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Our history: becoming a university

April 13, 2016

On April 18, 2012, Metro State officially changed its name to Metropolitan State University of Denver, when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed SB12-148 in the jam-packed Student Success Building lobby, proclaiming, “It’s a law! You can now officially call yourselves Metropolitan State University of Denver.”

President Stephen Jordan began the celebration by stating that this “might be the best day yet to be a Roadrunner! This isn’t the end, though. Rather it’s the beginning of a new era for Metro State.”

Hickenlooper said he has been and will always be a supporter and added that MSU Denver is one of the outstanding universities in Colorado and in the nation. “Changing the institution’s name was a great way to honor what it has become: a great asset for not just Denver, but for all of Colorado.”

The seeds of the University’s new era were sown two years before, when the Board of Trustees voted to study a name-change option. The resulting Strategic Name Initiative garnered overwhelming support for a new name: 80 percent of the 9,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members who completed an online survey wanted a name change. The primary reason was to increase the value of an MSU Denver degree while eliminating the misperception that the institution was a community college.

In his closing remarks, Jordan recollected MSU Denver’s opening in 1965, when 1,189 students enrolled.

“Today we educate nearly one-fifth of all undergraduate resident Coloradans. We have nearly 24,000 students enrolled at Metro State. That’s a 2,000 percent increase since 1965.

“Scrappy, full of fighting spirit, this is a ubiquitous theme I see as we keep one foot in our past and one in the future and become Metropolitan State University of Denver. It is a great day to be a Roadrunner!”

For more MSU Denver history, visit the 50th anniversary timeline.

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