Distinguished Lecture and Award Series

About the Series

The MURP Alumni Association Distinguished Lecture and Award was established by the University of Colorado Denver’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning Alumni Association (MURPAA) in 2014 to recognize notable individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of urban planning and have brought honor to the University as a graduate of the program or through service to the program.


The award program and associated lecture series serves a variety of goals, including honoring outstanding alumni for their professional achievements, honoring individuals who have serviced the program, raising the visibility and prestige of CU Denver’s Master of Urban & Regional Planning Program to both internal and external audiences, and educating current students about potential career prospects associated with the MURP degree.


The MURP Alumni Association Distinguished Lecture and Award typically hosts one speaker per year. To date, the program has held three CU Denver MURP alumni association distinguished lecturers.

Criteria for Selecting Distinguished Scholars

The Distinguished Scholar Lecturer and Awardee is selected annually by the MURPAA Board of Directors in consultation with faculty from CU Denver’s Urban and Regional Planning Department. DLA recipients must be graduates of the CU Denver MURP program or have significant ties to the program through teaching or service. Recipients should have demonstrated professional leadership in the field, worked on innovative projects, implemented novel and forward-thinking planning programs, or otherwise made significant contributions to the field of urban planning through teaching, research, or practice. Typically, we will invite alumni who are at least five years past their degree, though this may vary based on their accomplishments and contributions to the field of urban planning. 


Do you know someone you think would make a great Distinguished Scholar? Nominate them using the link to the left!

Past Awardees & Lectures


Korkut Onaran

Planning in the Built Environment and Beyond: The Importance of Relationships

Kevin Patterson (MURP, MPA 1997)
CEO, Connect for Health Colorado
February 6, 2020


Korkut Onaran

Coding for Resilience: Learning from the Vernacular

Korkut Onaran, PhD
Assistant Professor Adjunct
University of Colorado Denver
April 17, 2018


Alex Schafran

Retrofitting Suburbia: A Conversation with Alex Schafran

Alex Schafran, PhD
Lecturer in Geography
University of Leeds, UK
September 3, 2015


David Dowall PhD

Making Cities Work: Planning and Managing Land Use in India

David Dowall, PhD
City and Regional Planning Professor Emeritus
University of California Berkeley
November 3, 2014