By William J. Dagendesh
People who can serve as interim president for an institution of higher learning are provided through a registry of retired college and university presidents, said Julio Leon, interim president of CSU-Pueblo.
The registry makes available to colleges and universities people who can step in and serve an institution needing a temporary leader while a presidential search is conducted, Leon said. Leon was named interim president last November following the resignation of Joe Garcia who went on to serve as lieutenant governor of Colorado.
Leon served as president of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Mo. for 25 years before retiring in 2007.
“Every once in awhile we get a call from the registry saying a position is available, would you be interested,” Leon said. “As members of the organization, we’re willing to undertake these interim positions and use our experience to assist colleges and universities.”
There is a “tremendous demand” for interim presidents, Leon said, because presidents resign, retire or accept jobs at other universities more than what people realize. Leon hoped to be selected to serve as interim president of CSU-Pueblo, he said, because the university has a reputation for education excellence.
CSU-Pueblo has a high level of morale, and Leon wants to help maintain and improve on that morale during his time here, he said. He also wants to do whatever he can to help the university move forward in its mission to provide students with a quality, affordable education, he said.
“The chancellor (Joe Blake) has requested that I do everything I can to maintain momentum, and I will stay here for as long as I am needed,” Leon said.