Burwell Center for Career Achievement Welcomes Students
The Burwell Center for Career Achievement opened to students in September, ushering in a new era for DU students and alumni. In the new building, the latest in the Denver Advantage campus transformation, undergraduate and graduate students can access career advice and resources, with additional services available once COVID-19 restrictions are reduced. .
Following an official opening ceremony scheduled for Alumni Weekend in May 2021, the Burwell Center will also provide a welcome and login space for returning alumni on campus as well as facilities for employers who recruit DU students.
Located on the site of the former Leo Block Alumni Center, the Burwell Center is named in honor of Barbara Burwell, the late Rod Burwell and their sons, Peter (BSBA ’11), Blake (BSME, MBA ’15) and Michael (BA ’16, MBA ’17), whose transformational $ 5 million donation made the Burwell Center a reality. At the inauguration in June 2019, Ms. Burwell said the programs at the new Burwell Center would be her most important feature. “This is the heart of what will happen in the building that will transform the lives of students and our alumni. We hope that this will be an extraordinary resource for the industry that will constitute the workforce of tomorrow. With the opening of the building that bears his family’s name, students are beginning to feel the impact of his vision.
Ms. Burwell’s vision is now becoming a reality. Within the Burwell Center, professional resources for students include networking, resume support, interview preparation, and a “career cabinet” that provides free professional clothing to students for interviews. The Burwell Center also has several spaces to enjoy the campus vibe, such as the cozy lounge with fireplace, the TJ Polite Respite relaxation room, the light and airy Shopneck family pavilion, and the Daniel and Janet Mordecai executive lounge where visiting employers can connect with students.
The Burwell Center honors the tradition of alumni with its thoughtful design. All brick and granite tiles engraved with the names of the former alumni center now adorn the entrance to the Burwell Center. The granite pillars that originally held the coupling poles in front of University Hall, when horses were the primary form of transportation to campus, have been redeveloped into bicycle racks to meet the transportation needs of the students of today. The piece of limestone that was carved as a gift from alumni, once in the old gymnasium, is now part of the structure of the Burwell Center.
The aesthetic of the new building is also a testament to its heritage and connection to Colorado. The reception area features mountain ranges cut into multiple layers of wood, with a single piece of dark stained wood in each range. One of them mimics the geographic elevation of Echo Mountain, which is owned by the Burwell family and represents the Burwell heritage in DU.
The Burwell Center aspires to achieve LEED Platinum status, a tribute to its innovative design and environmental efficiency. As one enters the building, the exposed timber provides an overview of the cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction technique used in the building. The CLT not only offers a warm aesthetic, but also superior fire, seismic, acoustic, environmental and thermal performance – supporting durability while providing a space unique to Colorado. The Burwell Center’s many windows showcase the abundant Colorado sunshine. All of the building’s systems are designed to use minimal resources and its roof is covered with solar panels.
The Burwell Center location is a connection point for campus, welcoming the public to campus and encouraging alumni to engage with their alma mater. Each layer of the building provides functionality for both students and alumni. The first floor is a campus lounge, with space for students to connect, alumni to mentor, and the community to socialize near the Ritchie Center before hockey and basketball games. The second floor of the building will provide space for career courses and coaching appointments during the day as well as networking receptions and Council of Elders evening meetings. The third floor reveals a view of the mountains – an iconic Colorado keepsake for so many of our alumni – and space for career fairs, as well as for employers to conduct interviews with our students. Having a dedicated space for employers allows them to connect with talented students from all of the University’s colleges.