It’s not unusual for Tony Frank’s colleagues to receive an
e-mail from him at 3 a.m.
“He works all hours of the night, it seems,” said Kathi Delehoy,
assistant vice president for Research and Information Technology.
“He has a great capacity to do a lot of things at once.”
Being the vice president for Research and Information
Technology, Frank needs to be able to multitask.
“Fundamentally, the position is a conglomerate of what at most
universities is two positions,” Frank said.
As vice president for research, he is expected to create an
atmosphere that is supportive of faculty research. As vice
president for information technology, he is responsible for
supporting the university’s research, education and outreach
With almost $200 million in research funding coming to CSU each
year, most of which comes from the federal government, he said his
department needs to be accountable to the federal government in its
“We also have to be responsible back to society for the use of
laboratory animals and human subjects in research,” Frank said.
Frank has held many different positions over the years, ranging
from faculty member and researcher in the pathology department to
dean for research in the College of Veterinary Medicine and
Biomedical Sciences. He is also a certified veterinarian, with a
doctorate in pathology and toxicology from Purdue University.
“And I originally wanted to stay home and marry a girl who lived
on the dairy farm down the road,” Frank said.
Growing up in the small town of Compton, Ill., he was raised in
a town of 200 people and had aspirations of taking over his
family’s business and marrying his high school sweetheart.
His father, on the other hand, had a different idea about where
he would go after high school.
“He said I had the choice of either going to college or getting
a job and moving out,” Frank said. “In retrospect I think his goal
was to get me to go to college.”
He went on to study biology at Wartburg College in Illinois and
received his doctorate of veterinary medicine at the University of
Illinois, all the while planning to go back to the farm, this time
as a veterinarian.
In 1984, he met his wife Vicki, who was also a veterinary
student at the University of Illinois.
“She was a senior and I was a junior,” he said.”She knew what
was going on in small-animal medicine and I was scared to death of
He decided not to go back to the farm and instead he attended
Purdue University, where he completed his residency and had his
first laboratory experience.
“I took a graduate assistantship because it came with a tuition
waver and I just fell in love with research,” he said.
He was then hired as a faculty member in the veterinary medicine
school at Oregon State University in 1988, where he had his first
encounter with higher education budget cuts.
Above Frank’s desk in the Administration Building hangs a framed
piece of paper. It is a letter of timely notice from OSU, given to
him when Oregon was going through higher education budget problems
and the university decided to cut the veterinary medicine
Oregon had passed a ballot called Measure 5 that was similar to
Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. All faculty members received
a letter informing them their position would be terminated in one
year. The university eventually managed to save its vet school, but
Frank decided to leave OSU.
“I keep it on the wall to remind me that fiscal ballot
initiatives can be an awful lot of trouble,” he said.
Along with the other administrators at CSU, Frank deals with the
state’s higher education budget problems.
“We’re all having to cut things that are valuable. There aren’t
any choices left where any of us as vice presidents reduce our
budgets and say ‘Well that’s all right, that’ll be OK,'” he said.
“I mean, we’re cutting good things, things that are of value to the
students and of value to the university, and that’s the part that
frustrates me the most.”
In 1993, Frank took a faculty position at CSU to teach
“If you’re in veterinary medicine, CSU is one of the top places
in the world to go so when you have the opportunity to go there,
you go,” he said.”The quality of the school would attract you and
the fact that it’s in Colorado certainly doesn’t hurt
In 1998, he became associate dean of research in the veterinary
and biomedical sciences college and in 2000 accepted his present
position as vice president for Research and Information
As a recent undertaking, Frank has attempted to conquer
But according to his good friend Tom Milligan, assistant vice
president for University Relations, Frank’s golfing skills are not
quite on par with his academic standards.
“As competent and exceptional an educator and administrator Tony
Frank is, he is nearly the exact opposite in his golf skills,”
Milligan couldn’t help but laugh when he remembered one golf
trip with Frank. He and Frank went golfing one morning and as Frank
swung his club as hard as he could, Milligan said he heard the club
hit the ball, but when the dust cleared, the ball was still on the
“It was physically impossible to do,” he said.”He’s one of the
smartest people I know, he’s just not a good golfer.”
Along with his golfing hobby, Frank also has ridden motorcycles
for the past 27 years.
With all these extracurricular activities, he still enjoys
Frank said he misses his time in the laboratory and he wants to
continue pushing CSU to be a better research institution.
“We can take those areas where we are already strong, where we
are already in the top 10 places in the nation and I really think
that if we make the right investments and focus the resources we
have we can be top three if not No. 1 in terms of the quality of
the research that comes out of those areas,” he said. “I think that
would be a great benefit to the university, a benefit to the
government and to the nation and I think we can get there.”