Campus of University of Denver in Fall session.

Tertiary education is by far among the important factors that shape an economy. They are a huge indicator of development and the innovativeness of a People. Located in the rocky mountain region in the South of Denver, Colorado, and having been established more than 1.5 centuries ago, the University Of Denver boasts a rich history and commendable reputation.


The research-based institution offers an array of academic programs, ranging from undergraduate to graduate studies. These cover a wide range of subjects, from sciences to business, hospitality, journalism, and a lot more. The university also offers international student programs, including online, class-based, and exchanges.

Being located in the capital of Colorado and carrying one of the most popular city’s names, Denver University is under the radar of most tourists and locals. In this piece, we’ll explore a bit about the history of this amazing institution so you can get familiar with it. 


The University of Denver is one of the oldest universities in the state of Colorado. It began as a private higher learning institution. It was established and founded by Colorado governor John Evans as a Methodist seminary in 1864. John Evans then was the second governor of Colorado during the reign of Abraham Lincoln.

As the city of Denver grew and advanced into cosmopolitanism, the university also started gaining ground and progressed from being a seminarian in 1880 into a global learning institution center in the Colorado capital. It was then renamed The University of Denver.

Its first school was located in the town of Denver in the 1860s. Later, the atmosphere became non-conducive for the learning institution and this forced it to move to another location on a land donated by Rufus Clark, where the current campus is based. 


After World War 2, the number of students surged, out of the appealing reputation of the university, gaining it international recognition. The University blossomed and awarded its first degrees in the year 1886 and 1900 consecutively, after which the first business schools in Colorado for social work in Mississippi and Westcoast were established. While the university was birthed from the United Methodist Church, this didn’t limit students who are not from the Methodist church from being admitted. The school admits students from different backgrounds of faith.

Over the years, the university started offering different awards and degrees, from bachelor to doctorate. Today, it is renowned for its excellent business school and international study programs. Apart from business degrees, the university also offers both undergraduate and degree programs in sciences and arts. Other programs the university offers include law, journalism, education, visual and performing arts, psychology, and many others. The University of Denver has a Graduate School of International Studies, the Lamont School of Music, and the Women’s College, which offer undergraduate degree programs for working-class women. 


The Mary Reed building forms the administration block and a former library which was built in 1932 in the ancient model of Collegiate Gothic. Another eye-catching building built in gothic style is Margery Reed Hall that was built in 1929 and named after Mary Reed’s daughter. It hosts the undergraduate program students for the Daniels College of business. However, an overhaul renovation was done in 2014 and more spacious classes were added.  

In 1880, David Hastings Moore became the first chancellor of the University of Denver, working in collaboration with the trustee’s board, faculties, other staff, and alumni. According to their official website, the University of Denver has been led by 19 chancellors as of 2020. The most recent and current chancellor is Dr. Jeremy Haefner, who succeeded Rebecca Chopp’s 5-year tenure from 2014 to 2019. Robert Coombe was before her, and Daniel L. Ritchie before him. 

Campus Attraction Sites 

At the center of the campus, you are met by some of the oldest historic buildings, which were built one mile above sea level in a Richardsonian Romanesque style in 1890. The Denver University also takes pride in the historic Chamberlin Observatory, which was opened in 1894, and has been a major source of attraction and admiration to many to date. It is open to the public twice a week and one Saturday in a month. Next to it, at the center of the campus, lies the Evans Memorial Chapel, a small vintage Church that was built in the 1870s. It was first built in downtown Denver but relocated to Denver University in the early 1960s.

The University of Denver gained heights and Modernized when we entered the 21st century, it has been excelling in academics and numbers of admission annually. It caters to more than 12,000 students today, with thousands of them graduating annually. 


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The next article in this series on Denver: Check out Denver’s Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum