I usually struggle with transitions—especially as the seasons change. Over the last few years, however, adjusting has been the mandate of the day. The fall of 2019 was my first in Denver and the last one that felt ordinary. I’m grateful that this fall feels typical in many ways. Sports and arts events are in person, and much of the angst over the pandemic has subsided. My hope is that a renewed feeling of calm will enable us to recover from the impact of the recent past. In particular, I’m concerned about the fate and well-being of youth across the country. “Checking in on the kids” explores one of the vestiges of the pandemic—the toll on young people’s mental health—that necessitated the declaration of a national state of emergency last fall. What’s more, because of disruptions in education, many students did not thrive academically in the remote classrooms adopted because of COVID-19. Despite current problems, I was brightened after reading about some of the groundbreaking work DU scholars in psychology, social work and education are conducting to foster more positive student outcomes. All of this work is a testament to DU’s care for the public good.
As I began to explore Denver during the latter part of 2019, one of the first things I noticed was the great number of sculptures all over the city. Little did I know that one of the most iconic pieces—an incredibly large blue bear in front of the Colorado Convention Center—was created by a former professor at DU’s School of Art and Art History. Be sure to take a look at the photo essay to see how DU’s talent pool has shaped—and in many cases created—Denver’s visual arts scene.
This issue of the magazine also showcases the talents of two inspiring innovators with a passion for sustainability—DU alums Daniel Craig (BA ’99) and Audrey Ng (BA ’17). Craig’s work on DU’s Burwell Center for Career Achievement proves that architecture is not only about designing beautiful buildings but also about using materials and resources wisely to create spaces for the spirit to grow. Ng, meanwhile, has been part of a massive effort to upgrade 125 Boston Public School buildings, making them energy efficient and hospitable to learning. That’s certainly a priority on our campus. To see that, you need look no further than the remarkable green roof atop the University’s Community Commons.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the biggest transitions happening at DU right now: the move to a refreshed brand—demonstrated in a new message platform and visual identity. “DU introduces a refreshed brand” walks you through a three-year, and counting, process aimed at increasing top-of-mind awareness and perception of DU’s value and relevance. With an ever-challenging and crowded competitive marketplace, it was necessary to review the University’s strengths and opportunity areas and find ways to build more affinity and preference for the brand. Some of the ways we will double down on what is distinctly DU is to incorporate more vibrant storytelling through multimedia and social media, as well as ensuring that our messaging is more impact-and data-driven.
In addition to all of the changes underway, we’re looking at how to transform the magazine and would like to get some insight from our readers. We want to make sure we’re producing a magazine that will truly resonate. Hearing about your preferences will help shape the publication into something we can continue to be proud of. I invite you to take some time, likely no more than 10 minutes, to complete the online survey. You’ll find an invitation to that survey here.
Here’s to a fantastic fall!