Penley Issues Promises as Part of Building Great Research University; Inauguration Draws State, National Attendance

Note to Editors: Photographs and broadcast-quality audio clips of the inaugural convocation are available on the Web at

Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley issued promises to the people of  Colorado during his inaugural address today as part of his vision for the university’s future as a great research university dedicated to serving the state and the world.

In his address to more than 1,200 attendees in Moby Arena on campus, Penley focused his remarks on the university’s obligation to serve the state through focused outreach efforts including working closely with K-12 educators and community colleges; to provide a high-quality undergraduate education to all students, regardless of background; to engage in research that serves Colorado while addressing great global challenges; and to build the financial stability necessary to meet these goals.

"This is a new age – but the traditions that we possess and the foundation that those before us have left give us hope that we can realize our 21st-century vision as a great research university in the public interest for Colorado and the world," Penley said.

In his first of four promises, Penley committed the university to service and partnership with the state. Penley said Colorado State will:

–     work closely with K-12 educators to make certain that young people of all backgrounds have access to the university and its many unique programs not available elsewhere in the state;

–     help ensure that Colorado’s secondary teachers are well prepared in all areas by continuing to be the state’s leading source of teachers of science, mathematics, engineering and technology; and

–     seek to attract the state’s best and brightest students through a challenge issued to the university’s alumni and friends to provide scholarships for top-performing high school and community college students in Colorado.

Penley’s second promise centered on the delivery of a distinctive, high-quality undergraduate education. He said the university will:

–     create greater continuity between the high school or community college experience and the university experience by offering programs that build relationships between students and between faculty and students;

–     integrate education in the arts, humanities and social sciences with programs in engineering sciences and the professions; and

–     provide vigorous intellectual challenges to all students.

Third, Penley made a commitment to focus university research on creating solutions to great global issues that also impact Colorado. He promised the university will encourage cross-disciplinary research and will place an emphasis on seeking out opportunities to accelerate transfer of technology from the lab to new applications in the state and the world.

     Finally, Penley committed to building a financially stable future for the institution. He pointed to the following:

–     The percentage of the state budget devoted to colleges has declined significantly.

–     The dependence of public colleges and universities on student tuition has grown considerably.

–     The extent to which universities are dependent on sponsored research is much higher than ever.

–     The fundraising efforts of public universities now rival the efforts of private universities.  

"We must take responsibility for our own fate and resolve the challenge of our financial stability, recognizing that the old ways for financing public universities are gone," Penley said.  

"I promise you I will work to represent CSU, CSU-Pueblo and higher education in securing their future."