By Chelsea Reese
CSU-Pueblo’s search for a leader is in its final stretch, as the Presidential Search Advisory Committee announced the two finalists in the running for the university’s president position Thursday.
The two finalists are, Tim Hudson, special assistant to the Chancellor for International Programs and Initiatives for the University of Houston system, and W. David Watts, president of Academic and Student Affairs for Jacksonville State University.
Hudson and Watts were invited to visit campus during the next two weeks for the other portion of the interviewing process. Hudson’s visit will take place from April 17 to 19. Watts will visit the campus from April 26 to 28.
They will both have to meet with the search committee, CSU-Pueblo’s campus community, the community of Pueblo, Joe Blake, chancellor for CSU, and the Board of Governors, according to an email from Dorothy Horrell, chair of the search committee.
Hudson and Watts were chosen to be finalists by CSU-Pueblo’s PSAC because they stood out and, “because of their experience in working with first generation students and their keen sense of CSU-Pueblo’s future potential,” Horrell said in an email.
Hudson received his bachelor’s degree in history and Latin American studies from the University of Southern Mississippi-Hattiesburg. He went on to get his master’s degree in geography, also from USM-Hattiesburg, according to CSU-Pueblo’s website. Hudson finished his education at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., and received his doctorate in geography.
Watts attended the University of Texas-Austin, where he received his bachelor’s degree in sociology and English. He finished his education at the State University of New York-Buffalo, where he received his master and doctorate degrees in sociology, according to the website.
After the visits, the committee will forward their recommendation to the BOG, according to the email. The BOG will then conduct their May meeting at CSU-Pueblo and will publicly vote for a permanent president, May 3.
Julio Leon, CSU-Pueblo’s interim president, is confidant Hudson and Watts are both qualified for the job, especially because they both have presidential experience, he said. During his time here, Leon has been “preparing the ground” for Joe Garcia’s, lieutenant governor of Colorado and former president of the university, successor.
“That was my goal, to make sure the university continued to move forward,” Leon said. “As I leave, I will visit with the president elect and give him some information regarding my experience, and my opinions about some of the things that are underway.”
Leon does not know for sure when the new president elect will assume his role because it depends on the candidate and his former obligations, he said, but his best guess is that either Hudson or Watts will begin actively serving as CSU-Pueblo’s president July 1.
“I came here knowing full well that I was going to be here for a determinate period of time,” Leon said. “It’s been a great experience. My wife and I have truly enjoyed being here at CSU-Pueblo and in Pueblo itself.”