CSU leaders name Amy Parsons as sole finalist to be president

Colorado State University leaders have selected Amy Parsons, the chief of a Denver-based e-commerce company, as their sole finalist to become the school’s 16th president.

CSU’s Board of Governors announced their decision Friday afternoon. They said a 31-member team conducted a nationwide search including ample in-person interviews.

Since 2020, Parsons has run the company Mozzafiato LLC, which sells Italian luxury brands imported to the United States. Previously, for 16 years, Parsons served in executive roles at CSU in Fort Collins – as legal counsel from 2004-2009; as vice president for university operations from 2009-2015; and as executive vice chancellor from 2015-2020.

Born in Colorado, she grew up in Wyoming. Parsons attended CSU, graduating in 1995 with a political science degree. She attended the University of Colorado law school, earning a law degree in 1999.

If CSU officials finalize her as president later this year, she’ll fill the position that former CSU president Joyce McConnell left in June. McConnell had served since July 2019 as CSU’s 15th president, the first woman to hold that job. Under her leadership, CSU, a land-grant state university, drew more than $400 million in research funding.

CSU’s chief academic officer Rick Miranda has served since July as interim president on the understanding he would not apply for the permanent position.

CSU officials, after waiting for a required two weeks, were planning to begin negotiations with Parsons on the terms of her service.

“We want a unifying, inspiring leader,” search team leader and vice-chairman of CSU’s governing board Armando Valdez said.

In a September letter to search team members, Parsons referred to challenges facing CSU including potential enrollment declines, student mental health issues, academic freedom, the imperatives of keeping tuition affordable, and “important conversations around social justice, equity, race, identity, and inclusivity, including our responsibility to the Indigenous people of Colorado and the West.” Meeting these challenges, Parsons wrote, would require attention to “CSU’s ability to remain competitive in recruiting and retaining talented faculty and staff.”

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