The board chair says it’s time to hand over con­trol of Den­ver’s arts cen­ter to oth­ers.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Jesse Paul

Daniel L. Ritchie, the chair­man of the board of trus­tees for the Den­ver Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts and a long­time civic fix­ture in the city, will step down from his post in 2017.

Daniel L. Ritchie, the chair­man of the board of trus­tees for the Den­ver Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts and a long-time civic fix­ture in the city, will step down from his post in 2017.

Ritchie made the an­nounce­ment on Tues­day night, ac­cord­ing to Suzanne Yoe, spokes­woman for DCPA. An ex­act date for when he will leave his post has not been set, but the or­ga­ni­za­tion hopes to find and in­stall a re­place­ment be­fore the end of June.

Ritchie has been chair­man for about a decade, dur­ing which time he has helped boost DCPA’s pro­file and re­in­force its com­mit­ment to arts ed­u­ca­tion.

“We have a won­der­ful new CEO,” he said in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day. “We have prob­a­bly the best the­ater or­ga­ni­za­tion in the coun­try, or darn close to it, with won­der­ful peo­ple and artists. There comes a time in all of our lives when it’s time to turn it over to the next gen­er­a­tion. I think that’s where we’re at here.”

Ritchie, 85, says he plans to con­tinue his work in the com­mu­nity and with DCPA, but that he’s ex­cited to see the di­rec­tion the or­ga­ni­za­tion takes.

“Mr. Ritchie is a pil­lar in our com­mu­nity who so thought­fully and self­lessly does so much for our com­mu­nity,” DCPA pres­i­dent and CEO Jan­ice Sin­den said. “When he came into the or­ga­ni­za­tion 10 years ago, he moved into the role as not only chair­man of the board, but CEO. He has held a dual role for a long time and he has never ac­cepted a salary.”

Ritchie also made gen­er­ous gifts to the or­ga­ni­za­tion dur­ing his ten­ure and Sin­den said that his gen­eros­ity and com­mit­ment likely will con­tinue long af­ter he leaves of­fice.

“It’s em­bed­ded in our or­ga­ni­za­tion as what we do,” Sin­den said, adding that Ritchie’s love and com­mit­ment will for­ever be ap­pre­ci­ated.

Ritchie at­tended Har­vard for his un­der­grad­u­ate and busi­ness de­grees be­fore serv­ing in the U.S. Army and even­tu­ally join­ing Lehman Broth­ers as a se­cu­ri­ties an­a­lyst in New York. He then went on to work in Hol­ly­wood as ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of MCA Uni­ver­sal where he be­came a lead­ing force in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, his DCPA bi­og­ra­phy says.

He also served as chief ex­ec­u­tive of West­ing­house Broad­cast­ing for eight years be­fore mov­ing to Colorado in 1987.

Ritchie was chan­cel­lor of the Uni­ver­sity of Den­ver from 1989 to 2005, a pe­riod dur­ing which he helped boost the school’s rep­u­ta­tion and dras­ti­cally in­crease its fundrais­ing. The uni­ver­sity’s cen­ter for sports and well­ness is named in his honor. A re­cently ded­i­cated en­gi­neer­ing and com­puter science

build­ing is named for Ritchie’s fa­ther.

Ritchie joined the Den­ver Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts’ board of trus­tees in 2005, and in 2007 was named chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

Ac­cord­ing to his DCPA bio, he was in­flu­en­tial in di­ver­si­fy­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pro­gram­ming and un­der his watch it ex­panded its new­play de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, launched three na­tional Broad­way tour­ing pre­mieres, pro­vided funds for two suc­cess­ful match­ing gift fundrais­ing cam­paigns, and served more than 400,000 stu­dents through its the­atere­d­u­ca­tion pro­gram.

He has re­ceived sev­eral awards hon­or­ing his civic en­gage­ment.

Ritchie first re­tired as DCPA’s CEO in 2014, but re­turned to work ear­lier this year, af­ter pres­i­dent and CEO Scott Shiller re­signed cit­ing a dif­fer­ence in vi­sion for the fu­ture.

Ritchie left the CEO post again in Septem­ber, when Sin­den was hired.

“There’s plenty to do,” Ritchie said Wed­nes­day. “But in this case, it’s just time to let the next gen­er­a­tion take it. They’ll do it, you’ll see.”

Ritchie told The Den­ver Post that his com­mu­nity en­gage­ment has al­ways come out of grat­i­tude for those who helped him along the way. Be­ing from a small mill town in North Carolina, he doesn’t know where he would be with­out the sup­port of oth­ers, he said.

“I hope I’m not re­mem­bered for any­thing,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about every­body else. I don’t work to be rec­og­nized.”

Ritchie took over as chair of DCPA when Don­ald R. Seawell stepped down. Seawell is the only other per­son to hold the po­si­tions of chair and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of DCPA since its found­ing in 1972.

Seawell died in Septem­ber 2015 at the age of 103.

For­mer Den­ver Post pub­lisher Dean Sin­gle­ton will lead a com­mit­tee to iden­tify the next chair in a process that will un­fold over the next sev­eral months, with a goal of iden­ti­fy­ing Ritchie’s re­place­ment by DCPA’s an­nual meet­ing in June.

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