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Daniels community gathers for heartfelt farewell and send-off celebration for Dean Brent Chrite

Brent Chrite

The notion that Mondays aren’t times of great celebration was dispelled this week as hundreds of students, staff, faculty and friends of the Daniels College of Business gathered Monday, April 29, in the Tuscan Ballroom at the University of Denver to celebrate the work and service of Daniels Dean Brent Chrite. Chrite, who has served as dean of the College for the past five years, will step down from his role in June, and effective Aug. 1, will become the seventh president of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Over food, drinks and jazz music, Chrite was honored and thanked for his leadership, hard work and dedication to Daniels. Paul Olk, senior associate dean for faculty, research and accreditation, referenced the latest Dean’s Report as he discussed the long list of accomplishments that Chrite achieved during his deanship at Daniels.

“You’ve dramatically improved the Daniels College of Business,” Olk said to Chrite. “We wish you great success at Bethune-Cookman University. We know that you’re going to accomplish great things there.”

Over the last five years, Chrite has led Daniels through a major strategic shift—overhauling the College’s academic portfolio, expanding its global footprint, growing its faculty and creating a new generation of teaching and learning approaches matched to the demands of the 21st-century economy.

“Dr. Brent Chrite served as dean with deep integrity and great intelligence,” said Gregg Kvistad, the University of Denver provost who hired Chrite. “His visionary, collaborative leadership is respected by colleagues across the University. His most lasting legacy, however, may be his singular focus on academic excellence and inclusion. Bethune-Cookman University is extremely fortunate to have landed Dr. Chrite as its next president.”

Chrite, who oversees more than 3,000 students and 220 staff and faculty members at Daniels, is not only well-regarded by internal constituents of the College, but also by members of the wider Daniels community.

“Brent Chrite is a leader who has demonstrated an innovative approach to complicated issues in education today,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America and member of the Daniels Executive Advisory Board. “His keen intelligence combined with a passion for both faculty and students is a true asset for Bethune-Cookman University.”

Chrite is an expert on building individual and institutional economic capacities in challenging emerging markets around the world. He has worked on behalf of the World Bank to build education and business assistance programs in Ethiopia and Tanzania, and on behalf of the Eurasia Foundation to strengthen the private sector in Uzbekistan. He recently completed a three-year engagement to improve business education and entrepreneurship in Afghanistan, working under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and engaging Daniels faculty.

“He is a truly exceptional and rare leader,” said Don Bergh, Beaumont Chair and professor of management at Daniels. “He values everyone, listens intently and responds thoughtfully.”

Chrite previously served as dean at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and has held leadership positions at the University of Arizona-Tucson and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He has also taught strategic management, leadership and international business to students and executives at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and at universities around the world.

There seems to be no doubt that Chrite has accomplished a great deal during his 30-year career, and his work at Daniels will continue to impact the College and community for years to come. “Brent, we are going to miss you terribly,” Olk said, echoing the sentiments heard around the room at Monday night’s celebration. “Thank you for sharing your last five years with us.”