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Provost will not seek office of CSU-Pueblo president

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CSU-Pueblo Provost Russ Meyer said he will not seek the office of the president, if Joe Garcia wins the Nov. 2 election for lieutenant governor, although he might reconsider if the CSU Board of Governors urge him to do it.

“I might consider it if there was a ground swell of people who insisted that I do so,” Meyer said. “However, most of that swell would have to come from the board. And I don’t think the board is going to do that. Even then, I doubt if I would accept it.

Provost Russ Meyer Photo courtesy of the CSU-Pueblo Website

“President Garcia deals with public relations and fundraising issues, whereas I deal with students, faculty and issues that affect the operation of the university. I too, am involved with public relations and fundraising activities. However, if I had to spend all of my time in these activities, I would not be a happy camper. This is the job I really like.”

Garcia took a temporary leave of absence to campaign as running mate for John Hickenlooper, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Denver Mayor. If Garcia loses the election, he will return to office on Nov. 3. Tony Frank, who is president of CSU-Fort Collins, is also serving as interim president here.

“President Garcia will be great as lieutenant governor and anything else that he does, no question about it,” Meyer said. “However, I’d sure like to have him back, and I have told him that.”

Under Garcia’s leadership, CSU-Pueblo has become Colorado’s fastest-growing university, Meyer said. Enrollment, which has increased each year over the past four years, is up 2.5 percent since the university split with Pueblo Community College more than 30 years ago, he said.

Affordability and quality are chiefly responsible for this hike, Meyer said, because students know that CSU-Pueblo offers a quality education at a reasonable price. Because of this, he said, the university attracts more out-of-state transfer and high school students, and applications continue to pour in.

The provost said he expects enrollment to reach about 6,000 students by 2012.

“President Garcia was the inspiration this campus needed,” said Meyer who served as interim president before Garcia was hired in Sept. 2006. “He is the best president I have ever worked for, and I really hate to see him go.

  “People are recruiting me (to serve as president), but I don’t think I will do it. My focus for the last 43 years has been on academic issues, how curriculum works and what is best for students. If I am president, I would lose some of that focus and probably try to micromanage.”