President Larry Penley urged the campus community to be no less than ordinary and to strive for greatness on Thursday morning in his annual Fall Address.
“Why should we be normal when greatness lies ahead?” Penley said. “There are more accomplishments ahead but CSU must reject normal and embrace greatness.”
A crowd of spectators, including the president’s wife and son, stood by at the Oval listening to the 13th president of CSU as he praised the university for numerous accomplishments ranging from record-breaking research money to increased faculty positions from the past year.
“Today, the picture for CSU seems far brighter than it did a year ago,” Penley said.
Penley has implemented 25 new faculty members, an increase not seen since 1991. CSU has recently seen a 35 percent increase in research dollars, breaking the record when CSU received $190 million for the fiscal year of 2006.
Voters approved Referendum C last year, allowing the state to spend an extra $3.7 billion on roads, healthcare and education, and adding $17.1 million to the CSU system budget. Penley thanked students, Fort Collins residents and city officials for helping pass the initiative.
“We very much appreciate the statewide effort,” Penley said.
Penley cautioned that while Referendum C is a significant boost for CSU financially, it is still a Band-Aid of sorts.
“Referendum C is only a five-year time-out for TABOR,” he said.
Penley urged the university to strive for distinct excellence focusing on such goals as expanding faculty, promoting Colorado’s quality of life and economic richness, helping shape a viable agricultural commerce, consigning to excellence in athletics and ensuring access for all students, chiefly those from lower-income families.
“Access, alone, isn’t enough,” Penley said. “Access without student success is a fraud. Colorado higher education must demonstrate that it can substantially raise retention and graduation rates.”
The CSU marching band, CAM the Ram and CSU Jazz Ensembles entertained guests waiting for the complimentary picnic lunch. Jason Green, president of ASCSU, and Sadie Conrad, ASCSU vice president, were also present.
Penley did not address concerns dealing with the recent controversy over the elimination of Fum’s Song from the electronic scoreboard at CSU home games.
“Let us continue to realize the greatness that inherently lies within Colorado State University’s capacity as the model land-grant university of the 21st century,” Penley said. “More accomplishments are ahead, but Colorado State must reject the normal and strive for its unrealized potential.why be normal?”
Staff writer James Baetke can be reached at email@example.com.