural Alumni Symposium Weekend, which was billed as a chance for alumni to re-connect with one another, campus and the University’s intellectual atmosphere. Among other activities, alumni attended three faculty-led class sessions, selecting from 27 lecture topics ranging from the global financial system, biological terrorism and the conservative-liberal ideological divide to public art and the cultural impact of Negro spirituals.

“The symposium was an opportunity for alumni to exchange ideas and explore inspiring themes drawn from the world today and presented by some of our most distinguished scholars,” said Chancellor Robert Coombe.

Coombe spoke about DU’s past, present and future at the event and expressed his pride in the students entering DU and those leaving it. A university is partly defined by what its alumni are doing, he told attendees.

And DU has some notable alumni. Andy Taylor (BSBA ’70), chairman and CEO of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Bob Perito (BA ’64), a senior program officer of the U.S. Institute of Peace and an adviser to the Iraq Study Group, spoke about their careers since leaving DU and their continuing education.

“They did a great job. It’s great to be able to re-live the intellectual part of college, to engage in a higher level of discussion,” said Brent Neiser (MGS ’05).

Alumni ranged from those who had already attended their 50th reunions to those not even a year out.

“This weekend exceeded my expectations,” said Bob Morehead (BSBA ’56). Morehead said that when he was a student, he commuted to classes at the business school, then located near the Capitol.

Now, he is thrilled to see the changes on campus and in the classroom and expressed confidence that DU is moving in the right direction. Many alumni agreed with Morehead’s grade of exceeding expectations.

“This weekend gave me a much better cross-section of campus [and] an opportunity to see some cross-pollination on campus,” said Susannah Pedigo (MBA ’06). “The Daniels experience satiated my thirst for learning, and now I want to keep learning.”

Morehead agreed. “This is fascinating stuff. This weekend left me wanting more.”

Next year’s Alumni Symposium Weekend will be Oct. 3-4, 2008.

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