Chancellor Michelle Marks, PhD

An innovator dedicated to making higher education equitable for the good of society.

Meet Chancellor Marks

News & Updates


The Chronicle of Higher Education Commentary

“To revitalize our cities and ensure their prosperity,” writes Michelle Marks, “we must reimagine them—to be smarter, sustainable, and equitable. Public urban research universities are ideal laboratories for that reinvention.” This op-ed was published in summer 2023 in the early weeks of Marks’ chairship of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities.

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Chancellor Marks’ Focus Areas

Social Mobility


CU Denver is committed to ensuring that every student feels like they belong on campus, that every student thrives in their educations, and that every student graduates with the knowledge and experience needed to benefit their own lives and the lives of their communities. U.S. News & World Report has ranked CU Denver #1 in social mobility for two years running. Nearly half our students are students of color, and half are first generation. Many are working learners, parents, veterans, and caregivers, but all our students are the next generation of leaders and changemakers. Like CU Denver’s, my work is driven by a mission to advance success for all through an inclusive, welcoming living and learning environment that our communities—and the world—need.

Career Connectedness


Connectedness. This word says so much about where we are as a society: what drives us and what we value. We live in a period of significant change in our country, in our workplaces, and in higher education, but I like to think about the great possibility that change brings. Connectedness is not only part of our ethos at CU Denver—where we are working to ensure today’s industries have the diverse talent they need to succeed—it is also a key differentiator that our diverse, multigenerational students bring to campus. Whether they are the first in their families to attend college or the working mother of two changing her career, our students match their energy, earnestness, and fortitude with our nationally ranked programs, abundant hands-on learning opportunities, and wide-ranging industry partnerships to fuel that connectedness between CU Denver and the industries we help power.

Making Education Work For All


Demographics in the U.S. are changing. Our society, and our workforce, are older and more diverse than ever before. But in a quickly evolving world, our American system of higher education still largely caters to the privileged few, even as education equity gaps widen. I believe that higher education should work for all—for learners of all ages, life stages, and backgrounds. When I arrived at CU Denver, I worked closely with our community of students, faculty, and staff to build a bold strategic plan on the bedrock principle that education here at CU Denver will work for all. As the most diverse research university in Colorado, we have the obligation, the opportunity, and the unique assets to provide a high-quality, accessible, real-world education to the talented many.



Throughout my career, I have seen the power of innovation in advancing universities, communities, and society. CU Denver is located in the heart of downtown Denver—one of America’s most vibrant, innovative, and emerging global cities—and working alongside our city and its people, we are working to expand the boundaries of our campus as a convener for the brightest and most diverse students, educators, scholars, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Together, we are shaping the future of our region (and beyond) through the most impactful connections in academic and civic life. Together, we can be that catalyst for positive change.

Chats with the Chancellor:
Elizabeth Garner, State Demographer

The latest installment of Chancellor Michelle Marks’ interview series with Colorado leaders features State Demographer Elizabeth Garner with insights on Colorado’s population trends.

Chats with the Chancellor:
Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver

The second installment of Chancellor Michelle Marks’ video interview series with Colorado changemakers features Michael B. Hancock, three-term mayor of Denver, and a 1995 alumnus of the CU Denver School of Public Affairs.

Chats with the Chancellor:
Tyler Svitak, Executive Director, Colorado Smart Cities Alliance

The first installment of Chancellor Michelle Marks’ video interview series with Colorado changemakers features Tyler Svitak, the executive director of the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance.

Revitalizing Denver’s Historic Ninth Street: The Centennial House Restoration

You can’t tell the story of CU Denver without telling the story of Ninth Street. CU Regent Nolbert Chavez shares updates on the Centennial House Restoration and discusses the Displaced Aurarian Scholarship.

Thank YOU, faculty and staff, for your exceptional work this year

As we wrap up another academic year, I want to thank YOU for your fantastic work educating and supporting our students. You have shown up time and again to help CU Denver overcome obstacles and reach its goals. You have my utmost respect and gratitude.

Chancellor Marks on Social Media

Chancellor’s Office

CU Denver

Lawrence Street Center

1380 Lawrence Street

Suite 1400

Denver, CO 80204


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