Welcome (back)! I know that many of you have been waiting all week for my first long, detailed budget email of the semester — it doesn’t really feel like fall until you have the chance to page through six dense screens of text about state funding (ideally with embedded charts and graphs). And while I’m sorry to disappoint you, I won’t have a lot to say about the budget until later in the semester … which gives you all something to look forward to in those short, dark days of November after the World Series and before catchers and pitchers report to start “next year” …

Today, I’m writing simply to welcome you to a new year at Colorado State University. This year’s CSU student body includes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. We got off to a great start last week with Ram Welcome — thanks to all of our faculty, staff, and students whose hard work once again made move-in and orientation an outstanding success. Every year, I get calls and emails from parents who are incredibly impressed by the welcome they and their students receive when they arrive on campus, and that’s entirely due to all of you. These events — and the commitment to student success that lies behind them — have helped bring us to the point where a record 87% of our freshmen now return for their sophomore year to stay on the path to graduation.

We had good news on a number of fronts over the summer:

  • CSU is once again the most sustainable university in the country according to the nation’s premier ranking system.
  • We celebrated the 100th anniversary of Pingree Park, our mountain campus.
  • Our faculty continued to make breakthroughs and draw significant research funding in areas including cancer research, wildlife studies, biofuels, and more.
  • And we shattered our previous record for private fundraising in a single year, raising$143.3 million in private support for scholarships, programs, facilities and faculty.

As usual, we’re starting the semester with a long weekend that begins tonight with the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver. In addition to the showdown, our incredible volleyball team, led by Coach Tom Hilbert, is kicking off its season Saturday afternoon at Moby and is already predicted to win the Mountain West for the fifth time in six years. Our women’s soccer team is off to a fast start and will be playing on campus this year on the Lagoon Field, with home matches throughout September and October. And the students and faculty at the University Center for the Arts have a full slate of programs running throughout the fall semester — all signs that the campus is back to life and ready for a great year.

I know I’ll see a lot of you there in Denver tonight to cheer on Coach Mac and your fellow Rams, and as you do, I ask that you keep it classy, show respect for the other people at the game (even the poor, misguided CU fans), be safe and smart on the drive to and from Denver, and demonstrate to everyone watching what we already know: Colorado State students are a cut above the rest.

In fact, this “keep it classy” message is a good thing for all of us to keep in mind as we start this fall semester, even if it sounds like I should be wearing a powder-blue polyester sport coat when I say it. Every year on a college campus comes with its challenges and celebrations, but the measure of our character as a campus community is how we carry ourselves in good times as well as bad.

Let’s be responsible, look out for one another, and make this a year on which we can all look back with pride. Make good choices, take care of each other and — as I always tell my girls — don’t be stupid.

Finally, for those of you students who have spent your summer taunting me with emails about the Cubs, I’d point out 4 things: (1) There are 6 teams with worse records — Cubs’ fans can’t always say that so we’re pleased; (2) if we win every game the rest of season, we could still make the playoffs, so there’s hope; (3) the Cardinals aren’t in 1st place, so there is justice in the universe; and (4) any correlation between your emails and loss of credits on your transcripts is purely coincidental.

Seriously, have a safe weekend, a great semester and welcome home to CSU.


Dr. Tony Frank