Colorado State University President, Staff and Faculty Recognized with Regional Student Affairs Awards

Colorado State University President Tony Frank was recently recognized with the Region IV-W Presidential Excellence Award by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education professional association, or NASPA.

President Frank’s tremendous popularity among CSU students sparked his nomination for the award. The award is a special recognition given to a college or university president who has, over a sustained period of time, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting Student Affairs staff and programs. Award recipients must be directly involved in enhancing the quality of student life on campus, and actively involve students and student life in governing the institution.

Frank continually encourages students to be involved in the university, and takes time to respond personally to students who email and call him. He also engages students in the university by hosting open forums to discuss anything that is on their minds and invites them into his office for personal discussions. He often personally reaches out to students in distress and their families.

“Tony, as he is called by everyone on campus, is a different type of university president,” said Blanche Hughes, vice president for Student Affairs. “He makes intentional efforts to be approachable and transparent to all on campus, and he is not afraid to show his humor and warmth to everyone. He shows his commitment to students by being personally available to them and getting them involved in major decisions at the university, as well as through fiscal support. He asked Student Affairs to design an outreach program to better respond to the needs of students with complex medical and mental health issues. He often asks how policies will impact students. He loves to walk around campus alone and stop and chat with students just to see how they are doing. Most students know who he is and feel comfortable approaching him as they would a good friend.”

“From my own perspective as dean of Students, Tony is amazing,” said Jody Donovan. “He truly cares about students and their families. Tony is a bit of a celebrity on campus. I’ve never worked on a college campus where the president is viewed as a friend, colleague, role model, mentor and sage.”

“Tony’s strengths related to communicating with students and keeping the university focused on support for students are at the top of the list of admirable qualities he possesses as a president,” said Amy Parsons, vice president for University Operations. “He has an amazing ability to communicate with our students in a way that fosters a deep sense of trust, respect and camaraderie.”

Frank’s commitment to students on campus also often earns him compliments in the university’s student-run newspaper, the Collegian.

Frank is the 14th president of Colorado State University, taking the helm in June of 2009 after serving as interim president from November 2008. He has been at the university for more than 16 years, including four previous years as provost and senior vice president.

In addition to Frank’s recognition, five other individuals and programs from CSU were recently recognized with NASPA awards:

  • Jim Banning, a professor in the School of Education, teaches in the university’s Student Affairs in Higher Education program. He was recognized with the Outstanding Faculty Member Award. Banning began the initial work to create a field of study known as campus ecology, which is the study of interrelationships between people and the college environment. “His work has had a lasting impact on the field of student affairs and higher education,” said David McKelfresh, CSU’s program chair for the student affairs in higher education graduate program.


  • Sagarika Sarma was recognized as a regional Rising Star New Professional. Sarma is currently the Care Coordinator for INTO-CSU, after serving as the program coordinator for the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center for two years. She also graduated from CSU’s student affairs program. Sarma is recognized for her contributions to increasing cultural knowledge and awareness across campus departments and for increasing university ties with Asian and Pacific American students. The Rising Star New Professional award recognizes someone who has been in the profession less than three years for their achievements.


  • Andrew Ives, a CSU alumnus who graduated in 2012 and was heavily involved in student leadership at CSU as well as serving as a resident advisor, received the Rising Star Undergraduate Student Award. In nomination materials, Ives was praised for his professionalism, leadership skills, ethical standards and desire to positively impact the CSU student experience. This award recognizes achievement, involvement and potential in emerging and future student affairs professionals. Ives continues to work in student affairs in Boulder, where he is a hall director apprentice.


  • CSU’s Gender Awareness Week, sponsored by GUIDE – Gaining Understanding through Diversity, Education and Involvement was recognized with the Innovative Program Award. The Gender Awareness Week focuses on gender awareness through a variety of activities including a panel discussion, guest speakers, documentary viewings and interactive discussion about gender identity regarding the drag culture.


  • CSU’s Party Registration program was recognized with an Honorable Mention Innovative Program Award as a program with results in improved educational activities, services or management for a campus. The Party Registration program was piloted in spring 2009 as a response to growing tensions in neighborhoods surrounding the CSU campus over noise, trash, nuisance properties and other disruptions. Through the program, students who register their gatherings with the city receive a warning call from Fort Collins Police Services if their party becomes too noisy. Hosts are given 20 minutes to shut down the gathering before police arrive, giving city residents faster response to their concerns and benefiting students by avoiding costly tickets.


  • In 2011, Blanche Hughes, vice president for Student Affairs, was selected as the James J. Rhatigan Outstanding Dean. This award is presented to a dean who has sustained professional service in the area of student personnel work; showcases a high-level of competency in administrative skills; has merited stature among and support of students, faculty and fellow administrators on campus; has an innovative response in meeting varied and emerging needs of students; shows effectiveness in the development of junior staff members; has made significant contributions to the field though publications; and is a proven leader in community and university affairs. For the purposes of this award, nominees must be the senior student affairs officer.