April 5, 2024

DU and The VF Foundation Launch New Outdoor Leadership Industry Program

Where will future leaders of the outdoor industry come from? Thanks to a $3 million grant from The VF Foundation, the answer is DU’s Leadership in Outdoor Recreation Industry (LORI) program. This new interdisciplinary program will feature coursework from three academic units — the Daniels College of Business, Sturm College of Law, and Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

This multiyear grant to support initial operating costs, curriculum development, and scholarships for diverse candidates represents the single largest contribution made by The VF Foundation. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Denver-based VF Corporation — one of the world’s largest outdoor apparel, footwear, and accessory companies with iconic brands such as Vans, The North Face, Timberland, Dickies and Smartwool.

“Our overarching goal is to transform the face of the outdoor industry,” said Gloria Schoch, executive director of The VF Foundation and senior director of Global Impact for VF Corporation. “By leveraging the University of Denver’s distinctive strengths in business, law, and public policy, we believe we will transform the talent pipeline by recruiting, supporting, and retaining outstanding and diverse leaders in the outdoor industry.” The need for industry leadership and LORI is significant, as the recreation economy annually generates $689 billion in consumer spending and provides 4.3 million U.S. jobs.

DU Chancellor Jeremy Haefner adds, “We’re grateful to The VF Foundation for this opportunity to partner in creating specialized programming that will prepare students for outdoor industry jobs today and educate future leaders who will transform the field.”