CSU Board names finalist for president position

FORT COLLINS — The Colorado State University Board of Governors has named Amy Parsons as its sole finalist for the position of president of the university.

Parsons is the CEO of Mozzafiato LLC, a Denver-based e-commerce company. She is a former executive vice chancellor for the CSU system.

The Board of Governors made its decision today after a nationwide search.

Board of Governors Chair Kim Jordan expressed thanks to the search committee and said thousands of stakeholders participated in the search through surveys and listening sessions. 

“The search committee did an excellent job, allowing the board to identify a finalist who is uniquely and exceptionally qualified,” Jordan said in a press statement. “Amy has a deep personal commitment to CSU as an alumna and parent, and she’s held a series of critically important roles at CSU, as deputy general counsel, vice president, and executive vice chancellor — she also taught courses in the SAHE program. In other words, she understands the budgets, the legal landscape, the importance of academics, and the role of the university in the state, the system, and in students’ lives. She’s also demonstrated that she doesn’t shy away from even the most daunting challenges.”

According to the press statement, Parsons served in senior executive leadership roles at CSU and the CSU system for 16 years before becoming the founding CEO of Mozzafiato in 2020. She served as deputy general counsel and associate legal counsel at CSU Fort Collins from 2004-2009; as vice president for university operations at CSUFC from 2009-2015; and as executive vice chancellor of the CSU System from 2015-2020. While on campus, she also taught in the Student Affairs in Higher Education master’s degree program. 

“As a board, we were impressed by her private business background and also looked at her leadership success in building the Spur campus, in fundraising, in designing our Todos Santos Center in Mexico, in creating the Commitment to Campus program for employees on campus, in launching a whole set of strategic partnerships and plans, and in connecting with diverse people and industries across Colorado. All of this pushed her to the top of a very talented pool,” Jordan said.

Born in Colorado, Parsons grew up in Wyoming, where she participated in 4-H. She dreamed of attending CSU, and in her application for the presidency, she recounted working two jobs in the Lory Student Center to help pay her way through her undergraduate degree. She also served in the ASCSU student government and as a tour guide for admissions, along with being selected to serve as a White House intern in Washington, D.C.

She graduated from CSU with a Bachelor of Political Science in 1995 and earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1999. Before joining the general counsel’s office at CSU, she worked from 1999-2004 as a litigation attorney for Denver-firm Brownstein, Hyatt, & Farber (now Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck).  

“There is only one job that could entice me to leave my current role, and that’s this one,” Parsons said. “Much of my life and career have been wrapped up with CSU. My life was truly shaped by people who took the time to invest in me — people like professor Bob Lawrence in political science and the maintenance crew I worked with as a student in the basement of the Lory Student Center. Now, as the parent of a current student, I’m gaining a whole new perspective on the opportunities and challenges we face. At its core, CSU is about access, excellence, and inclusion — and the dreams that education can make possible. It would be an immense privilege to be able to serve as the chief advocate and champion of this great university and to safeguard the success and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.”

In accordance with Colorado law, there is a mandatory 14-day notice and waiting period after the announcement of a finalist before the Board of Governors can enter into an employment agreement and announce an anticipated start date. 

If approved by the board, Parsons will succeed former President Joyce McConnell, who left the position in June. Dr. Rick Miranda, CSU provost and chief academic officer for the CSU system, has served as interim president since McConnell left but did not apply for the permanent position. 

The new president will step in at a time when the university is rebuilding after navigating through the global pandemic. This fall, CSU welcomed its largest first-year class as it fully reopened for in-person learning and work. 

The search committee reviewed a list of candidates and interviewed three before turning the three over to the board for consideration. 

Parsons’ curriculum vitae and cover letter to her application for the presidency are available on the search website.

This article was first published by BizWest, an independent news organization, and is published under a license agreement. © 2022 BizWest Media LLC.

Source: BizWest

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