Update: Board of Governors announces Amy Parsons as presidential finalist

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(Graphic Illustration by Malia Berry | The Collegian)

Mattison Brumagim

Allie Seibel, News Editor

The Colorado State University System Board of Governors has announced Amy Parsons as the sole finalist for the presidential position.

“Amy Parsons—CEO of a global e-commerce company based in Denver, longtime Colorado State University leader, and former executive vice chancellor for the CSU System—has been named as the finalist in the search for the 16th president of Colorado State University in Fort Collins,” said Chancellor Tony Frank in an news release.

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Parsons, a CSU alumna, graduated in 1995 with a Bachelors in Political Science. She worked with the Associated Students of Colorado State University while on campus, and is a parent of a current CSU student as well.

“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,” said Board of Governors Chair Kim Jordan in the news release provided by CSU System. “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.”

The 31 person presidential search committee underwent a national search for the position starting in July. Following listening sessions, community input and candidate interviews, the search committee forwarded three candidates to the Board of Governors for subsequent interviews, and the Board selected Parsons as the overall finalist.

“[Parsons] comes with an excellent skill set of experience and expertise across a broad spectrum of areas that our president needs to cover,” said Armando Valdez, Presidential Search Advisory Committee chair and CSU System Board of Governors vice chair. “Our selection of [Parsons] as a sole finalist demonstrates her ability to have that business acumen, experience in higher education, familiarity with our with our system and our campus and ability to have a passion to be able to lead and unify the university community going forward to really elevate Colorado State University to to a next iteration of evolution.”

The CSU System Board of Governors unanimously approved Parsons as the finalist in an executive session that took place during their Dec. 2 Board of Governors regular meeting at CSU Spur in Denver.

“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,” Jordan said in the news release. “All of this pushed her to the top of a very talented pool.”

Parsons’ other engagement on campus includes serving chair of the Canvas Stadium Advisory Committee, working to secure the initial funding for the Todos Santos Center in Mexico and creating the Spur campus in Denver, according to her CV that was published by CSU System following the announcement.

“I think that [Parsons]’s deep, deep familiarity with CSU, the CSU system and the campus as an alumna, the parent of a student and as a longtime employee of the organization means that she will start out right away with lot of institutional knowledge that will help her to be able to focus on the things that we all think are important,” Jordan said.

Parsons’ 16- year history with CSU includes senior executive leadership roles such as the role of executive vice chancellor of the CSU System, which she held from 2015-2020. In 2020, she became the founding CEO of an international e-commerce company, Mozzafiato LLC. She also served as vice president for university operations, and deputy general counsel and associate legal counsel for CSU Fort Collins.

“There is only one job that could entice me to leave my current role, and that’s this one,” Parsons said in the news release. “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.”

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Per Colorado state law, a notice and waiting period of 14 days must pass before the Board of Governors can commence an approval process including an employment agreement and announce a predicted start date.

The notice and waiting and period will end on Dec. 16.

“I think her enthusiasm, energy and understanding of the issues of higher ed were absolutely palpable in the interview,” Jordan said. “I think we all have a great deal of confidence that [Parsons] will be able to work closely with faculty on issues that matter to faculty and to students. I think people are going to be impressed with her energy and and very deep enthusiasm for the university and and all of its constituents.”

Parsons will succeed former President Joyce McConnell, who parted ways with the university in June. She will be the second female president of CSU, and the 16th president of the university.

“At its core, CSU is about access, excellence, and inclusion – and the dreams that education can make possible,” Parsons said in the news release. “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.”

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