Welcome — and welcome back — for a new fall semester at Colorado State! I hope your summers were restful and you were able to recharge your batteries. There are certain symbols that remind us that it’s time for our campus to again come alive with the return of students. The days, while still warm, have begun to shorten, our faculty and staff have nice stories from various places their travels took them this summer, and my Cubs are securely ensconced in the cellar leaving me and all Cubs fans free to focus on yet another fall free of the stress of pennant races and the trouble of planning around a World Series (not that all of us wouldn’t give an arm to experience those problems just once, but I digress…).

We had a wonderful Convocation, and we certainly need to thank all of those students, staff, and faculty who made our Ram Welcome, Preview, and Next Step events such a great success. I also want to recognize first-year student Andrew Schneeweis, whose tuition-winning half-court shot really got our year off on a high note — and provided a much more inspiring performance than some of the others making the rounds on the internet this week.

With the start of classes this week, we’re carrying forward the tradition of great, land-grant university education that President Abraham Lincoln envisioned more than 150 years ago when he created institutions like CSU — designed to support the dreams and ambitions of talented students from all walks of life. That commitment to providing an education that is accessible to people, regardless of their family background, is part of our heritage and our character, and it’s embodied in the more than 6,000 new freshmen and transfer students who are joining us this week for the very first time.

It’s still too early to start anesthetizing you with the details of our university budget discussions, but the reality is that the process of developing next year’s budget is already underway. And as always, any possible increases to next year’s tuition will be a core part of that discussion. Particularly at this time of year, as parents and students write tuition checks, I tend to get a lot of questions about the cost of tuition and why a college education is so expensive. Recognizing that long emails in plain text may not be the preferred form of communication for all people (although I can’t personally imagine why this wouldn’t be the case…), I worked with one of our recent CSU graduates, artist Karina Mullen, over the summer to put together a short TED-style video to illustrate where tuition dollars go at CSU. If you’re interested, I encourage you to view the tuition video.

I also thought I’d use this welcome message to remind all of us that Fridays at CSU are “Get Your Green On” days, when we encourage all members of the Ram community to show their spirit and wear the CSU colors.

This weekend will be an opportunity for all of us to show our school spirit in another way, as well — to borrow a phrase from some of our students, let’s “stay classy, CSU.” Between the Macklemore concert on Friday, our first volleyball home game, the Rocky Mountain Showdown, and the Tour de Fat, this will be a busy Labor Day weekend for a lot of us. Enjoy it, but use common sense. We have lot of semester to get through between now and December, and it’s easy to get off track with a few bad decisions. So, as I tell my own kids, don’t be stupid — “stay classy,” and take care of yourselves and one another this weekend.


Dr. Tony Frank