Tuesday was the President’s Fall Address and Annual University Picnic. One can always expect to see a few familiar scenes at the address. The always-impressive CSU Marching Band putting on an awesome performance, faculty, staff, alumni, students and friends seated under the late summer sun waiting to listen to the words of the president and waiting to get in line for the free lunch provided after the speech and the president standing behind the podium and microphone delivering his speech about his plans and vision for the upcoming year and future of CSU.
Expect there was a change in speaker this year. Instead of the man with a beard who, during his 13-year tenure at this university, saw more growth and change at CSU second to only President William. Instead there was a man with a fading Arizona tan who not only is taking the reigns after a very successful and popular leader, but has a lot to prove and a lot to lose in his effort to prove he can continue to make CSU a premier institute of higher education.
At his first address, President Larry Penley talked a lot about the role higher education has in the economy of Colorado, in K-12 education, in meeting the challenges of globalization and meeting the challenges of decreased support from the public.
It is apparent Penley knows the role of higher education and we support his vision for higher education in America and the world. We also commend him for addressing these issues. Penley acknowledged the issues and challenges CSU must address in the future are decreased funding from the state. In his speech, Penley mentioned a lot of CSU’s problems but was not able to address those problems. Penley has only been in charge of the CSU system for less than two months, we don’t expect him to have all the answers.
During his speech, Penley addressed CSU’s desperate need to become less reliant on state money, but we hope that does not lead to running the university entirely like a business and not a university. We believe if this happens students can get lost in the mix.
It is unfortunate that CSU’s acceleration to recovery has to slow a bit to make time for a new president but it is only expected and we have confidence that Penley’s learning curve will be speedy and swift.