Colorado State University Names New Dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources

Colorado State University’s world-renowned Warner College of Natural Resources has named Joseph T. O’Leary as its new dean. He will start his new job in May.

"Dr. O’Leary will bring vision and energy to lead the Warner College to continued levels of excellence. We are confident he will lead the college in addressing the environmental challenges of the 21st century while fulfilling its historic commitment to responsible use and protection of renewable and non-renewable resources and sustaining diverse environmental benefits to society," said Colorado State President Larry Edward Penley.

O’Leary is currently a professor and department head of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University. He has been at the university since 2001, and prior to that, he was a professor at Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

"We are pleased to welcome Dr. O’Leary to Colorado State University," said Tony Frank, Colorado State’s senior vice president and provost. "The Warner College of Natural Resources is a premier natural resources college for the 21st century, and he will continue to lead the college as it addresses problems of global importance while educating tomorrow’s leaders. The impact of the college’s programs is now felt in more than 63 countries and is grounded in the latest technologies and science."

Under his leadership at Texas A&M, O’Leary’s department showed significant increases in both the number of faculty, the size of the graduate program and the level of research funding.

Colorado State’s Warner College of Natural Resources offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that focus on critical environmental management programs. The college, which includes the departments of Fishery and Wildlife Biology; Forestry, Rangeland, and Watershed Stewardship; Geosciences; and Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism, is responsible for the international leader in environmental science – the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory – as well as the unique Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands, the Colorado State Forest Service and the newly established Center for Collaborative Conservation.

"The opportunity to work with faculty, students, staff and leadership teams in the Warner College and at CSU is an honor and privilege," O’Leary said. "I commit to do everything I can to nurture and advance the college’s vision to be a global leader in natural resource and environmental learning, science and stewardship."

In 2005, Edward M. Warner, renowned geologist, philanthropist and distinguished alumnus, donated $30 million to position the college as a global leader in research and education. In honor of his gift, the college was named after Warner and is the first named college at Colorado State and one of only a few named public colleges or schools of natural resources in the nation.

Warner’s gift was the largest in the history of Colorado State.

Under O’Leary’s leadership, the Warner College will continue to serve society as a leader in valuable discovery, learning and engagement activities. He plans to leverage the Warner gift and seek additional support to advance the mission of the college and the university.

O’Leary’s professional affiliations include the Academy of Leisure Sciences, the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration, the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and serving on the Education Committee for the World Tourism Organization. He received the prestigious national award, the Franklin D. and Theodore Roosevelt Excellence in Recreation and Park Research Award, from the National Recreation and Park Association. Additionally, he is recipient of the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation Outstanding Achievement Award.

He received his doctoral degree from the University of Washington in 1974 and master’s from Yale University in 1971.