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October 11, 2018

80 Years of Serving Adult Learners

Imagine 1938.

A gallon of gas cost 10 cents, the U.S. was starting to emerge from the Great Depression, and the ballpoint pen was first introduced. It was also the year University College programming was introduced at the University of Denver.

The University of Denver has engaged in various types of adult education programming almost since its inception in 1864, but it wasn’t until 1938 that University College officially emerged. As early as 1909 DU began to purchase properties in downtown Denver to house its ambitious plans for colleges of law, medicine, dentistry, music, and commerce. In 1918 Chancellor Buchtel purchased what was to become the Civic Center Campus at Cleveland Place. An extant page from what appears to be a bulletin of the College of Liberal Arts, with the handwritten date of 1938 across the top, lists evening courses that can be used for credit in traditional programs. The name of the program of evening courses? None other than “University College.”

This fall, we’re recognizing 80 years of providing high-quality education geared for adult learners. Back in 1938, that meant part-time and evening courses held in downtown Denver and led by a mix of faculty and working professionals. Today, our mission is the same: to deliver enduring professional growth and personal development to adult learners by becoming the hub for lifelong learning in the Front Range and beyond.

From the very beginning, University College has worked to provide relevant education to adult learners. Whether at the 211 Fifteenth Street location in the early 20th century or the hyflex labs that combine live classroom experiences with online technology in use today, University College strives to deliver education in a meaningful and convenient way.

While we celebrate our past, we’re also emboldened by the prospect of a bright future. With a new strategic plan guiding our way, we’re expanding partnerships across campus and within the community, growing our reputation on the national stage as leaders in adult education, and expanding our portfolio of offerings. From updated curricula to new boot camps, see what’s new at University College:

  • Dozens of four-course graduate certificates, including Strategic Innovation and Change, Marketing Communication, Web Design and Development, and more
  • Updated curricula for many programs, such as the new MA in Global Community Engagement that helps emerging community activists make an impact
  • A new master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership, along with graduate certificate options, launching in spring 2019 (see next page for details)
  • A new graduate certificate in Supply Chain Management in collaboration with the Daniels College of Business
  • More 12-week and 24-week boot camps with in-demand topics like cybersecurity, data analytics, and coding
  • 30+ affordable short courses being offered this fall through the Center for Professional Development (

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