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DENVER - Colorado philanthropists Anna and John J. Sie have given $17 million to the University of Denver that will fund the construction of a 43,000-square-foot building for the university's Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The donation is the largest single private gift in the 50-year history of the Josef Korbel School, DU announced Tuesday.

The Sies previously gave $5.5 million to DU to build the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy in honor of John Sie's father, a Chinese diplomat.

The new building will be adjacent to the school's existing Cherrington Hall and the Sié Chéou-Kang Center to form the Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex.

Mark Rodgers, the DU architect, and the architectural firm Anderson Mason Dale are working on the final design. DU is looking for a construction company, with plans for a groundbreaking this summer and construction completed by December 2015.

The $17 million from the Sies is the lead gift in a five-year, $40 million fundraising campaign to endow student scholarships, add faculty and expand prorgrams at the Josef Korbel School, which is named for the father of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. A Czech diplomat, Korbel taught international politics at DU and became the founding dean of the Graduate School of International Studies.

"Anna and I are both immigrants to the United States and we understand the importance of global education and engagement," John Sie said in a statement issued by DU. "It is not only the cornerstone of world peace but also economic advancement. With what Josef Korbel and his family have built, we believe the Korbel School is poised to be one of the top three schools in the world preparing future global leaders."

John Sie is founder and former chairman of what is now Starz, a Douglas County-based entertainment company. The Sies previously donated funds to establish the Anna and John F. Sie Film Studies Program at the University of Colorado Denver, the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at CU's Anschutz Medical Campus, and a scholarship for music students at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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