Header image for Davidson's Desk president's newsletterOct. 4, 2022


National Hispanic Heritage Month is an important time for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) like Metropolitan State University of Denver to pause and reflect on what it really means to serve our valued Latino community. As an HSI, we receive government funding for innovative initiatives that directly benefit our students, and it’s our job to ensure they graduate with the experience and skills they need to contribute to Colorado’s communities and workforce after they leave our campus.

Since 1970, the Latino population in the U.S. has grown from under 10 million people to more than 60 million; Latino students have become a bigger part of MSU Denver in recent decades too. When the University began its 12-year pursuit of the HSI designation in 2007, just 13% of Roadrunner undergraduates were Latino. We crossed the 25% Latino threshold needed to become an HSI in 2018 and earned the official federal designation in 2019. Today, 36% of our students are Latinos, closely mirroring the demographics of the Denver community.

I dedicated a portion of my President’s Welcome Back address to MSU Denver employees this month to the idea of Hispanic servingness – not just enrolling Latino students, but truly serving them. Since earning HSI status, we have received $6.4 million in grants for initiatives like Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans in Denver Nutrition Program, Space Tech Scholars, and our Transfer Pathway Fostering STEM Connections. We’re also well-known for our commitment to undocumented students, which included the creation of a special tuition rate for Dreamers in 2012; and we continue our present-day advocacy efforts including a path to citizenship and immigration reform. We want to be a model for other HSIs across the country and were named an outstanding member institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities last year.

This fall, we’ve been celebrating another milestone in Hispanic servingness at MSU Denver – we have closed the retention gap between Latino students and the university average. It’s a big deal for us as we walk the walk on what it means to be a Hispanic-Serving Institution and look forward to finding even more ways to better serve all historically underserved populations.

MSU Denver educates 54% students of color total, making us one of the most culturally rich and diverse communities in the state. This diversity is what attracts so many to our community, and it also means we need to turn our attention to the challenge of bringing these diverse communities together and help everyone find their sense of belonging.

There are many ways you can support MSU Denver’s efforts, including as an HSI ambassador, industry partner or philanthropist. However you can, I encourage you to join us in serving this valued community!


Janine Davidson, Ph.D.
President, MSU Denver

MSU Denver in the News

MSU Denver program helps migrant farmworkers afford colleges (9News)
The longstanding program continues to help students with financial aid and other resources when they get to campus.

Colorado has big gaps in who finishes college. Can a post-pandemic push turn the tide? (Chalkbeat)
Colorado has some of the nation’s largest gaps in college completion for its students of color. Part of its new strategy includes spending federal relief dollars to bring students back to school.

Students’ archaeological dig peers into Auraria campus’s past as Denver’s oldest neighborhood (Denver Post)
Items found are intended to be housed in a forthcoming museum about the displaced Aurarians.

Mariachi Estelares de Colorado performs at Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival (CBS4)
The all-star group of high school musicians from across Colorado auditioned to be in an ensemble led by MSU Denver Professor Lorenzo Trujillo.

Stories from MSU Denver

Reimagining higher education: 2017-22
MSU Denver looks back at President Davidson’s first five years at the University.

MSU Denver embarks on Health Institute Simulation Labs project
Learn about the design and construction timeline and how the new space will revolutionize teaching and learning.

University expands Pacesetter Scholarship Program
New donation to MSU Denver to make college dream possible for more students.

Initiative aims to strengthen ‘backbone’ of democracy
MSU Denver’s Institute for Public Service to prepare students for government and nonprofit careers.

Use your words: how to disagree constructively on a college campus
Bipartisan leaders and dialogue experts discuss freedom of speech and democracy.

Upcoming MSU Denver Events

Oct. 11 | 11 a.m. keynote | 2:30 p.m. panel
Richard T. and Virginia Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship
Join MSU Denver and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies for the 2022 Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship, a full day of events at St. Cajetan's featuring Ernesto Quiñonez, this year’s Castro Professor. RSVP for Castro events

Oct. 27 | 2-3 p.m.
President’s Fireside Chat with Gen. Darren McDew
Gen. Darren W. McDew is a retired U.S. Air Force general who served as the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Hosted by President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., in JSSB Room 420, the hybrid event will include an engaging discussion on the importance of public service along with insight on McDew’s experience in leadership. RSVP for McDew chat

Dec. 16 | 9:30 a.m. ceremony | 2:30 p.m. ceremony
Fall 2022 Commencement
MSU Denver's fall Commencement ceremonies will be held at the Denver Coliseum.
Morning Ceremony | College of Business; College of Health and Applied Sciences
Afternoon Ceremony | College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; School of Education; School of Hospitality
More info

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