February 23, 2023


As many of you know, we have a lot of openings to fill in our CSU leadership team. We are preparing to launch a national search for a permanent provost and executive vice president and already have searches under way for the Vice President for Human Resources and Vice President for University Advancement. With Alan Rudolph’s recent announcement that he plans to retire later this year, we will soon be kicking off a search for a VP for Research. I have chosen to eliminate the Vice President for Strategy position, which is currently vacant.

My preference is to conduct searches for key positions, and I’m grateful to everyone in our community who is helping to serve on and contribute to these search processes. Given the number of positions we have open, I am also delighted to report that I have been able to make three direct appointments that will add depth of experience and diversity onto my senior leadership team. All three of these hires are seasoned leaders with strong ties to our campus, and they will be able to hit the ground running over the next few months:

  • Rico Munn, superintendent of Aurora Public Schools since 2013, will join the Office of the President as my chief of staff, starting July 1. Rico has a pretty extraordinary track record in state leadership. In addition to leading one of Colorado’s largest and most diverse urban school districts (and earning recognition as Superintendent of the Year in 2019), he was previously the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and also of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. He served on the Board of Governors of the CSU System from 2013-2020, including two years as chair, and on the Colorado Board of Education from 2003-2007. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Midland University, his alma mater, and he also holds a JD from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a graduate certificate in crisis management from St. Joseph’s University.

Rico and I have worked together for many years and I have enormous trust in his judgment and experience. He brings a deep understanding of state policy and Colorado education at all levels that will be invaluable as we seek to strengthen our commitment to educational access and equity. He also has considerable experience leading large teams of people in a complex organization, and that managerial strength will help us keep all of our University priorities and goals on track.

The chief of staff oversees operations, budgets, and staffing for the Office of the President, serves as my representative in key meetings and discussions when I can’t attend, and also leads special projects for the University. Professor Albert Bimper has done a great job in the interim role since last summer, and he’s agreed to take on another critical interim leadership assignment as interim director of our School of Education. Thank you, Albert!

  • Kyle Henley, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the University of Southern California, will become the University’s vice president for marketing and communications as of May 1. Prior to joining USC, Kyle was vice president for university communications at the University of Oregon, and before that he was a senior member of Colorado State’s communications team – first as director of Denver PR from 2011-2014 and then as assistant vice president for strategic communications from 2014-2015. He came to CSU after serving as corporate communications manager for CoBank, one of the largest private banks providing financial services to support agribusiness, rural infrastructure, and Farm Credit customers in the US. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and Harvard’s Kennedy School Executive Education Program in Crisis Leadership in Higher Education.

Having successfully led communications at two of the country’s most high-profile research institutions, Kyle is at the top of the list when research universities go looking for a MarComm VP these days – but his heart is here at CSU. In addition to his national leadership in this arena, he has sustained an exceptional network here in Colorado that will allow him to move seamlessly into the VP role. He knows our campus, our mission, and our values, and he’s the right person to lead our efforts to build reputation and awareness of the exciting work happening here.

I also want to take this opportunity to offer a huge “thank you” to Professor Greg Luft, who stepped in to lead the MarComm team (even while upholding his teaching commitments) and has brought stable and thoughtful leadership to the division during a time of significant transition.

  • June Greist, who has been communications director for the Bohemian Foundation since 2014, will return to CSU as my director of presidential and administrative communications, effective March 6. She previously held leadership roles in CSU’s Marketing and Communications Division from 1997-2005.

June attended the University of Colorado as a President’s Leadership Scholar and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wellesley College. She has deep roots at CSU and in the Fort Collins community and has worked closely with people and departments across our campus for 25 years, beginning when she was on staff, then as a consultant, and then through her role at the Bohemian Foundation. Most recently, she partnered with our team to announce Bohemian’s remarkable gift in honor of the anniversary of Title IX. Those who work with June have great respect for her knowledge, her calm, and her thoughtful approach to complex issues – which, combined with her passion for education, expertise as a communications strategist, and deep commitment to access and equity – make her a great fit for this role. I’m so happy we’re getting her back on campus.

This position has been open since Ann Claycomb moved over to the College of Liberal Arts, but I want to thank our CSU System colleagues Anthony Lane and Cara Neth for assisting the office this past semester, as well as our MarComm team and Pam Jackson in the Provost’s Office who have all provided invaluable support. Communicating consistently and effectively with campus is one of my highest priorities, and June will help us deliver on that commitment.

I hope you will join me in welcoming June, Rico, and Kyle to CSU.

In addition to these three hires, I’ve also arranged with Interim Vice President for Engagement and Extension Kathay Rennels and Interim Director of Operations for Engagement and Extension CJ Mucklow to continue in those roles into the next fiscal year, until a search for a new VP is concluded. That is expected to happen in spring 2024. Thanks to CJ and Kathay for their willingness to stay on and their great leadership during this time.

That’s it for now – I will continue to provide updates as our search processes move forward and ask that all of you weigh in as your time allows to ensure all voices are represented as we rebuild our leadership team. Have a great day!


President Amy Parsons

Colorado State University