Oct 052009
Authors: Aaron Hedge, J. David McSwane

As CSU pushes onward with a $500 million capital fundraising campaign to combat roiling cuts from the state, a long-time major money donor to the university was appointed Monday to a top-level job aimed at increasing private funding.

Brett Anderson, a CSU alumnus, who over the last five years, has donated nearly $2 million to athletics — namely a $1.5 million gift for new Athletics facilities in 2007 — was named vice president of Advancement and Strategic Initiatives, university officials confirmed Monday night.

Anderson will make $180,000 a year at the post until June 30, 2012, when the post will be re-evaluated, CSU President Tony Frank said Monday.

Hailing his pick as “a very passionate donor and alumnus of CSU,” Frank said Anderson was targeted to fill the spot because of his business and networking talents. He said it is uncommon “for a donor with (Anderson’s) financial capacity to accept the position.”

In response to early whispers that “cronyism” allowed Anderson’s large pocket to secure the VP spot in the university’s Advancement and Strategic Initiatives Office, which receives large donations, Frank said, “I think the answer to that pretty plainly is I’m pretty interested in Brett’s talents … In my mind the talent to bring together people across different units.”

“I don’t think Brett needs the money,” Frank added of the substantial donor and ambassador for school’s publicized capital campaign, which hopes to rake in a lofty $500 million by 2012.

Joyce Berry, now former vice president of Advancement and Strategic Initiatives, was moved to the newly vacated position of dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources, left by Joseph O’Leary, who resigned last week.

Berry served as interim dean and dean of the college from 2004 to 2007, before accepting the VP position.

Frank said he pushed to forgo the national search that is usually standard procedure to replace spots vacated by O’Leary and Berry, citing the unstable economy as “a bad time to lose momentum.”

“I think there was a pretty strong sense that people wanted (Berry) to come back. She clearly has a great love for and passion of the Warner College of Natural Resources … (and the college) is too important to move on without leadership,” Frank said. “I think searches are important, but in this case, I pushed for a target hire.”

Frank said Anderson’s salary reflects gratitude to the retired businessman who had been an integral figure, acting as something of a “Denver diplomat,” in CSU’s strategic initiatives under former CSU President Larry Penley, who resigned last fall.

Anderson’s financial contributions to CSU included $100,000 in 2004 for the College of Engineering’s design practicum and $1.5 million in 2007 for the Athletics Department’s new Academic and Training Center.

Anderson said Monday that he has a long-standing commitment to the university after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1987.

“CSU is the best-kept secret in higher education,” he said Monday night.

Prior to his involvement in strategic initiatives here, Anderson was a senior administrator with Accenture, an international company that provides consulting and outsourcing services for worldwide organizations.

During recently inaugurated CSU Chancellor Joe Blake’s tenure as chair of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Anderson — as a senior executive for Accenture, which is a member of the chamber — served as a company representative on its governing board.

Anderson’s history as a donor and experience in Denver will prove to be valuable to CSU, Frank said

“Can the campaign for Colorado State University succeed if we fail in Denver? I think the answer to that is no,” he said. “It’s such a huge chunk of our alumni, it’s such a huge chunk of where our wealth is.”

Berry, the former VP of Advancement and Strategic Initiatives and current dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources, could not be reached for comment Monday night.

Development Editor Aaron Hedge and Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

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