Students and Colleagues:

To all those who were able to get out and enjoy Spring Break, welcome back to campus! I’m actually sending this from the road while on a visit to Limon and Burlington to visit with CSU alumni and Extension staff, but I did have a few updates to share with campus.

We had good news on the University’s budget Friday. The latest state revenue forecasts have improved for both FY10 and FY11 by $229M in the current year and $110M in FY 2011, which means additional budget reductions beyond those we’ve already anticipated probably won’t be necessary. Unfortunately, projections for FY12 continue to show a significant shortfall, but we will continue our approach of reducing our expenses while carefully monitoring the state’s financial situation.

To continue to promote a better dialogue within our campus community (and to get out of my office a bit more), I’m setting up some times where we can get together informally and I can respond to people’s questions, concerns, and comments. I want to start these sessions this semester, and if the format seems to work and people think there’s value in the discussions, we’ll continue them next year. I’m giving our students the first bite at the apple from 10-11 a.m. April 21, in the Grey Rock Room, Lory Student Center. The second, for state classified and administrative professional staff, will be 1-2 p.m. May 25 in the Cherokee Park Room, Lory Student Center. We’re still working on scheduling the faculty open forum but will share that date as soon as it’s confirmed.

On a more personal note, the loss of two of our students in car accidents last week is a true tragedy for our campus community — our hearts go out to the families of Katelyn Henning and Larissa Hartman, both wonderful, talented young people who will be dearly missed by their friends on campus and at home. Our hearts and prayers are also with another of our students, Miranda McDonald, who was with Larissa when they lost control of their car on an icy road and who remains in the hospital recovering from her serious injuries. I know I speak for the entire Colorado State University community in saying that we are rallying behind her and sending her our best wishes, strength, and positive encouragement on her recovery. The ASCSU flags are lowered to half-staff in honor of Katelyn and Larissa, and I encourage any of their friends who need help coping with their passing to contact the Counseling Center for support.

I’ll be honest: There is nothing that any of us who work on a college campus hate more than losing one of our students. We all struggle with the loss of not just Katelyn and Larissa but also with the passing of a handful of other promising, well-loved students earlier this semester and last fall. If nothing else, their memories are a poignant, painful reminder of the need for all of us to do what we can to take care of each other over the next several weeks, as we head toward the end of the school year. The weather’s getting warmer and the desire to get outside and enjoy Colorado in the spring is strong for all of us. Summer’s almost within reach. But when you’re out of class and having fun, please be careful and take responsibility for one another — wear your seatbelts, don’t drink and drive, and watch out for friends who are having a tough time.

Remember that we’re all part of a community, and we need to value and support those around us as best we can.

Again, welcome back,