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John Madden Jr. Commits $5 Million to Support Faculty Innovation at the University of Denver

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University of Denver

Gift will help fund center in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Announcement  •
John Madden

The University of Denver received a $5 million commitment from local real estate developer and philanthropist John Madden, Jr. to support the Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts at the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS). To recognize his generosity, DU will name the John Madden Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts in his honor.

DU’s College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences is re-imagining liberal and creative arts education through the Madden Center, an integral part of its Keystone Strategic Plan. The Madden Center functions as an academic venture capital firm investing in faculty-driven projects that develop innovative, new approaches to scholarship, teaching, creative work, and community engagement.

“The Madden Center is a fulfillment of the goals of our strategic plan, DU IMPACT 2025. Through John’s gift, DU will strengthen the connection between the liberal arts and innovation,” said Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. “John’s generosity will advance faculty innovation by providing critical funding and resources for research and programs, such as the recent cross-discipline DU prison arts initiative. We are grateful for John’s friendship and entrepreneurial spirit. Through this gift, yet again, John will impact the DU community, and the Denver region, for decades to come.”

The Madden Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts identifies and supports passionate, entrepreneurial faculty members who have already invested their own time and energy to begin a promising early stage-project whose scope is limited by existing resources of time, funding and program development expertise. The Madden Center supports projects that are:

  • Multidisciplinary, connecting faculty and students across DU regardless of their degree program or academic home.
  • Transformational, changing the way students learn and faculty conduct research and creative activity.
  • Committed to developing Keystone Experiences, opportunities for a large number of CAHSS students to engage in immersive experiential education.
  • Focused on problem-based learning, a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn by solving open-ended, real-world problems.
  • Committed to creating community partnerships, including supporting course proposals and scholarship/creative work that are community engaged.

“We are thrilled that Mr. Madden committed to support a signature project in our Keystone Strategic Plan,” said Daniel McIntosh, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. “His generosity provides the long-term financial support needed to amplify the tremendous work of the Center, our faculty and our students, providing a model for higher education innovation.”

“It is impossible to overstate the significance of Mr. Madden’s transformational gift to the Center,” said Derigan Silver, faculty director of the Madden Center. “This gift will change the way faculty and students work, learn and create at the University of Denver and will support hundreds of faculty projects over the lifetime of the Center.”

“John’s impact on the University is remarkable, and his generosity will make a difference for our students for many years to come,” said Armin Afsahi, vice chancellor for advancement. “His passion for art, for creativity, and for student learning will long endure at DU. I’m also grateful for his love for living life to its fullest, and his kind friendship.”

John W. Madden, Jr., is a pioneer of commercial development in the Denver area and founder of John Madden Company. For over 48 years, his vision and use of distinctive building materials have produced spaces that enhance the surrounding communities. Under his leadership, the John Madden Company developed more than 600 acres of land to turn Greenwood Village into a nationally acclaimed area in which to work, live and play. The company’s award-winning developments are instantly recognizable for their use of outdoor art – a direct result of John Madden’s own passion for supporting the arts. Mr. Madden donated his personal art collection valued at $10 million to the University of Denver in 2015, and that transformational partnership continues with his current gift in support of liberal and creative arts.