Dear Colleagues:

As you now know, President Larry Penley on Wednesday announced his intention to resign as president of Colorado State University and Chancellor of the Colorado State University System, effective Nov. 30. While this news came as a surprise to many of us, President Penley leaves the University in a good position to face the challenges ahead. His leadership over the last five years has helped elevate CSU’s profile on the national stage, and his tenure has seen record levels of private and research support, as well as a focus on sound strategic planning and budgeting. During his presidency, the University has taken important steps to strengthen CSU’s engagement with the Fort Collins community and statewide economic development efforts, and these will continue to be institutional priorities. As a community, we wish President Penley and Yolanda Penley well on their future endeavors, and we thank them for their dedicated service to higher education and Colorado State.

The Board of Governors has asked me to serve as interim president, and I have agreed. Lance Perryman, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will serve as interim provost during this time.

I accepted this responsibility because of my deep affection for this campus — the same sense of pride and possibility I felt when I came here nearly 16 years ago as a faculty member in pathology, made stronger by time and experience. Colorado State University, by nature of its land-grant mission, is helping to prove a uniquely American hypothesis: that broad access to higher education is essential to preservation of a democracy, and that elevating the individual through knowledge, skill, and understanding elevates society as a whole. Like you, I respect this mission and consider it a privilege to uphold it.

But let’s be clear: The success of Colorado State University in the future will have less to do with who occupies the president’s chair than who is teaching our classes, who is leading our research programs, and who we admit and graduate. In that light, CSU today is in good stead. We have an experienced and engaged governing Board and a strong leadership team in all our academic colleges and vice presidential and vice provost areas. We have an outstanding, competitive faculty and staff that deserve full credit for the strength of CSU’s reputation and stature. And we have a student body that is responsible, service-oriented, and passionate about the world and their ability to make it better. This is the basis for all Colorado State will achieve in the years to come. The job of the president and central administration is to help our campus community gain access to new opportunities, to continuously improve in service and quality, and to assure we have the resources needed to fulfill our mission creatively and well.

As a lifelong Cubs fan, I know all too well that success is never guaranteed. But character, collaboration, and a commitment to academic excellence will take us a long way. I am honored to serve you and this institution, and I look forward to working closely with you in the months ahead.

Tony Frank
Interim President