Site icon University of Denver Magazine

New program to train leaders for the outdoor recreation industry

The University of Denver has partnered with the Denver-based VF Foundation to create the interdisciplinary Leadership in Outdoor Recreation Industry (LORI) program, a first-of-its-kind initiative that aims to diversify the talent pipeline in the rapidly growing outdoor industry. 

Thanks to a $3 million grant from the VF Foundation, LORI will offer coursework across three academic units—the Daniels College of Business, Sturm College of Law and Josef Korbel School of International Studies. The curriculum is designed for existing and emerging leaders in the industry, allowing them to get tailored workforce development and professional education.

The VF Foundation is the philanthropic arm of VF Corp., one of the world’s largest outdoor apparel, footwear and accessory companies. Its iconic brands include Vans, The North Face, Timberland, Dickies and Smartwool.

“Denver is an important center for the outdoor industry, making DU the perfect home for such a program. Through
the foundation’s targeted support of scholarships for underrepresented individuals, combined with DU’s expansive offering of business and industry-relevant coursework, we hope to spark the next generation of diverse leadership in the outdoor industry,” says Steve Rendle, chairman, president and CEO of VF Corp. 

To ensure access for outdoor industry professionals, the interdisciplinary coursework will be taught fully online in a “sprint” format, consisting of focused one-credit courses. This will provide the program sufficient flexibility to tailor offerings to students’ and organizations’ specific needs.

Topics covered in the sprints will include financial models, marketing, sustainability in the outdoor industry, legal issues in land use and access, supply chain, public policy and data-driven decision-making.

The program launches in 2023 with two 16-credit graduate certificates—one in outdoor recreation industry business (ORIB), targeting individuals new to the industry or those within the industry seeking to transition to business-oriented roles; and another in outdoor recreation industry leadership (ORIL), serving experienced individuals looking to expand their leadership roles.

Learn more about LORI at

Exit mobile version