University of Denver and Colorado State University Welcome Exciting Expansions for Mountain Campuses

Rendering image of The Donald and Esther Harbison Research and Education Center located within Colorado State University’s Mountain Campus. Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

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The University of Denver has recently added an exciting new addition just two hour’s drive from their urban campus: The James C. Kennedy Mountain Campus, located in Larimer County, is a 724-acre plot of rolling terrain with rock outcroppings adjacent to the Roosevelt National Forest, with over 25,000 square feet of existing housing, complete with a dining hall, health center, recreational center, indoor/outdoor ropes course, and access to public lands. The property was previously owned by Girl Scouts of Colorado; the GSCO will continue to lease a portion of the property for six weeks out of every summer.

The Kennedy Mountain campus was made possible through a generous $26 million dollar gift from University of Denver alumnus James C. Kennedy (BSBA ’70) and since it has been funded entirely through philanthropy, there will be no additional cost to DU students or families. DU’s Board of Trustees decided upon the name as a way of honoring Kennedy who was well known for his enthusiasm and long-held commitment to conservation, sustainability, and outdoor education. Through a press release issued to the public, DU Chancellor Jeremy Haefner expressed excitement for the expansion and stated that the new campus will offer something for every learner to expand upon and apply to their studies on DU’s urban campus.

The James C. Kennedy Mountain Campus. Photo courtesy of The University of Denver.

“We are taking a dramatic leap forward in our commitment to providing a transformational four-dimensional experience for our students—one that emphasizes advancing intellectual growth, exploring character, promoting well-being, and pursuing careers and lives of purpose,” said Jeremy. “By the time they graduate, every DU undergraduate and graduate student will have had the opportunity to learn and grow at this remarkable place.”

Students have been enjoying short opportunities to visit the James C. Kennedy Mountain Campus starting this last fall, with longer stays involving structured programming starting in the Spring of 2022. In a press release issued late last year, James Kennedy stated the campus classes will offer a unique experience that will differentiate the University.

“It’s a different kind of classroom being outdoors, especially for students who haven’t spent much time experiencing nature. The hope is that they will develop a deeper commitment to preserving our environment,” James said.

To learn more information about the James C. Kennedy Mountain campus you’re invited to view pictures and videos of the area online or visit

Colorado State University also offers outdoor learning experiences through their own similar program with the CSU Mountain Campus, which is located within the Rocky Mountains and is approximately a 2 hour’s drive west of Fort Collins.  It, too, is surrounded by National Forests, as well as the Rocky Mountain National Park. Warner College offers several summer courses through the CSU Mountain Campus.

The Mountain Campus’ purpose is to serve the Colorado State University community and the surrounding region for academic field studies, educationally focused conferences, and mountain research. The campus is open from Mid-May to Mid-October. Additionally, the Mountain Campus is looking forward to soon being the home of the newly constructed research facility called The Donald and Esther Harbison Research and Education Center. Rob Novak, Director of Communications for the Warner College of Natural Resources recently said it will be the first new facility for teaching and research the site has had in quite some time.

“We’re extremely excited about it. It’s a roughly 15,000 square foot building that will include new modernized teaching spaces, offices for TA’s and faculty, teaching labs, which will be similar to what we use on our main campus, and also a research lab space,” Rob said. “This new set of facilities will improve our teaching mission on the sight significantly and hopefully really invigorate the research process on the campus by providing a dedicated space to people who are doing research while they’re on-site.”

You can learn more about the CSU Mountain campus or The Donald and Esther Harbison Research and Education Center by visiting the websites.