CSU names Joyce McConnell as finalist for 15th University president

Haley Candelario

Nearly seven months after Colorado State University President Tony Frank announced he would step down from his role, the CSU Board of Governors system announced Friday that they have selected Joyce McConnell as a finalist to become CSU’s 15th president, according to a statement from the University.

McConnell, currently the provost and vice president for academic affairs at West Virginia University, was selected after a five-month, nationwide search by the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. The next president of CSU will assume the role July 1.


“I am extremely grateful to be considered for the opportunity to lead Colorado State University and look forward to being a part of one of this nation’s premier flagship, land-grant, research universities.” Joyce McConnell, finalist for Colorado State University’s 15th president

“Joyce McConnell has an extraordinary track record in higher education leadership and a deep appreciation for Colorado State University’s mission and character,” said Rico Munn, chair of the CSU System Board of Governors, in CSU’s official statement. “She has shown a unique ability to lead with vision while bringing diverse groups alongside in a common drive for excellence. We are grateful to the Search Advisory Committee for its work and for the input from our CSU community that played a critical role in identifying Provost McConnell as finalist for consideration as the next president of CSU.” 

In a statement from the University, McConnell expressed her excitement to assume leadership of CSU.

“I am extremely grateful to be considered for the opportunity to lead Colorado State University and look forward to being a part of one of this nation’s premier flagship, land-grant, research universities,” McConnell said in the statement. “At a time when some are questioning the value of higher education, Colorado State provides the perfect response to those who would diminish that value. Grounded in the land-grant missions of education, research and outreach, Colorado State is helping to improve people’s lives in the state, nation and world. … I am excited to bring my passion for these missions to Fort Collins and help continue the thriving spirit that created this university and is still evident today.”

According to the University’s statement, McConnell has had extensive experience working in higher education at the administrative level, in addition to serving as provost and chief academic officer.

Joyce McConnell’s previous experience:

  • Overseeing university budgets
  • Establishing relationships with leaders at the state, national and international levels
  • Leading fundraising efforts and academic initiatives
  • Leading initiatives to improve gender equity and Title IX education and compliance
  • Focusing on raising faculty salaries
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion across the university


McConnell is the sole finalist for the position, CSU’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications Mike Hooker wrote in an email to The Collegian. The Board of Governors must wait 14 days after notifying McConnell before they may enter an official employment contract with her to comply with Colorado law.

Associated Students of CSU President Tristan Syron, who sat on the 16-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee, said he was excited with the results of the search.

“The search process yielded excellent results here, Joyce McConnell has a proven track record and is a rising star in higher education,” Syron wrote in an email to The Collegian. “It was an honor serving on the search committee and I’m excited to see the direction she takes our university. I have the upmost confidence in her ability to lead our institution as well as her commitment to students and the CSU community.”

Haley Candelario can be reached at editor@collegian.com or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.