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There is much about the Knoebel School to make us proud. Frequently ranked as one of the top hospitality schools in the nation, the Knoebel School has: 

  • Assembled extraordinary resources – an innovative curriculum, world-class facilities, and a business-savvy faculty.
  • Long-served as a training-ground for numerous, distinguished leaders in hospitality.
  • Received the highest mark of distinction in business education: accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
  • Graduated more than 3,400 students who have matriculated to companies and management positions all around the world.
  • Doubled its enrollment during the past 10 years and has continued on an upward trajectory.
  • Achieved 100% career placement for students for the last several years who actively seek employment thanks to its extensive career development activities, industry ties and the many opportunities students have to build a professional network. 

In 2014, the School’s strategic planning process produced a robust set of goals and a vision to, “Be bold. Do good. Change lives.” The faculty and staff of the School are extraordinary and provide an immersive, high touch, global educational experience that prepares students to responsibly lead in the business of hospitality. It is without a doubt that Knoebel has enhanced its role as one of the most prestigious hospitality schools in the country.

Our goals cannot be achieved without a strong investment from our community. As a private business college, Daniels must depend on substantial financial support from alumni, friends, parents, corporations and other stakeholders—not just to ensure success for the short term, but to sustain excellence for the Hospitality School’s future.

Phelps Matching Fund

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To begin building a lifelong relationship with their alma mater, young alumni should get involved within the first five years after graduation, says Nick Phelps (BSBA ’09). His commitment to the idea runs so deeply that he made a gift to the University of Denver that could help spur others’ involvement.

Phelps’ recent gift to the Knoebel School carries with it a challenge to other alums to invest as well. His gift will match those of other young Knoebel School alumni, encouraging their involvement while meeting the school’s most urgent needs.

His motivation — and his pitch to fellow young alums — lies in increasing the value of the degree and in fostering the relationships built at DU. “The value of our degree isn’t determined by the people who have come before us, but rather the next generation that graduates,” Phelps says. “The best thing we can do to increase the value of our degree is to ensure that the next generation is better than we were.”

Phelps is co-owner of From the Farmer, a booming Washington, D.C. based company that provides home delivery of fresh, seasonal produce. When Phelps and his business partner, Jason Lundberg (BSAC ’10), started the company, they worked out of Phelps’ mother’s garage to sort and deliver produce to about 30 customers. Now adding 500 customers a month, From the Farmer serves 4,000 people in a region with an increasing demand for delivery-based services. Phelps’ perspective on the company’s impact reveals his roots in the hospitality field and his passion for service.

“If I can save my clients an hour that they can then spend on their work or their interests — that’s what we’re here to do,” he says.

His recent investment in the University reflects that same commitment to service and connection, and his passion has strong roots in his time as a student. He and Lundberg were members of the Pioneer Leadership Program; they also started the DU Grilling Society, cooking for 2,000 students one homecoming.

In Phelps’ view, a student’s time on campus is the first and shortest step in a lifelong relationship with the University. He likens it to a climbing wall, with the first pitch being the first job after college, and every following step a new opportunity to relate to the university where the climb began.

The key to maintaining that relationship, he says, is the University connecting with alumni within the first five years after they graduate. He suggests that education about philanthropy should start in a student’s first year, a move that would go a long way toward building a lasting culture of philanthropy.

With the University where it is today — as a “shining star” under Chancellor Rebecca Chopp’s leadership, Phelps says — he believes this is the perfect opportunity for DU to expand its reach and connect even more purposefully with alumni.

“As long as you remember that this is the foundation you come from, you’ll be a part of the family forever,” he says.