MSU Denver announced on Thursday, Jan. 19, a transformational gift from Mariner and Megan Kemper, the Kemper Family and UMB Financial Corporation Charitable. The three-part gift will help the University kick-off its capital campaign to construct the Health Institute, seed an endowed deanship for the new College of Health and Human Sciences and support the construction of the Classroom to Career Hub.

“Mariner and Megan Kemper have been deeply involved at MSU Denver for years, but this gift is truly special,” said President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., in her welcoming remarks. “The Health Institute and the C2 Hub are our highest priorities to transform MSU Denver into the modern educational environment that will offer life-changing opportunities to thousands of Coloradans. Thank you!”

The new 70,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Health Institute will bring together 10 different health disciplines, facilitate interdisciplinary learning and research, and serve the public through two community-facing clinics. By funding the initiative, the Kemper Family is helping MSU Denver address a critical shortage of health care workers in the state. Currently, Colorado is among the worst states in the country ready to meet the need for nurses, mental health workers and others over the next decade. The additional space will allow the University to increase the number of health care students it admits and graduates by 32%. By seeding an endowed fund for the deanship of the College of Health and Human Sciences, the Kempers are providing the college’s inaugural dean with flexible resources to fund innovation, attract top faculty and support programs. It is the first endowed deanship at MSU Denver.

Mariner Kemper also serves as president and CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. The gift from the UMB Financial Corporation Charitable Foundation to the Classroom to Career Hub capital project will provide essential space to facilitate career exploration, student interaction with employers across Colorado and connections with professional mentors. Many MSU Denver students are the first generation in their family to attend college. To successfully pursue a career, they need to build professional networks, participate in career-related work experiences and connect with job opportunities. At the same time, employers across the state are hungry for talent—especially diverse talent—but need an efficient way to connect to the University. The C2 Hub will facilitate these connections.

“Megan and I believe in higher education—it’s the key to changing lives,” said Kemper during his remarks. “We are excited to invest in MSU Denver because it not only offers an accessible education, it offers a high-quality educational experience. MSU Denver is so important because it focuses on serving Colorado students who will likely stay in our state and serve our community.”