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CU Denver hosted Farewell Open House for Raul Cardenas

Students and faculty share fond memories

Raul Cardenas, Ph.D.
CU Denver Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

In honor of Raul Cardenas, Ph.D., the Vice Chancellor for Student Development, the Lola and Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center hosted his Farewell Open House on Tuesday, April 16, attracting both students and faculty to share their positive and loving sentiments about the man who has impacted their lives one way or another.

The event was advertised as follows: “Share a memory, share a laugh and thank him for the lasting impact he’s made on our university,” and people did exactly that. During the event, people were filtering in and out of the basketball court on the second floor of the Student Wellness Center that was specifically reserved for the occasion.

The crowd who gathered around the standing tables in the intimate space created a constant flow of chatter about their time spent with Raul. While party music played in the background, gold and black balloons decorated the space, and a large projector showed a picture of Raul with the words “thank you” displayed in bold letters. Even Milo made an appearance.

In the middle of it all stood Raul. People who hold the highest respect of him were swarming around him, giving gifts, taking selfies, and sharing their kind words while Raul was graciously accepting all of it. When asked to reflect on his time here and the party in his honor, Raul said, “It’s very awesome,” before being interrupted by another party-goer who had to express how much he will miss Raul. “I am humbled. I really love this place; this is a very special place,” Raul eventually continued, then asked where his wife went so she could be a part of all the praise he was receiving.

His involvement in the campus even extended to Anschutz as Jennifer Williams, a faculty member at Anschutz, made the drive to attend the party. While waiting in line to talk to the guest of honor, she said, “I have a lot of respect for Raul. The campus will miss him. He has done a lot for students, especially with engagement and success,” which brings to light the most important part of Raul’s job—the students.

“I came to thank Raul. He saved my ass,” a science and information systems student named Edward, who chose to remain anonymous, said after he took a selfie with Raul and thanked him for his involvement in his educational career. “I received a scholarship for my bachelor’s degree, and because of that, I’m in my master’s program.”

The CU Denver spirit was captured in this open house, especially having the man who is so passionate about the University be the star of the show. The big windows in the gym that allowed the city to be the backdrop of this event completed the atmosphere.

Although Raul Cardenas is leaving to further his career as President and CEO of Mullen High School in Denver, people of the CU Denver community can still tell him, “CU in the City.”

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