Colleagues and Students,

Before we all head our separate ways for the summer, I want to offer a special congratulations to the graduates of the Class of 2016! You have worked hard and accomplished much. All of us at Colorado State University have watched your generation and see the size of your hearts, and the spirit that burns in your souls — your passion and energy, your ideas, and ideals. We are enormously proud of you. You give us hope and the conviction that our future is in good hands.

As president, I am tremendously proud of this University as a whole and the progress we’ve made this year tackling issues ranging from gender salary equity to our vision for the future (Re-Envision Colorado State — more to come on that in the fall, but please continue to share your vision and ideas here).

We end the year on a positive note. We’re well ahead of schedule on reaching our goal for the $1 billion campaign we launched in February — in fact, CSU has more than tripled its private support in the last five years. This spring alone, the support of our donors has shattered all previous records as we’ve announced a $40 million gift to create the Colorado State University Institute for Biological and Translational Therapies; another $20 million gift to support the IBTT project; a $20 million gift to name Sonny Lubick Field at the new on-campus stadium; a $13 million gift to support academic programs, scholarships, and the new Michael and Iris Smith Alumni Center at the multi-purpose stadium; a new University Endowed Chair in Wetlands and Waterfowl Conservation; and a landmark partnership with UC Health to support academics and health-care on our campus. This kind of support — and the 45% percent increase we’ve seen in alumni participation over the last five years — is directly attributable to the outstanding work of our faculty and staff across the University and the experience and service they provide to our students and society.

I’d also like to recognize two of our faculty members who have earned major national honors in recent weeks: Professor Temple Grandin in Animal Sciences was just recently named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and University Distinguished Professor Bernie Rollin was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Research Ethics for his lifetime of extraordinary work in the ethics of animal care and use. These two and their pioneering careers exemplify the honest, thoughtful, compassionate, and innovative spirit that is characteristic of our faculty and staff as a whole, and we are exceptionally proud to see Temple and Bernie honored on the national stage.

A University is a complex and multifaceted place, but our mission is simple: To open the doors of opportunity, expand the frontiers of knowledge, and provide access to an exceptional education for talented students from all walks of life. Those students who graduate this weekend are our greatest achievement, and while we offer them our congratulations — I hope you will also join me in thanking and recognizing the University community that has made their individual success possible. I am, as always, grateful to serve this University and all of you.

Although most of us will stay pretty engaged over the summer (we have our traditional state-wide tour that will occupy part of mine), my hope is that all of you will also have at least a bit of peaceful, “down time.” I have some books I have been putting off and am looking forward to them.

Whatever you have planned, be well, have a wonderful summer, congratulations again to our graduates, and we’ll see the rest of you back on campus in August when we’ll see if the 2016 Cubs are any different from the 1969 Cubs!


Dr. Tony Frank