Note to Reporters: Downloadable audio, photos and biographies of Joe Blake and Tony Frank will be available at http://www.colostate.edu/ by 3 p.m. Thursday.
The Colorado State University community today celebrated the inauguration of Joe Blake as the first sole chancellor of the CSU System and Tony Frank as the 14th president of the university. The two were officially installed by the Board of Governors on the historic Oval before a crowd of hundreds of faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends.
Blake and Frank asked to forgo the type of elaborate inaugural festivities typically held by universities in favor of blending the ceremony into an existing campus event.
“Our ceremony today is about leadership. These two men were chosen at the most critical time in the history of higher education in the country,” said Patrick McConathy, board chair. “This is an opportunity to lift our vision, summon our hopes, strengthen our resolve, and renew our belief that the best days of CSU are ahead.”
In his inaugural speech, Blake called the day the beginning of something new in the life of Colorado State University.
“A university’s vitality depends on interplay between the old and the new, between tradition and change,” Blake said. “We have the power to envision excellence in all we do and want for CSU, to create the finest learning experience for every student and to fulfill the promises we make to each other.”
In his address, Frank noted the challenges facing the institution compared with those of his predecessors and world leaders and called for a return to the fundamentals of ensuring a high-quality educational environment.
“Consider the challenges faced by Lincoln, confronted with a civil war and a devastated economy,” Frank said. “Or the obstacles faced in 1870 by the first black person in America allowed to cast a vote – the same year our trustees were trying to build a college with no budget and very little legislative support. Think over the challenges faced by the average citizen in the first decade of the 20th century, who made $13 for working a 60 hour week while not expecting to live past the age of 47.
“For my administration, the fundamentals mean we must foster the environment needed for our faculty and our students to attain their potential,” Frank said. “The university’s support infrastructure – from the people who care for this beautiful setting, to those who will cook our food, to everyone who interacts with a visitor to our campus, to the President – has a single role: to enable our faculty who strive to transform our world and to support the education of the students who entrust their passion and their futures to our care.”
The Board of Governors separated the chancellor from the president role and named Blake as the university system’s first sole chancellor on July 1, 2009. Blake previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce for the past 10 years. The Board this summer named Frank, a 16-year veteran of the university, as president; he had previously served as provost and senior executive vice president.