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Jennifer Richer headshot with campus background

New Graduate School Dean Takes the Helm

Jennifer Richer, PhD, longtime SOM researcher, mentor, faculty member named to post

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Written by Trisha Kendall on January 30, 2023
What You Need To Know

CU Anschutz Professor Jennifer Richer, PhD, has been named dean of the Graduate School. In addition to serving as dean, Richer will continue in her current role as a tenured professor in the Department of Pathology.

Jennifer Richer, PhD, takes the helm Feb. 1 as the new dean of the Graduate School. A member of the University of Colorado community for nearly 30 years, Richer has been a longtime member of the School of Medicine faculty, a committed researcher and educator, and a passionate mentor to future leaders in research. 

“We are pleased to welcome Professor Richer to this vital role at a particularly exciting time in the Graduate School’s history,” said Chancellor Don Elliman, who announced the news alongside Roderick Nairn, PhD, executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. 

“We are known as a leading destination for graduate education and training, and there are ample opportunities ahead to further elevate our graduate offerings,” Elliman said. “Professor Richer is ideally equipped to help us seize those opportunities.” 

“We are eager for all that is to come, and we are grateful to David Engelke, PhD, for leaving the Graduate School in a place of strength ahead of his well-deserved retirement,” Elliman added.  

Joining the School of Medicine

Richer joined the CU faculty in 1996 as an instructor in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She joined the Department of Pathology in 2007 and has risen through the faculty ranks there ever since. 

In addition to serving as dean, Richer will continue in her current role as a tenured professor in the Department of Pathology. She has studied steroid hormone receptor action in breast and gynecologic cancers for decades, with preclinical studies from her lab leading to clinical trials for breast cancer treatment, and she has served as co-leader of the Tumor Host Interactions Program at the CU Cancer Center for the last five years. 

Richer says she has considered it a privilege to see the campus and the university grow, evolve and gain national recognition over the course of her career. “I am proud to have been a part of that, and I know that the campus still has an incredible amount of potential,” she said. 

Drawn to the Graduate School

“I was drawn to this position because the Graduate School occupies a unique space within the campus ‒ one that enables us to see the big picture of the research training experience and identify issues, implement innovative solutions and build novel resources,” she said. 

Richer’s leadership positions on campus and off are many, and include five years as a standing member of the NIH Tumor Cell Biology study section and numerous other grant review panels. She is known for her dedication to furthering the careers of junior faculty and future scientists, and received the Dean’s Mentoring Award and the NIH Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training Faculty Sponsor Award.

Accomplished leader and mentor

“We are truly fortunate to have a leader as accomplished as Professor Richer as our Graduate School’s new dean,” Nairn said. “Her work as a mentor and advisor to so many early career faculty and trainees over generations gives her perspective that is invaluable to this role.”

As the Graduate School’s newly minted dean, Richer has a lot to look forward to. “I am excited to bolster the existing services we provide, and to develop new resources and build a sense of community among students and postdoctoral fellows across CU Anschutz’s schools and college,” she said. 

“Under my leadership, I hope the Graduate School can continue to grow and play its part in advancing the reputation of CU Anschutz as one of the top destinations for research training and education in the country.”