Metro State running the road to new reputation as a valued Denver asset

Metro State, once short for Metropolitan State College of Denver, is the Denver city college that resides in the heart of the Mile High City. It’s long had a reputation around the city as a bargain education. But as part of an effort to rebrand and change its reputation, Metro State changed its name to theĀ Metropolitan State University of Denver (remember the flap when their proposed renaming sounded a lot like the University of Denver) in 2012 and there are many other changes that have taken place at the large city college.

The old image of ‘Metro’ is changing.

MSU Denver has been on a roll over the past ten or so years under their outgoing chancellor, Stephen Jordan and the institution has become a major asset to the city of Denver and the region.

Their school of hospitality actually has a hotel (DU’s program, which is consistently ranked in the top 5 hospitality programs nationally does not) and they take their turn stirring the brew at Tivoli brewery learning to be brewmasters. This past month, Metropolitan State just completed a new $60 million dollar aerospace and engineering sciences building. And they have an alliance with Lockheed Martin which nearly guarantees post-graduate jobs for their graduates.

Definitely not the ‘Metro’ that many of us remember.

Yes, at Metro State many of their 24,000 undergraduate students are part-time and quite a few never complete the task of graduating from college ( 1 out of 4.2 entering students graduate). But, that is still a far improvement from the past where only 1 in nearly 7 students never walked the graduation line according to The Denver Post. Most MSU Denver students come from underserved backgrounds and find many other Colorado universities unaffordable.

Their athletic teams, the Roadrunners, operate out of a new 12.5-acre athletic complex that is impressive. They play in NCAA Division II and are best known for basketball. They have been a staple in the D-II NCAA Tournament and peaked with a final four appearance and a championship game appearance in both 2012-13 & 2013-14. Over the course of those two seasons, they had a combined 64-5 record. The team has a long-standing Australian basketball pipeline which has supplied many of MSU Denver’s star players.

The cost of moving to Division I is very high so expect the Roadrunners to remain a D-II member in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Their biggest rivals are (old DU football rival) Colorado School of Mines, Regis, and Fort Lewis College.


Much of the recent progress at the Metropolitan State University of Denver was made under Chancellor Stephen Jordan term who is retiring this summer. After 12 years, Jordan increased the percentage of tenured professors, retired a massive debt, improved facilities, and maintained the lowest tuition and fees in the state of Colorado. In a sense, Jordan has been MSU Denver’s version of Dan Ritchie.

The impressive recent progress at Metro State is changing the minds of many locals who viewed ‘Metro’ as a floundering institution offering little value to their students and the community. This is a far cry from the Metro of old and the Roadrunners are helping build and reshape modern Downtown Denver.