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
“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
“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
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
Janet Tosch, who worked in civil engineering at CSU for 30
years, said she loved the ceremony, but wished that more students
“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.”