Apr 122004
Authors: Taylour Nelson

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

research efforts.

“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 said.

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

academic pursuits.

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.”

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