Four Finalists in Presidential Search to Visit Colorado State University-Pueblo Campus Next Week

A presidential search committee has named four higher education leaders as finalists in the running to become the next president of Colorado State University-Pueblo.

They will begin visits with campus and community leaders in Pueblo next week.

The finalists are Joseph Garcia, president of Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs; Jonathan Lawson, professor of the doctoral program in educational leadership at Idaho State University and former vice president for academic affairs; Herman Lujan, provost and vice president for academic affairs for California State University, Los Angeles; and David Soltz, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs for Central Washington University.

"We are pleased with the caliber of these candidates," said Diane Evans, a member of the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System who served as chairwoman of the search committee. "I’d really like to thank the committee members for the commitment they’ve made to this process."

Each candidate will spend a day meeting with members of the campus and Pueblo communities. Garcia will visit May 31, Lawson on June 8 and Soltz on June 14. Lujan’s visit will be split between the afternoon of June 12 and the morning of June 13.

A more detailed schedule of candidate visits will be posted this week at

CSU-Pueblo President Ron Applbaum announced in October that he would resume his career as a faculty member following completion of his four-year contract in July.

The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System in February appointed a presidential search committee comprised of community, faculty, staff, student and administrative representatives. A search firm, A.T. Kearney, also assisted in the process.

"When we began the process, we made an extended effort to solicit input from both on-campus constituency and community groups," Evans said. "The campus interview process is structured similarly to that. Candidates will have an opportunity to meet with a broad spectrum of people on and off campus."

The board is expected to make a final selection following the campus visits and interviews.

More about the candidates:

– Garcia has served as president of Pikes Peak Community College since 2001. He previously worked as the Rocky Mountain States representative for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and a partner in the Colorado Springs office of law firm Holme Roberts & Owen. He obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School and his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

– Lawson served as vice president for academic affairs at Idaho State from 1995 to 2004. Previously, he served as senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Hartford. He also held a variety of positions within the Minnesota university system including dean of Liberal Arts at Winona State University. He obtained his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas Christian University.

– Prior to being named provost and vice president of academic affairs at California State University, Lujan served as chief academic officer in the Connecticut State University System and as president of the University of Northern Colorado. He obtained his master’s degree from the University of California-Berkeley, and his doctoral degree from the University of Idaho, both in political science. He has an honorary doctorate from St. Mary’s College of California where he started his academic career.

– Soltz has been provost and a professor of biology at Central Washington University since August 2001. Before joining the university, he served as dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at California State University in Los Angeles and chairman of the biological sciences department. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of California-Berkeley, and a doctoral degree in biology from the University of California-Los Angeles.