Denver, CO,
08:15 PM

Chancellor Announces New Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor

Dear Friends,

I am very pleased to welcome Nancy Nicely to the University of Denver community in the role of Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor, effective August 1. Nancy comes to DU from Swarthmore College and brings over two decades’ experience in higher education to this role.

As Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor, Nancy will work closely with members of the University administration, the Board of Trustees and me to ensure we are better meeting the needs of students, faculty and staff in a strategic, coordinated and timely way. She will be an integral leader in the successful implementation and communication of major campus and institutional initiatives. She will support DU’s active partnerships with local and global communities and their contribution to a sustainable public good.

Nancy will provide dedicated, strategic support to the Board of Trustees that will allow us to more effectively support initiatives important to all members of our community. She will staff the Nominating and Governance committee of the Board and coordinate closely with the Board Chair, the Chancellor and the Assistant Secretary of the Board to support the work of the Board.

As Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor, Nancy will bring together diverse constituencies to address problems and opportunities at DU. She will facilitate coordination of the senior staff as a team, collaborating with colleagues to align operations as well as special projects in administrative units. Nancy will also coordinate the activities of the Chancellor’s office.

As Secretary of the College and Vice President for Communications at Swarthmore, Nancy has extensive experience in building community based on principles of trust, transparency and collaboration. She has worked on initiatives that range from diversity and inclusive excellence to sustainability to civic and community efforts and has served as Secretary of the Board. At Swarthmore, Nancy has been widely perceived as the “go to” person when any complex or sensitive circumstance arises.

Nancy is well respected for her integrity, sound judgment, strategic thinking and practical as well as intellectual thought leadership. As one Swarthmore Board member said, "Nancy is beyond masterful. She is remarkable. She is both authentic and diplomatic. She sees incredibly clearly and has true north in pretty much every situation.“

Prior to moving to Swarthmore in 2007, Nancy served as Executive Director of External Affairs in the Office of the Provost at the University of Pennsylvania for over a decade. There, she supported university-wide diversity initiatives, managed undergraduate and graduate student relations and helped build the provost’s senior team.

For this national search, we employed the services of DHR International to ensure a diverse pool of highly qualified candidates. I want to thank the members of the search committee, who interviewed finalists for this position and advised my selection of someone who can best serve the work of my office and the University community at large:

  • Paul Chan, Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
  • Art Jones, Teaching Professor of Music, Culture and Psychology; Former President of the Faculty Senate
  • Laura Maresca, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Inclusive Community
  • Denise O’Leary, Chair-Elect of the Board of Trustees
  • Ed Rowe, Director for Projects and Planning, Office of the Chancellor

Please join me in warmly welcoming Nancy, her husband Don, and their two children, Cheyenne, 13, and Cooper, 9, to the DU community this summer.


Rebecca Chopp