The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System invites letters of recommendation and applications for the position of President of Colorado State University. 

Colorado State is one of the nation’s top public research universities and an institution on the rise. In the last decade, CSU has achieved record enrollment, built on all-time highs in student diversity and student success, set fundraising records far outpacing ambitious goals, led groundbreaking research driven by one of the country’s most productive faculties, completed a transformative building campaign, and sustained an unrivaled learning environment where 9 out of 10 graduates say they would choose CSU again. The campus has consistently ranked as the most sustainable in the country and has an enduring commitment to service, inclusion, and leadership in seeking innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.  

Founded as the Colorado Agricultural College in 1870, six years before the Colorado Territory was granted statehood, CSU is the land-grant university serving Colorado. Guided by that mission, our tradition of providing a high-quality, affordable higher education to all who have the desire and ability to achieve it runs deep and today is reflected in staunch commitment to educational access, opportunity, and inclusion as fundamental to our mission and purpose. 

Colorado State University in Fort Collins, is the flagship campus of the Colorado State University System, which also includes Colorado State University Pueblo (a regionally focused, Hispanic-Serving institution) and CSU Global, the nation’s first fully online public university. As the flagship university, CSU is on a trajectory of growth and momentum, with a student body exceeding 32,000 students, 7,500 employees, and, as a Carnegie R1 (Very High Research Activity) Institution, with annual research expenditures exceeding $447 million, placing the University at the top in Colorado and among institutions without a medical school.  CSU is an innovator of graduate education and has tremendous graduate programs and graduate students who are instrumental in achieving these research metrics.  CSU has invested nearly $2B in its physical infrastructure over the last decade, transforming it into one of the most beautiful, state-of-the-art, campuses in the country.  CSU is a member of the NCAA at the Division 1 level, Mountain West Conference, with 16 collegiate sports programs.  CSU is home to several world leading research centers and programs, including the veterinary medicine program ranked among the top three in the nation and some of the world’s most prestigious programs in animal cancer research, atmospheric sciences, alternative energy solutions, and infectious disease.  CSU has 76 undergraduate degree programs,159 master’s degree programs (56 of which are also offered online through multiple delivery methods); 74 doctoral programs, and 47 graduate certificates. The university has made significant investments over the past decade in student recruitment, financial aid, student services, and retention. In 2020, the campus completed its most successful fundraising campaign in CSU history, raising $1.28 billion and reaching the campaign’s $1 billion goal a year ahead of schedule.

Faculty at CSU are among the best in their fields and combine classroom learning with experiential learning in the field and laboratory. More than 5,000 CSU students participate in undergraduate research opportunities every year, and even as CSU has grown, it has kept student:faculty ratio at 17:1.  According to annual surveys, nine out of 10 CSU graduates say they would choose the university again. Within six months of graduation, 80 percent of students have secured their first-destination plans for work or continued education. 


Inspired by its land-grant heritage, Colorado State University is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public research universities in teaching, research, engagement, service, and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States, and the world. 


  • Be accountable 
  • Promote civic responsibility 
  • Employ a customer focus 
  • Promote freedom of expression 
  • Demonstrate inclusiveness and diversity 
  • Encourage and reward innovation 
  • Act with integrity and mutual respect 
  • Provide opportunity and access 
  • Support excellence in teaching and research 

Principles of Community 

The Principles of Community support the Colorado State University mission and vision of access, research, teaching, service and engagement. A collaborative and vibrant community is a foundation for learning, critical inquiry, and discovery. Therefore, each member of the CSU community has a responsibility to uphold these principles when engaging with one another and acting on behalf of the University. 

Inclusion: We create and nurture inclusive environments and welcome, value and affirm all members of our community, including their various identities, skills, ideas, talents and contributions. 

Integrity: We are accountable for our actions and will act ethically and honestly in all our interactions. 

Respect: We honor the inherent dignity of all people within an environment where we are committed to freedom of expression, critical discourse, and the advancement of knowledge. 

Service: We are responsible, individually and collectively, to give of our time, talents, and resources to promote the well-being of each other and the development of our local, regional, and global communities. 

Social Justice: We have the right to be treated and the responsibility to treat others with fairness and equity, the duty to challenge prejudice, and to uphold the laws, policies and procedures that promote justice in all respects. 

The Community 

The Colorado State University main campus is located in Fort Collins, where the Rockies meet the plains, an hour north of Denver. Fort Collins is a vibrant city of about 175,000 residents that enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Fort Collins is home to a significant business community, diverse cultural attractions, an active family culture, and access to bike trails, hiking, skiing, water sports, rafting, fishing, and other outdoor sports. Fort Collins is gaining a reputation for breakthrough innovations in clean energy and socially responsible innovation and is highlighted by the Smithsonian Institution as one of its “Places of Invention.”

The county seat of Larimer County, Fort Collins is 45 miles south of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and within an hour’s drive of such major recreational areas as Estes Park, Red Feather Lakes, Horsetooth Reservoir, and several mountain parks, including the 790,000-acre Roosevelt National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Located at an elevation of 5,000 feet, Fort Collins has a clear, dry atmosphere, with summer temperatures ranging from an average high of 85°F to an average low of 52°F; the winter temperature ranges from an average high of 42°F to an average low of 13°F. 

Fort Collins is home to a robust arts and entertainment culture and includes an active local music scene, an established craft brewery industry, several museums and theater companies, a robust public library district, the civic symphony, and CSU’s own University Center for the Arts. The packed University calendar – athletics events, guest speakers, art exhibits, theater, cinema, concerts – adds to community life. This broad spectrum of cultural and outdoor recreational facilities, the excellent climate, and the mountain surroundings contribute to making Fort Collins an ideal university setting. 

The Position

CSU seeks a visionary and accomplished leader who can build on the University’s strong foundation of excellence to sustain and grow a world-class faculty and academic program; provide the vision and strategic direction to ensure sustained engagement, financial health, and philanthropic support; promote a culture of integrity at all levels that reflects the CSU Principles of Community; encourage entrepreneurial approaches as well as respect for the University’s enduring traditions and responsibilities; and operate with a commitment to shared governance and inclusion. The next president will be someone who understands the history, role and value of a comprehensive land-grant university; will engage and inspire faculty, staff, students, and the surrounding community to achieve a shared vision of global excellence; and who will be a strong contributor to the Colorado State University System in maximizing opportunities for greater service to Colorado and enhanced operational efficiency. The next President should be an expert communicator and tireless advocate for all of the diverse individuals and communities that make up CSU – someone who understands the complex character and history of the American West and the constituencies that are served by a modern, public, land-grant research university in this part of the country and world.

The President is the chief executive officer of the University and has general authority and responsibility for the strategic leadership and management of the institution and its resources, within the direction of the CSU System Board of Governors (a nine-member Board appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state senate), and under the supervision of the CSU System Chancellor.   

It is preferred, the successful candidate have:

  • Earned doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree;
  • Vision, integrity, bold and creative leadership skills and experience to engage the entire campus community in maintaining the highest standards of quality and academic excellence in an atmosphere of collegiality and consensus building;
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, social justice and inclusion, including an understanding of the special obligations of the land-grant university in creating access and opportunity and in working with peoples and Tribal communities that are indigenous to Colorado and the West;
  • Commitment to and experience with shared governance models and demonstrated success building healthy and collaborative relationships among all stakeholders;
  • Deep appreciation for public higher education and demonstrated understanding of the role of land-grant universities in the community, region, country, and international landscape, including economic development;
  • Knowledge of the role of land-grant universities in Native American/Indigenous history, land, and community;
  • Fiscal acumen with demonstrated success in navigating among shifting financial landscapes
  • Strong commitment to supporting and growing a research enterprise and investments in graduate education;
  • Deep respect and appreciation for Extension and the strength and partnership that is critical to statewide stability of the Land Grant Mission and understanding of CSU’s responsibilities to serve all of Colorado – rural and urban;
  • Unwavering commitment to the undergraduate and graduate students of CSU and a record of involvement in initiatives that support student success, achievement, and graduation;
  • Successful track record of fund-raising and developing external and community relationships, while building engagement and trust with the local and broader communities through collaboration and mutually beneficial initiatives;
  • Established track record of developing and implementing programs that have successfully increased the recruitment, retention, persistence, and graduation of first-generation and BIPOC students;
  • Ability to strengthen relationships with other members of the Colorado State University System including other system presidents, the Chancellor and Board of Governors;
  • Entrepreneurial skills and talented in fostering growth of the academic enterprise, ensuring its quality and competitiveness;
  • Ability to recognize, support, develop, recruit and retain talented faculty, staff, and administrative leadership, including being attuned and sensitive to the issues in marginalization and intersectionality;
  • Previous success inspiring a high performance culture;
  • Demonstrated commitment to the economic sustainability of the University’s human capital;
  • Support for the academic and athletic success and well-being of student-athletes and the success and long-term viability of CSU’s intercollegiate athletics program;
  • Strong, authentic communication skills, with an emphasis on accountability and transparency and trust;
  • Knowledge of becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution;
  • Established understanding of the breadth of CSU’s interdisciplinary academic reach, including its arts and humanities programs; its STEM and research programs,; its professionally focused academic disciplines; and programs offered online, internationally, and in partnership with other organizations.

Application and Nominations

The Presidential Search Advisory Committee invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, resume/CV and contact information for at least five professional references) or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting Colorado State University.  Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to October 15, 2022 to:

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875
Atlanta, Georgia 30328
770-804-1996 ext. 102 or 109 /

Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability.