Collegian Staff Report
In a move that shocked the CSU and Fort Collins communities, CSU president Larry Penley announced his resignation Wednesday.
“For heaven’s sake, I am stunned,” said Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson. “I have not heard a whisp of a rumor.”
Breaking the news
In a closed-door meeting Wednesday night between the CSU cabinet members and the council of deans, Senior Executive Vice President and Provost Tony Frank announced the resignation and named Frank the interim President of the University.
Frank learned of the news earlier Wednesday, he said, and accepted the CSU System’s Board of Governor’s proposition to lead the university.
“The important things right now are to focus on smooth continuity of transition for the university,” Frank said.
“President Penley has served this institution very well. He leaves the university in an excellent position,” Frank said. “All of (the) fundamentals are very, very sound, and the president deserves a great deal of thanks for that.”
Wade Troxell,the associate dean in the College of Engineering, as well as Blanche Hughes, Vice President for student affairs, said the announcement came as a surprise to them.
“This is completely unexpected,” Troxell said.
Hutchinson said Penley has been a great leader and that it will not be easy to find a new president.
“He has made a great contribution to CSU and I think it will be a challenge to find a replacement,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s ever a good time for a president to step down,” Frank said, adding the academic calendar has little affect on these type of decisions.
On the other hand, Frank shows confidence in a smooth transition into new administration.
“I think if we all do our jobs right, and I’m confident that we will, it should not have much of an impact,” Frank said.
“No one person makes the institution run the way it does. It runs because of the hard work and effort of (everybody),” Frank said.
Just arriving at his south Fort Collins home, Penley said, “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say.”
Troxell noted that he is faithful that the future of CSU is in good hands.
“CSU is a strong institution and through this transition and whoever the next president will be will have a good impact,” Troxell said.
Hutchinson said his goal for the new CSU president is to continue to foster relationships between the University and the city, as well as take steps to continue the growth of CSU.
“(The faculty) has complete confidence in Tony to continue to move the university forward. We’re very optimistic in how we’re going to proceed,” said Richard Eykholt, chair of the faculty council.
Reflecting on Penley
“His legacy will be leaving strong relationships with some of our partners around the state and nation,” he said.
He also noted Penley’s accomplishments as the president of a land grant university.
“As far as our research, having a global impact, he did a good job updating and refining the mission of a land grant university,” Troxell said.
He said Penley did a good job during his tenure as President, establishing quality connections with the Fort Collins community and others across the state and nation.
Hutchinson said the two talked at the recent football game against BYU, at which time Penley discussed the relationship between CSU and the Fort Collins community.
“Not only did this have no indication of him resigning, it indicates he was still thinking about the future,” Hutchinson said.
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