For Larry Penley, the first step to become the new CSU president
The Board of Governors of the CSU System formally announced
their decision to select Penley as the president of CSU and
chancellor of the CSU system Tuesday.
“I’m not from a land-grant institution. I have a great deal to
learn,” Penley said to reporters. “My first step is to get an
understanding of what’s going on, to really learn about a
land-grant institution… There is the responsibility to think
about the tradition of a land-grant institution and how you use
that outreach as a way to do really great new things. The first
step is learning.”
Don Hamstra, president of the Board of Governors, made the
announcement in room of filled students, faculty, staff and
reporters inside Ammons Hall.
“We thought about doing this last week but we didn’t want anyone
skipping class,” Hamstra said jokingly. “We waited a few days. This
is a proud day for CSU. We have had a lot of things happening in
the past year with not a lot of chances to celebrate and this is a
chance to celebrate.”
Hamstra, who was recently selected as president of the board,
replacing Reginald Washington, spoke about the search. For the
majority of the search, Hamstra served as the board’s vice
“When the search started we thought ‘oh we’ll do our work in
private and this will be really easy and we’ll have an
announcement’ but people wouldn’t let us do that so we got
interesting,” he said. “This was a little more difficult job than
we planned when we started. We had a good process and a great group
of people. We did some tough work and I think they did a great job
and we had some fun doing it.
Penley and the board are still in discussion finalizing the
details of Penley’s contract. It is still unsure when Penley will
come onboard as president and chancellor. It is scheduled for CSU
President Albert Yates to retire as president as of July 1 and to
hand over the responsibilities of chancellor in September.
“It really makes Ylonda and I feel very good to be welcomed at
Colorado State with such a great crowd on such a wonderful day.
Even if it isn’t 100 degrees, it’s still a fine day!” said Penley,
who is currently the dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business at
Arizona State University.
“The board didn’t just look at the candidates they looked at
this university and what this university needs. They thought about
what Colorado needed and what the future of this great institution
really had in front of it and that to me made this an especially
great opportunity,” Penley said.
Mayor Ray Martinez was present to see the new president talk
about his commitment to CSU’s land-grant mission and how the city
and CSU can work together to strengthen the city’s economy.
“As the president of the university and the mayor of the city we
have to work together on a lot of things,” Martinez said. “For
example we are going to take advantage of the resources at the
business college to help build our economy, which is suffering
Zach Collins, a sophomore studying construction management, said
he is excited to see the direction Penley is going to take CSU.
“I am excited about the prospective of him being able to develop
the university through any means, I know he did wonders for ASU’s
business college and I’m hoping he can do that for our entire
While dean at ASU, Penley raised over $100 million dollars for
the business college.
Collins expressed concerns regarding how much the board listened
to faculty, staff and students when making the decision.
“I know there was concerns expressed by the student
representatives and the faculty representatives on the board of
governors that they felt somewhat left of the process for the past
month and a half,” he said. “I am somewhat concerned that the
student voice and the faculty voice may have gone somewhat
C.W. Miller, the faculty representative on the board, said he
and Dave Bower, president of the Associated Student of CSU and
student representative for the board, had plenty of opportunity to
talk to Hamstra about their views, but they both serve on the board
as non-voting members.
“They probably looked at (the feedback from students, staff and
faculty) but more than likely they didn’t have too many options,”
Hamstra said the board did look at feedback on the two
“We reviewed the feedback of students and other people and a
number of the board attended the public meetings,” he said. “I
think we are also very cognitive that, as a board, this is the most
important decision we make, ever, possibly. We certainly listened
but we knew in the end it was our decision that we had to
Without reporters or spokespeople or board members, Penley
walked from his hotel room at 6 a.m. and took a look how campus
looked in the early morning.
“Walking around campus and peeking in buildings made me feel
good about the institution,” he said. “Even though (my wife and I)
have been Sun Devils for a long time, we are prepared to be