DU bestows three Founders Medals at March celebration

John Evans signed the charter for the Colorado Seminary in 1864

At its annual Founders Day event in early March, the University of Denver gave three Founders Medals to individuals and entities that have contributed significantly to DU’s success. Chancellor Jeremy Haefner presented the medals, one of DU’s highest honors for transformative leadership and philanthropy. 

The honorees all have decades-long associations with DU:  

Former DU trustee Joseph W. Saunders (BSBA ’67, MBA ’68, PhD ’09) and Sharon Saunders long have supported DU, initially investing in a Daniels College of Business global education fund. In 2018, they established the Saunders Leadership Academy, providing money for need-based scholarships and programming support for undergraduates. The first students in the Saunders Leadership Academy, known as Denver Promise Scholars, will graduate from DU in June.

The Boettcher Foundation has supported DU for more than 80 years, donating to scholarships, infrastructure and campus programs. It’s the first foundation to receive the Founders Medal. DU is a top-five all-time recipient of Boettcher support, receiving more than $50 million in scholarship and grant support over the years.

The late Joy Burns was a champion of students, particularly female student-athletes, and the first woman to chair the DU Board of Trustees. She and her husband, DU alumnus Franklin Burns, established the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at DU in 1997. When Joy Burns died in 2021, DU received a gift from her estate, enhancing the Burns School and Knoebel School of Hospitality Management in the Daniels College of Business. 

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