Sept. 8, 2016

Dear MSU Denver colleagues:

In my 2016 Welcome Back address, I announced my decision to retire from MSU Denver in June 2017. After considerable thought, Ruthie and I recently reached a place where we felt it was time to give the board notice of our intention to retire. This was a tough decision, but I truly believe that after many years of working to advance the University, it is time for someone else to come in with new energy and an expanded vision.

It has been a special honor to serve as president of this great University for the past 11 years. Since I arrived in 2005, my goal has been to transform MSU Denver into the preeminent urban university in the nation. Together, we have made great progress toward that goal.

We have increased opportunities for nontraditional students and students of color, as well as supporting underrepresented groups and closing the attainment gap. Last year, students of color made up 37 percent of MSU Denver’s overall student population, and 31.6 percent of our students were the first in their families to go to college. Our first-time freshman retention rate has risen from 56 percent 10 years ago to 72 percent this fall for our students who participated in the First Year Success Program. And I have no doubt that we’ll reach our goal of achieving Hispanic Serving Institution status by 2018.

Under the leadership of Board Chair Michelle Lucero, our Board of Trustees has already engaged AGB Search to conduct a national search for my successor. Former Board Chair Rob Cohen will lead the search committee that will include a broad representation of faculty, staff, students, trustees and alumni as well as foundation and community members.

All that said, my work is not done yet. During this academic year, I will focus on completing four major initiatives: achieving HSI status, opening the AES Building and seeking further fundraising dollars, successfully completing our accreditation process through the Higher Learning Commission and updating our approach to shared governance. I see these initiatives as my responsibilities and intend to see these objectives through to completion.

I want to thank each of you for the work you’ve done and for the opportunity to lead. You are the heartbeat of MSU Denver and your daily commitment to our mission has and always will inspire me.

I have always tried to follow the words of Robert Baden-Powell: “Leave this world a little better than you found it.” I believe together we have done that for MSU Denver. We’ve laid a foundation, and we are well on our way to achieving our vision of becoming a preeminent urban university.

With gratitude,


Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D.
Metropolitan State University of Denver