Office of the Chancellor
Dear Readers:Two years ago, I wrote a column or the
University of Denver Magazine
about Penrose Library and a transormationalrenovation project that was to begin or this campus landmark. Penrose had opened in 1971 as an iconic modernbuilding o that time, complete with orange carpets and “egg” chairs. Very little had been done to the building since then, however, and our purpose or the renovation was to change not only the appearance, but the entireunctionality o the building.In an age where data and inormation are available anywhere, anytime, Penrose had become much more aboutpeople than about access to bound volumes, and its spaces or people—to work and think, either individually orin groups—were totally inadequate or today’s DU. So a undamental objective was to replace the space onceoccupied by bound volumes with new space or students and aculty members, in an environment conducive todeep intellectual activity. Also actored in was the clear need or a campus center, a ocal point or our intellectualculture and or the social culture that sustains it.The 10 years during which we planned this project, raised unds and started construction were also years o tremendous transormation in higher education. This transormation has to do with the undamental mechanismso teaching and learning, the basic relationships between aculty members and students, the nature o aculty work,and the ocal points o aculty scholarship. Behind this transormation is also the undamental reality that we needto change the nancial model o higher education. In many ways, the metamorphosis o Penrose Library into the Anderson Academic Commons is emblematic o that broader change.Over the course o those 10 years, there were
internal battles over just how much o the past was to beretained and just how ar we should reach or the uture. For many o us, a library is much more than a building.It is a place associated with our own intellectual stories, our personal paths to learning and scholarship. It is deeply bound up with our proessional culture as aculty members, and that can be very dicult to abandon or a yet-to-be-claried uture driven by rapidly accelerating technical and social change. But change we must.Collectively, we must prepare ourselves to seize a uture in learning and scholarship that may well be very dierentrom the past that nurtured us so well, but one that holds the potential to be ar more eective, impactul andrewarding.The Anderson Academic Commons is truly glorious. It is a magnetic place, fooded by light. It is a place dedicatedto learning and thought and yet amazingly comortable, a place to meet riends and colleagues. It undoubtedly will be our center, an iconic DU building or today and the uture. I our journey to the Anderson AcademicCommons is emblematic o the dicult path to broader change, the result is surely indicative o our institutionalstrength. A quick stroll through the building is really upliting, almost therapeutic. It is such as to convince one thatthough the uture may hold many challenges, or us at DU it is bright, indeed.
Ofce o the Chancellor
Mary Reed Building | 2199 S. University Blvd. | Denver, CO 80208 | 303.871.2111 | Fax 303.871.4101 | www.du.edu/chancellor
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