Apr 222004
Authors: Christiana Nelson

Amid a cold drizzle of sleet outside, President Larry Penley was

inaugurated as the 13th president of CSU and the third chancellor

of the Colorado State Systems on Thursday afternoon.

Penley began his tenure as CSU President on Aug. 1, 2003, and

was formally inducted before hundreds of students, faculty, alumni

and community members during a ceremony at Moby Arena.

In his acceptance speech, Penley set forth his priorities for

the ceremony.

“This ceremony that we participate in today is about one thing

most importantly, it is not about me, it is about Colorado State

University and its role in our society,” Penley said.

In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Penley said that

during his first year as president he has been busy telling CSU’s

story and gaining knowledge of various aspects of the


“All presidencies, I think, demand a lot of time in getting to

know people, getting to know the students on campus, getting to

know the faculty and the areas of the university that are really

excellent, but also getting to know the state of Colorado: the

politics and culture of the state,” Penley said.

Charles Miller, chair of the Faculty Council, represented CSU

faculty members when expressing his congratulations for Penley’s

official inauguration and attesting to Penley’s

relationship-building skills.

“During your eight months at Colorado State University you have

demonstrated that you can lead us through this challenging arena of

higher education, you’ve taken the time to get to know us and to

learn about our areas of strength and potential,” Miller said. “We

are looking forward to this journey under this leadership, you have

our support.”

Also among those extending their official greetings to the

president were Gov. Bill Owens, Associated Students of CSU

President Jesse Lauchner, Michael Swanson, president of the alumni

association board of directors, Deanna Adams, chair of the

Classified Personnel Council and Katherine Timm, chair of the

Administrative Professional Council.

Still, Penley did not speak of his successes during his speech,

but rather emphasized his vision for the future of CSU.

“The vision must be one of fundamental responsibility to the

community in the tradition of the land-grant university,” Penley

said. “Where discovery addresses the real felt needs of Colorado

and the world…”

Penley’s desire to extend the mission of CSU to serving a global

outlook dominated much of his presentation.

He proposed four promises, including increasing CSU’s service

and partnership goals, maintaining excellence in undergraduate

learning, focusing university research on “great global challenges”

that also impact Colorado and providing a financially sound


With decreased reliance on state funding and increased

dependence on university tuition for public higher education,

Penley said public higher education must act more like private

institutions by seeking individual donations and grants.

“Unless we create a means for financial stability we can’t

continue to improve our quality of undergraduate experience and we

won’t be able to address global challenges that affect Colorado and

the globe,” he said.

Lauchner said he has been impressed by Penley’s initiative

during his first year at CSU.

“I stand in awe of a man who has, in less than a year, gained

the respect and admiration of not only myself, but of countless

others in the community, the state and around the world,” he


Following the ceremony, Luke Brunner said he enjoyed the ideas

Penley set forth in his speech.

“The speech was very visionary,” said Brunner, a sophomore

business major. “One of the things I thought was good was to have a

freshman orientation for all colleges – it will really build a base

for success.”

Janet Tosch, who worked in civil engineering at CSU for 30

years, said she loved the ceremony, but wished that more students

had attended.

“President Penley did a good job of understanding that we are

not just about this university,” Tosch said. “We are about a world,

we’re not just CSU, we’re meant to be more than that.”

Bill Woods, the president-elect of the Alumni Association, said

that while the pomp and circumstance was typical of a formal

ceremony, he believed Penley’s speech was unique.

“It’s important for us to realize what CSU is about,” Woods

said. “There are a lot of things we need to focus on and the

promises were real and those promises will help us to move


Penley concluded his speech and began a new era of CSU history

with a cooperative thought.

“We promise to take advantage of the strengths of CSU and focus

those strengths, our energy, our resources and our attention on

those great global challenges that trouble us in Colorado and

abroad…” Penley said. “And in the end, we must take

responsibility for our fate.”

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