CU Denver students showed Jerry Wartgow that even after serving for several years as chancellor, he could still be surprised. SGA hosted a lunch in honor of Wartgow’s retirement and to thank him for the impact he has made at the university.
Wartgow was presented with a farewell gift, an artistic rendering of the future student Wellness Center, which he was instrumental in initiating for CU Denver. However, the big surprise came with the announcement that the Office of Admissions Welcome Center in the Student Commons Building is to be named the Jerry Wartgow Welcome Center.
“We know as student leaders that no matter how much work we put in, we would never be able to accomplish something as big as the Wellness Center without the support of people like you and without the support of the administration,” said David Heisler, SGA president. “We can never thank you enough. This university and campus wouldn’t be the way it is without you.”
Students also shared their experiences with the chancellor, describing their first meetings with him, the ways he connected with the student body and expressed admiration for his qualities as a leader.
“The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary,” said Scott Cao, past president of the SGA. “I think that quote specifically demonstrates what he (Wartgow) has done for our university. There is not one more person who is more influential in the development of our university.”
Wartgow, moved by the sentiments and gifts, credited the student leaders and student body, as well as University of Colorado President Bruce Benson, with being the real driving forces behind bringing the campus Wellness Center to fruition. “
“I’ve had a long career. But one of the greatest moments was over at the Student Commons Building at the Regents board meeting,” Wartgow said. “The original vote was 2-7. But because of your presentations, it became 7-2, which was remarkable. You did it. It’s yours.”
“Thank you for what you’ve done,” he added. “I hope your experience at CU Denver has been as exciting and productive as mine has been. If I hadn’t loved it the first time around and worked with a lot of you, I wouldn’t have come back a second time.”
Dorothy Horrell, who will succeed Wartgow as chancellor on Jan. 4, offered praise for the example Wartgow has set as a leader and affirmed her own commitment to supporting and empowering students.
“We are seldom blessed in our lives to have people who make an extraordinary difference and who we’ve met in our lifetime, whether they are teachers, family members, or others,” Horrell said. “A leader is not someone who does something. Leadership comes from within. It’s how we are, not what we do. You have seen firsthand how a leader lives and acts. That lesson will be something that is extraordinarily valuable to you for a lifetime.”