Colorado State University President Albert C. Yates, just beginning his 13th year as president of the university and chancellor of the Colorado State University System, today announced he will retire from the presidency at the end of this fiscal year.
Yates, widely regarded as the senior spokesman for higher education in Colorado, will continue to serve as chancellor of the Colorado State University System for a brief but undetermined period beyond June 30, to help ensure the successful transition of the University of Southern Colorado to Colorado State University-Pueblo.
His announcement signals the end of one of the longest presidential tenures in Colorado State University history. Only two other presidents have led the university for longer periods: Charles A. Lory (1909-1940) and William B. Morgan (1949-1969).
The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System accepted Yates’ decision at its meeting this week. The board will immediately begin to outline the details of the search process and launch a search for his successor.
Dr. Reginald Washington, president of the Colorado State University Board of Governors, offered warm praise for Yates’ leadership of Colorado State University, saying: "Colorado State has benefited enormously from the stable, visionary leadership of Al Yates. The hallmark of Al Yates’ tenure has been a focus on students, on quality and on institutional integrity."
Washington noted that 13 years is considerably longer than the tenure of most university presidents nationwide.
"The board is particularly grateful he’s willing to extend his service as chancellor for a bit longer, although this willingness isn’t surprising given Dr. Yates’ unparalleled commitment to the institution and our system," Washington said. "The transition will allow our entire system to continue to benefit from his wisdom, leadership and vision, and will ensure that the system as a whole, and the University of Southern Colorado in particular, are well-positioned for continued success."
As to his future plans, Yates said: "I want to spend more time with my family – my wife and two young daughters. I want to read, write and do a variety of other things I haven’t been able to do in recent years."
"No time is ideal for a decision like this," Yates said. "As I have said often in the last 12 years, ‘Colorado is my home, and CSU is my passion’ – and that continues to be the case. I want to continue to help the University in whatever way I can, but I also feel as if it’s time."
Yates noted he felt strongly about continuing for a short time as chancellor because of the commitments he’s made to the board, the Colorado General Assembly and the state to assist with the University of Southern Colorado transition. He also emphasized the need for the system to remain involved with the work of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force and to have a strong voice in higher-education governance statewide, particularly in light of state budget concerns.
"We’ve tried to structure a transition that takes into consideration the needs of Colorado State University, the Colorado State University System and the state – and does so in a way that will leave our university and system in the best possible shape," Yates said.
"It will not be easy to replace Albert Yates," said Professor David Allen, chair of Colorado State’s Faculty Council. "His commitment to shared governance has allowed for the development of many new initiatives in an environment of fiscal stress. With some sorrow, the faculty looks forward to participating in the selection of a replacement who will continue Al Yates’ excellent rapport between faculty and administration and his commitment to maintaining high educational standards. The individual who replaces Al Yates will have large shoes to fill."