Dear Colleagues and Students,

This is one of the best weeks on any college campus … and not just because the Cubs and Rockies are playing the final game of their series tonight at Wrigley Field (although that doesn’t hurt). As the semester wraps up and we head into a busy commencement weekend, the excitement and anticipation of our graduates is always energizing and gives us an occasion to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and our mission as a university.

This week is a little bittersweet for me, though, because this will be the first spring CSU graduation I’ve missed since 1995. While our CSU System Chancellor Mike Martin and Provost Rick Miranda preside over our ceremonies here on campus, I’ll be spending the weekend in Oregon in the role of proud dad, attending my own daughter’s college graduation. So, to our graduates, while I won’t be here to shake your hands in person this weekend, please know I’m with you in spirit, that I’m enormously proud of you, and that I have full confidence in your potential. Congratulations on a job well done.

The graduation of more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students this weekend is a fitting capstone to another great year for Colorado State University — a year in which we set new records in enrollment, donor support, and competitive research funding, a year that saw Professor Diana Wall win the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, our women’s lacrosse team win the national championship, and our Marching Band win the hearts of a country with their performance at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin. Our faculty continued to lead in solving complex problems ranging from tuberculosis to disaster recovery, and once again, more Colorado high-school students chose CSU than any other campus in the state — a tribute both to the academic excellence of the institution and the unmatched quality of life on campus and here in Fort Collins. And let’s not forget that for the first time since I’ve had the honor of serving you as CSU’s president, we’ve seen an increase in state funding for our university and a long overdue pay increase for all our faculty and staff.

There remain challenges, of course. And the greatest of these — the ongoing and very real threat of public defunding of Colorado higher education — will probably be the central challenge we wrestle with over the coming decade. But this year’s funding and some level of recovery on the State budget buy us some breathing room, and I’m thankful for that. Today, as we work through the last few days of finals and get ready for commencement, let’s enjoy this rare season and the promise of the coming summer.

On that note, I want to offer best wishes to our faculty as they pursue their scholarly work this summer.

For those on our staff who will be here working, I want to say thanks — and just so you don’t get used to all the available parking, I’m going to be closing off 50 percent of our spaces. Sorry — that was a joke. I wouldn’t do that. Amy Parsons is in charge of campus parking … *she’ll* be closing off 50 percent of the spaces.

Sorry, that was also a joke. You can stop typing those angry emails to Amy now. In truth, those of us who are here as usual over the next few months will get to enjoy the usual perks of CSU in the summertime … a little easier parking, less traffic at rush hour, concerts by the Lagoon, Shakespeare at Sunset, and the Trial Gardens in full bloom.

I want to encourage our returning students to make the most of this break. Find time to work a little, play a little, and recharge your batteries. As always, be safe and take care of each other — we need you back here in the fall, and that will be here before you know it. Graduates — get out there, do well, and change the world. Your alma mater is proud of you.

And with that let’s call it a year. Have a great summer and Go Rams!


Dr. Tony Frank

P.S. Even if by some miracle they beat the Cubs tonight, the Colorado Rockies are amazing and loyal supporters of CSU. So let’s remember them on Mondays over the summer and continue the Purple Monday tradition in their honor. Break out your purple attire every Monday in honor of a great Colorado organization that gives back a lot to our campus and community.

P.P.S. Really, I was kidding about the parking. It was a joke!