Colorado State University President Albert Yates Calls for Renewed Commitment to Service, Community

In his 13th address to the university community today, Colorado State University President Albert C. Yates reaffirmed the institution’s commitment to service and community embodied in a statewide dialogue called "Bridges to the Future: American History and Values in Light of September 11th." The program is being presented jointly by Colorado State and the University of Denver.

"Through ‘Bridges,’ our two universities are challenging the people of Colorado to reignite our shared passion for the public values that are the foundation of our nation’s greatness, to trigger a renaissance of civic commitment and social responsibility, and in doing so, to lessen our fear and anxiety and restore our hope in the shape of tomorrow," Yates said.

In his talk on the north steps of the Administration Building on the historic Oval, Yates discussed the university’s strong enrollment figures, record levels of research funding and the people and programs that have made extraordinary contributions to the institution. Yates also noted that the year ahead will hold may challenges.

"Broad success will require making necessary adjustments to still greater reductions in state funds, reaffirming our commitment to diversity, continuing to enhance the undergraduate experience, and restoring promise to our graduate programs," Yates said.

In recounting the past year, Yates noted the university’s response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The president praised members of Environmental Health and Radiological Health Sciences, who represented Colorado State at Ground Zero during rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site in New York City.

Response to the severe drought that is affecting Colorado came from representatives from the Colorado Climate Center, Water Resources Research Center, regional agricultural extension economists, Cooperative Extension agents and the Agricultural Experiment Station, Yates said.

"True to its service mission, our university responded quickly to provide essential information to farmers, ranchers and extension agents across our state," Yates said.

Yates also discussed this year’s wildfire season, and noted the "courage, leadership and commitment" of faculty in Natural Resources and members of the Colorado State Forest Service who have been closely involved with fire management and assessment during difficult times.

While the university "continues to make progress in real and substantive ways," Yates noted that state revenue projections have declined again and that the university may face additional cuts.

"Our single greatest task in the months to come will be to adjust to the reality of significantly lower levels of funding while maintaining our shared vision of the future," Yates said. "In such a climate, the priority we place on people, on sustaining academic quality, and on open communications and shared decision-making becomes more important than ever before."

Plans to increase the university’s revenue base in the face of the budget crisis include the exploration of new TABOR enterprises, special profit centers, enrollment management opportunities, fund-raising, license fees for university-held patents and indirect cost recoveries.

"Colorado State always seems to do best in times of great challenge – throughout our history, we have always sought to turn adversity into opportunity," Yates said. "There is no doubt we have the will and strength to succeed."

Yates also discussed the university’s continuing assistance with the work of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Higher Education, which will make its final recommendations on role, mission and funding in the next few months. Proposals by the panel are likely to affect the long-term funding and structure of higher education in the state, Yates said.

Making graduate education "a centerpiece and source of pride for this university" and reinvigorating Colorado State’s commitment to diversity also were topics of Yates’ address.

In closing, Yates pointed to the 100th anniversary of the 4-H Youth Development program.

"4-H, perhaps more than any other single program, symbolizes the unique character and spirit of the land-grant university and its importance to our society. Through 4-H, children learn what can be accomplished through the work of their own hands. (4-H) is one of America’s finest achievements, and it speaks to the very heart of Colorado State University.

"This is the spirit we must seek to replicate throughout all aspects of our campus life. These same values of service, dedication and hands-on learning set our educational experience apart from any other. We should take great pride in this, and we also should seek new ways to extend this spirit throughout our institution and the state.

"Let us build our own ‘Bridge to the Future’ this year by seeking ways in which we can enhance our value and service to the State of Colorado; let us strive, in all we do, to serve well and to make a difference in the lives of people."