A message from President Davidson


Jan. 27, 2021


Welcome back, Roadrunners!


I like to begin each semester by welcoming students, faculty and staff to campus, and despite the current challenges we are facing with this lingering pandemic, this semester is no different. Whether you will be coming to campus each week or teaching, working or learning remotely, let me remind you that each new semester and new year marks a fresh start and another opportunity to reflect back, look forward and build a better future for ourselves, our families and our communities.

We have turned the calendar on one of the most challenging years in our lifetimes. Although the pandemic continues to have a tremendous effect on our daily routines, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The promise of the vaccine combined with the demonstrated resilience of our MSU Denver community gives me so much hope and optimism for the year ahead. We have proved that even in the face of epic and historic challenges, when we come together as a supportive and mission-driven community, we can accomplish so much:

  • More than 4,000 Roadrunners completed their degrees under extraordinary circumstances last year, including the University’s 100,000th graduate all-time.
  • Before the pandemic hit, our Immigrant Services Program celebrated its 30th anniversary.
  • I am still in awe of how our students, faculty and staff rose to the occasion and pivoted – a word I know everyone is content to leave behind in 2021 – to remote learning. Our number of 2020 graduates speaks for itself, and our faculty completed more than 15,000 hours of training while our staff found new ways to support students virtually.
  • Members of the MSU Denver community also combated Covid directly. Some used campus resources to 3D-print personal protective equipment, while others sewed masks. Students served as nurses and as lab technicians. Staff at the Auraria Health Center worked with government officials to keep the community safe. An MSU Denver alumna led the U.S. Army’s pandemic response.
  • MSU Denver played an important role in the 2020 census, helping engage Coloradans who are traditionally hard to count, such as those in rural communities, housing-insecure people and immigrant communities.
  • Amid a historic racial-justice movement, MSU Denver committed to being an anti-racist university, pledging to develop and adopt a Universitywide plan for anti-racist initiatives, such as bringing more diversity to our faculty and staff and further investing in existing work being done by our faculty and staff. We highlighted our students who led peaceful protests for racial justice, while our Board of Trustees established a Sustainable Racial Justice Committee and issued an anti-racism resolution.
  • In the fall, we measured the economic impact of MSU Denver at $703.4 million annually on the local and state economies.
  • The University encouraged unique voter-registration and -turnout efforts among our students, who historically have voted at some of the highest rates in the nation. A Roadrunner was elected to the U.S. Congress for the first time.
  • To help our community during a recession with staggering job losses, MSU Denver launched a virtual Skills Lab with free curated trainings in growth industries. Close to 1,000 people have completed about 7,500 labs to date.
  • The board approved MSU Denver’s 2030 Strategic Plan last month, the culmination of 18 months of work. Our vision is to be a nationally recognized leader for social mobility, and the Strategic Plan is our guiding framework.

As Roadrunners, we went through a lot in 2020, and we should each pause to reflect on how much we have learned. Lessons of community and gratitude, self-care and compassion, perseverance and agility will continue to serve us in our personal and our professional lives well beyond the current crisis.

Looking forward, I am also hopeful more of you will be on campus later this spring, as we created 50 on-campus accelerated spring courses that begin in March in addition to those in-person classes that began last week. I will be participating in a town hall in February to talk more about vaccines and campus operations with Steve Monaco, director of the Health Center at Auraria, and Larry Sampler, vice president for Administration, Finance and Facilities and chief operating officer, so more details are to come.

As we begin 2021, please remain diligent and remember to follow the health protocols we have established, including your daily health assessment. And stay tuned for more information about how the Auraria Campus will soon serve as a Point of Dispensing (POD) for the Covid-19 vaccine. Getting everyone vaccinated is the key to getting past this epic health crisis and back on campus full-time.

Thank you again for all that you have done over the past year to keep our community safe and our mission on track. I am continually inspired by the dedication and compassion of the Roadrunner community, and I remain honored to serve as your president.



Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

President, MSU Denver