Chancellor Larry Edward Penley and the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System today announced that Joseph Garcia, a Harvard-trained lawyer with extensive public service in southern Colorado, will be the new president of Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Garcia has served as president of Pikes Peak Community College since 2001.
"Joe has been a strong leader in Colorado higher education and in the business world," said Patrick Grant, chairman of the Board of Governors. "His diverse professional background as an attorney, community college president and federal housing official makes him ideal to confront the challenges that face higher education in Colorado."
Throughout the search process, Garcia received strong support from campus and community leaders, as well as the Search Committee. He is expected to begin his new position before fall term begins.
"CSU-Pueblo plays a critical role for the State of Colorado with excellent learning opportunities for students and a significant responsibility for economic development and the quality of life of Southern Colorado," said Penley. "Joe Garcia’s experience in the private and public sectors, combined with his knowledge of the community and his distinguished track record as president of Pikes Peak Community College, make him an excellent fit for this important position."
In the interim before President Garcia is able to move to Pueblo, Russ Meyer will serve as interim president. Meyer has been dean of the College of Humanities and Social Services and he is serving as Interim Provost. He was appointed interim president to ensure an effective transition with strong leadership during this time of change at CSU-Pueblo.
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 June. 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.
"The search committee worked tirelessly to find the best candidates at this very critical juncture at CSU-Pueblo," said Diane Evans, a board member who served as chairwoman of the search committee. "We are grateful that their hard work resulted in a list of talented finalists. Joe emerged as the clear choice, and we believe he will be an outstanding leader at CSU-Pueblo and a wonderful addition to the Colorado State community."
At Pikes Peak, Garcia oversees three campuses that serve about 16,000 students annually through associate’s degree programs, business training workshops or continuing education programs. He effectively oversaw the successful reaccreditation process by the Higher Learning Commission in 2003.
Garcia’s impressive employment history is diverse. 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 as 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.
Garcia has twice been selected as Hispanic Business Magazine’s "Hispanic Legal Elite" and as "President of the Year" by the Colorado Community Colleges State Student Advisory Council. Colorado Springs NAACP also named him "Outstanding Administrator in Higher Education" in 2004.
Garcia also serves on a number of boards and committees, including the Colorado Springs YMCA, the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp., the Downtown Depot Arts District, the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs.
He joined the board of directors of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority from 1994-1999 under then Gov. Roy Romer. Gov. Bill Owens appointed him again in 2001. He currently serves as chairman.
Garcia and his wife, Claire, an English professor at Colorado College, have four children; they plan to reside in Pueblo.