Fort Collins and CSU community members were surprised and perplexed Wednesday when CSU President Larry Penley announced his resignation after five years of service to CSU.
“For heaven’s sake, I am stunned,” said Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson. “I have not heard a whisp of a rumor.”
And it would appear that Hutchinson is not alone.
“I don’t think anybody knew it was coming,” said Paul Stretesky, an associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts.
Stretesky said there are many different reasons people resign from jobs and, although there are many speculations as to why Penley resigned, it is impossible to determine the real reason.
“It is hard to know what the real reasons could have been,” he said. “There could be a million reasons.”
“They say presidents usually last five years, so this is about right,” he noted.
Wade Troxell, associate dean in the College of Engineering and a city council member, as well as Blanche Hughes, Vice President for student affairs, said the announcement came as a surprise.
“This is completely unexpected,” Troxell said.
Many students said they had no knowledge of the resignation and some shared speculations as to why Penley may have resigned.
“That’s really odd,” said Christine Sednek, a senior environmental engineering major. “But it seems like the way he runs things is kind of secretive, so it’s not a surprise that it’s a surprise.”
Sednek said she wonders if the resignation has to do with university monetary controversies, saying that the sudden rise in university construction projects strikes her as odd.
“It seems odd that we are doing so much at one time,” she said. “I am wondering if (the resignation) has something to do with money.”
Tim Mayhew, a junior construction management major, reveled in the idea of change that has been circulating recently.
“He’s been here for a long time,” he said. “Just like the election today, change might be good.”
Troxell said he is faithful that the future of CSU is in good hands.
“CSU is a strong institution and through this transition and whoever the next president will be will have a good impact,” he said.
Hutchinson said his goal for the new CSU president is to continue to foster the relationship between CSU and Fort Collins that Penley worked to build.
Students expressed goals for the new president as well.
“(Penley) was really big on going green so I guess someone who’s replacing him, they’re going to have to be really conscious of the environment at CSU,” said Amanda Cisneros, a sophomore health and exercise science major.
Reflecting on Penley
Hutchinson said Penley has been a great leader and that it will not be easy to find a new president for CSU.
“He has made a great contribution to CSU and I think it will be a challenge to find a replacement,” he said.
He said the two talked at the recent CSU football game against Brigham Young University, at which time Penley discussed the relationship between CSU and the Fort Collins community.
“Not only did this have no indication of him resigning, it indicates he was still thinking about the future,” Hutchinson said.
Troxell noted Penley’s efforts to establish good relationships between CSU and the Fort Collins community, as well as his accomplishments as the president of a land grand university.
“As far as our research having global impact, he did a good job updating and refining the mission of a land grant university,” Troxell said.
“His legacy will be leaving strong relationships with some of our partners around the state and nation,” he added.
Entertainment Editor Cece Wildeman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.