Aug 232011
Authors: Allison Sylte

Editor’s Note: Question Authority is a new feature where Collegian editors get up close and personal with CSU figures. Have any ideas about who you’d like us to talk to next? Send us an email at

Editor’s Note: Sylte met with Zimlich on Aug. 1, prior to the board meeting where Tony Frank and Joe Blake were awarded incentive-based bonuses.

*Q:*What role do you think the Board of Governors serves for the university?

Zimlich: The BOG is appointed by the governor, and are generally people who are active in the community and people who are willing to ask questions and think about system issues from a strategic viewpoint.

The board’s role at its highest level is to focus on the policies and governance of CSU system institutions. We mainly focus on governance issues and management issues, and make sure that we have policies in place that best serve citizens of the state.

Our most important role is hiring senior leadership. Right now, the CSU-Pueblo Presidential Search is ongoing, and half of that board is on the search committee. That’s probably our most important task right now.

Q: How are the needs of students addressed during Board decisions?

Z: There are certain things, like student success, that are absolutely paramount to the board, and we have a role in creating a system-wide strategy that enables it.

And in that vein, the student representatives on the board are involved in almost everything, except for the evaluation committee. For everything else, we genuinely want student representatives to be actively engaged, and we actively seek their input.

I believe that, except for when the votes are called, the student representatives are as much a member of the board in terms of input as just about anyone else.

Q: What do you think is the biggest strategic goal for the university?

Z: The idea of access is part of my passion, and my goal is, despite the reductions in state funding, to maintain the same level of access and academic quality as before.

On a personal level, I believe that higher education access is a necessity for Colorado and the marketplace. A person’s ability to get a great CSU education shouldn’t be based on their socioeconomic status, but rather how well they can utilize that education and contribute to society.

Q: What motivated your involvement with the BOG?

Z: I’ve been involved with the university for a while, and was on the dean’s global leadership council. I’ve also been in Fort Collins for several decades, and during that time, I realized that CSU was an institution worth paying attention to.

We underestimate globally for today’s generation to receive an education for the sake of the marketplace, and I wanted to play my part in changing that.

What about your job as the CEO of Bohemian Companies qualifies you to serve as BOG chair?

Managing a business has taught me how to manage capitol and think of things from a very calculated, strategic level, and try to make investments that maximize return.

And this applies to a non-profit, like CSU, in that while the returns for investments may not necessarily be quantifiable, they do come in the form of societal wellbeing, which is definitely something you want to maximize.

Q: Switching gears, I know that Bohemian Companies manages the Bohemian Foundation, which puts on NewWestFest for us every year. Therefore, what’s your perfect NewWestFest lineup?

Z: Other than this year’s? (laughs)

Honestly, I thought that this year’s was great. But seriously, you can’t go wrong promoting Colorado bands and listening to some music.

 Posted by at 4:58 pm

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