The First Word

MSU Denver’s transformation over the past 50 years is nothing short of extraordinary.

By Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D.

Publish Date: October 23, 2015

 Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D.
Our 50th year as a university continues to be a truly golden anniversary – and a momentous time – for Metropolitan State University of Denver. 
The growth we have experienced since our humble beginnings is nothing short of extraordinary. In 1965, we were a small downtown college with no infrastructure, a miniscule budget and a mission to make a difference. We offered two-year associate degrees in six majors. Today, we offer 244 degree options, 60 majors, 87 minors, 30 certificates and 33 licensures. We have 85,000 alumni, most of whom live in Colorado, contributing to the vitality of our great state. 
We have made a name for ourselves by developing programs through public-private partnerships that feed Colorado industries. Our Aerospace and Engineering Sciences initiative (page 22) is a direct result of industry partnerships and consultation. With construction of the AES Building now underway – we broke ground on the $60 million state-of-the-art facility on Oct. 8 – the University is developing an innovative curriculum that serves Colorado by addressing workforce demands. The AES initiative is just one of countless examples that demonstrate our commitment to working with industry to design relevant, career-focused programs. 
We’ve evolved from a college to a university and changed our name. We’ve added master’s programs and established a School of Education. We’ve further developed one of the nation’s leading aviation programs and our health care programs provide the personnel sorely needed in a burgeoning health care economy. With a student population that is more than 35 percent students of color and 32 percent first-generation, we are the “university of opportunity” for many who may have not had a chance for an education in the past.
It has been a transformational journey – take a moment to peruse some of MSU Denver’s major milestones (page 16) – over the past 50 years. And we’re just getting started. New initiatives that will frame our next 50 years include:
• A partnership with Colorado Heights University that will significantly shape our trajectory by expanding our educational presence in southwest Denver and creating a multi-campus university. The agreement would include the transfer of ownership of significant portions of the historic Loretto Heights campus located at Federal and Dartmouth to MSU Denver. The goal is to take ownership by July 2016 and begin offering classes that fall once comprehensive due diligence is performed.
• A partnership with the Detroit Institute of Music Education that will offer students in the Detroit area an MSU Denver curriculum in performance, songwriting and music entrepreneurship taught by our faculty. 
• Two new master’s programs – a Master of Health Administration with a focus on data analytics and a Master of Business Administration with a focus on business intelligence.
The next 50 years promise to bring many challenges to higher education institutions, but MSU Denver is prepared to meet these challenges head on. With continued support from our alumni, friends and partners, we expect to see even greater growth, more partnerships, an influx of students committed to success in society, and many opportunities to offer those students exciting and relevant programs that strengthen communities and provide access to all. In short, we are on our way to becoming America’s preeminent urban university.
We look forward to taking that journey with you.
Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D.