Skip to Content

History

Committed to Skills-Based Education

Since 1964, we've offered international studies programs designed to educate skilled, ethical and innovative leaders. We challenge students to think critically about current global issues and develop skills that can help them advance the common good. Today, we're a top-ranked school for international affairs, offering customizable degrees that prepare career-focused students to address specific global challenges. 

Past Deans

ben cherrington
Ben M. Cherrington

Under Dean Cherrington's leadership, the Korbel School gained a national reputation. Notably, he incorporated international leaders into our academic community—a tradition that lives on. 

Josef Korbel
Josef Korbel

Founder and first dean of the Graduate school in 1964, Josef Korbel helped shape the field of international studies. He was mentor to two former Secretaries of State. The first was his daughter and first female Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright; the second was his star student, Condoleezza Rice. 

nelson hall from below

Korbel History Highlights

How Korbel Came to Be

In 1964, with the enthusiastic support of Ben Cherrington and Josef Korbel's distinguished academic and administrative acumen, the Graduate School of International Studies was founded. Josef Korbel was our first dean, and was responsible for raising the much-needed funding to build Ben M. Cherrington Hall, which opened in 1965. Josef Korbel died in 1977, but his legacy lives on. The School was renamed May 28, 2008 in his honor.

Our second dean, Ben M. Cherrington, is credited with laying the foundation for our hallmark strengths: a global perspective, academic integrity, interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, and support for sustainable, humane global initiatives. Under Cherrington's leadership, we gained a national reputation. Thanks to his drive and enthusiasm for organizing conferences, seminars and lectures, Denver became a hub for politicians, diplomats, academics and business leaders from around the world—a distinction that continues today.

In 2019, Frederick "Fritz" Mayer was appointed as the school's dean. Prior to his time at DU, Mayer served as senior international trade and foreign policy advisor to former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley from 1992 to 1993 and as a policy analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mayer’s areas of expertise and interests include the role of narrative in global environmental politics, global value chains for public policy and governance, the politics of climate change legislation, and energy and trade policy. 

Learn more about Dean Mayer.

1964

Korbel has offered programs in international affairs since 1964.

13

Research Centers

Korbel is home to 13 unique research centers, institutes and clinics.

200+

Annual Graduates

Last year, Korbel graduated approximately 100 undergraduate majors, 130 MA students and 2 PhD students/candidates.

Research Achievements

Global Connection is the Josef Korbel School's annual review of the previous year, and includes selected school achievements as well as profiles of students, faculty and staff, alumni and donors. 

Korbel Dinner

Alumni Achievements

Notable alumni from Korbel include the 66th United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and the first U.S. Ambassador to the African Union, Cindy Courville. We're proud to educate many of today's leading diplomats. 

Learn More