We told you about the passing of one of DU’s most passionate advocates, former board member Joy Burns in 2020. Today, Chancellor Jeremy Haefner announced that her estate gift is “the largest in DU’s history, is a testament to the enduring legacy of Frank and Joy Burns at DU”.
This is an incredible gift that is sure to benefit a number of important initiatives and capital projects for the University of Denver. As a passionate gymnastics fan and lover of DU athletics, we hope that some of these funds are directed to upgrade athletic facilities.
As far back as 2016, Puck Swami wrote an article for LetsGoDU reinforcing the need for continued investment in athletic facilities. After all, the gleaming Ritchie Center is now older (circa 1999, 20+ years) than most of the athletes matriculating to DU. While the athletic landscape has changed since then, Denver has made some wise additional investments in athletics facilities. The men’s hockey locker room, the Miller Hockey Complex, is a beautiful addition and a fantastic recruiting tool. Denver Tennis Park at South High School is a fascinating partnership between DU and Denver Public Schools to share a facility. Also, it is hard to envision how DU operated before the Diane Wendt Field was added to support recreational opportunities for student clubs and teams as well as varsity athletics. But, there is still more to be done.
If Denver Athletics and Recreation is fortunate enough to benefit from Burns’ generous gift, we are sure Karlton Creech, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation, and his team will make wise use of the much-needed funds.
More importantly, we are left to reflect on the long-term legacy that Joy and her husband Frank provided the University of Denver in support of women’s sports, athletics in general, and the DU community.
Top photo of Joy Burns courtesy of Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame