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Chester M. Alter Arboretum Collection

Identifier: U356


The arboretum exists to curate and maintain a recognized collection of woody plants (trees, shrubs and groundcovers) that enhance the campus environment, provide research and educational opportunities and promote sustainability. The mission of the Chester M Alter Arboretum is to provide structure and methods to preserve, manage, and enhance the historic urban forest on the University of Denver's campus. Sound and effective land stewardship practices shall be demonstrated through curation and enhancement of the campus biodiversity.

The Chester M. Alter Arboretum Collection exists to maintain various documentation and items taken from the creation and maintenance of the arboretum.


  • Other: Date Not Yet Determined


Biographical / Historical

The University of Denver's Chester M Alter Arboretum was created in 1999 under the leadership of then-Chancellor Daniel L. Ritchie to honor the legacy of the institution's 12th chancellor.

Today, the arboretum testifies to Alter's role in laying the foundation for the campus to come. Serving as chancellor from 1953 to 1967, Alter spearheaded a building boom and helped the campus grow from 75 acres to 125.

The Chester M Alter Arboretum is home to about 2,100 trees representing more than 295 species and varieties, as well as dozens of shrub species that provide the landscape with year-round interest. In addition to some historically significant mature trees, the arboretum includes ten state champions, the largest specimens of a particular species growing in Colorado. University Park, the neighborhood to the east of campus, is home to several more state champions.

The arboretum aims to delight and instruct. It also aims to establish a regional identity for the campus based on collections of trees, shrubs and woody groundcovers that enhance the University's aesthetic, educational and scientific goals. In time, the arboretum's collection will include all native Colorado species capable of flourishing on the Front Range, as well as ecologically adapted specimens from around the world.

The University's trees preside over a site once covered in high prairie grasses. They highlight the continuing changes to our landscape and environment. They also testify to the enduring human impulse to improve and beautify. Source --


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Scope and Contents

The scope of the collection is items collected for the Chester M. Alter arboretum, including documentation and physical material.


The collection is currently arranged into one series "Material Objects"

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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428