Colorado State University names first female president

Colorado State University‘s next president will likely be the first woman to fill that role, though an employment agreement can‘t be finalized for at least 14 days.

On Friday, the university‘s Board of Governors announced it has chosen Joyce E. McConnell, provost and vice president for academic affairs at West Virginia University, to replace outgoing president Tony Frank.

That decision came after a five-month nationwide search guided by a committee of students, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders in the university, according to a statement released by the university. McConnell would be the university‘s 15th president.

McConnell‘s responsibilities in her previous role included “overseeing university budgets, building partnerships with political, governmental, business and nonprofit leaders at the state, national and international levels and playing a lead role in fundraising,” according to the release.

The statement also credits McConnell with “improving gender equity and Title IX education and compliance, engaging in higher-education policy work with the board and state leaders, focusing on raising faculty salaries, promoting excellence in research and graduate education and playing a key role in promoting diversity and inclusion at all levels” during her time in West Virginia.

“Joyce McConnell has an extraordinary track record in higher education leadership and a deep appreciation for Colorado State University‘s mission and character,” CSU System Board of Governors chairman Rico Munn said in a statement provided by the university. “She has shown a unique ability to lead with vision while bringing diverse groups alongside in a common drive for excellence.”

McConnell expressed her excitement about joining “one of the nation‘s premier flagship, land-grant, research universities” in the statement released by the university.

“At a time when some are questioning the value of higher education, Colorado State provides the perfect response to those who would diminish that value,” McConnell said. ” For almost 150 years, Colorado State has led the way toward creating the talent and research essential to Colorado‘s prosperity. I am excited to bring my passion for these missions to Fort Collins and help continue the thriving spirit that created this university and is still evident today.”

McConnell, the statement notes, also previously served as dean of the West Virginia University College of Law and spearheaded major fundraising and academic initiatives while in that position.

If McConnell‘s selection is finalized following the completion of the 14-day notice and waiting period mandated by Colorado law, she will begin in her new role July 1. That is when Frank, who announced his resignation from the presidency last September, will begin serving exclusively as chancellor of the CSU system after spending the past five years filling both roles.

The CSU statement notes that the new president “will step in as CSU approaches its 150th anniversary and at a time when the university has seen a decade of record levels of enrollment, donor and alumni support, and research funding, along with the dramatic transformation of campus, physically and in terms of state and national reputation.”

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