Skip to main content
The official hub for news and stories from Colorado Mesa University
Board of Trustees Complete National Search for the Next President of Colorado Mesa University

Following a comprehensive and competitive nationwide search, which attracted the interest of applicants from across the country, involved numerous stakeholders, including members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, students, campus staff and community leaders, the Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees entered into negotiations on April 29 with John Marshall to serve as the next president of CMU.

“The Board of Trustees arrived at a unanimous decision after considering broad stakeholder input and carefully deliberating,” said Ray Anilionis, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We are pleased to announce the Board of Trustees has entered into negotiations with current CMU Vice President John Marshall to serve as the next President of CMU. The board understands fully the importance of this decision, and are grateful to faculty, students, staff and the community for engaging in this robust national search process. John demonstrated during the interview process, and during the on-campus stakeholder forums, that his vision for CMU is the one that will best guide the university forward to thrive in a changing and complex world.”

During their deliberations the board aligned around values of good governance, developing a strategic plan, engaging in ongoing institutional and presidential performance evaluations, and supporting professional development activities to ensure Marshall will advance university growth.

“Both higher education and CMU are at a crossroads,” said Alison Griffin, CMU Trustee and search committee member. “Today, students are increasingly diverse, the value of a postsecondary education is in question and our economy requires a commitment to lifelong learning. The board’s unanimous support for John Marshall reflects our confidence in his ability to place CMU in the center of this conversation.”

The national search for a new president began after the retirement announcement of current president Tim Foster. Following Foster’s announcement, the Board of Trustees established a search committee comprised of nine people including faculty, staff, students, trustees and a representative from the Montrose Campus. The committee crafted a position prospectus that was advertised nationwide in higher education journals, association publications and higher education media outlets. The position was also posted in local and regional news publications.

“On March 16 and 17 the presidential search committee hosted a number of community input sessions to inform our priorities as a committee,” said Tremaine Jackson, staff representative and head football coach. “These sessions were important in helping us shape the questions and topic categories that would inform the process and the qualities of the future president.”

Suzanne Owens-Ott, the CMU Faculty Trustee who served on the search committee shared, “Marshall demonstrated leadership qualities and articulated a leadership vision that resonated with committee members and trustees. I look forward to engaging him from day one on behalf of faculty and will begin the conversation immediately about how faculty can engage the administration and expand the collaborative nature of our relationship.”

The leadership qualities of each finalist were showcased in live, public sessions on campus the week of April 26. The live sessions were available remotely through Zoom and also in-person in the University Center Meyer Ballroom. Faculty, staff, students, community members and former trustees all participated in the open sessions with the finalists. Each listening session was followed by a question and answer session and a post-event survey.

Marshall brings nearly two decades of higher education experience to the presidency having served CMU as the director of development and the vice president for student services. More recently, Marshall was appointed to serve as the COVID-19 response and planning principal where he led the institution’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which gained national attention for the innovations developed and utilized by the campus.

“I have a deep sense of gratitude. I’m humbled. I’m excited to do the work,” said Marshall. “I am grateful to the faculty of CMU for their expertise and service and look forward to continuing to work together with them in this new role. I thank our students and staff who have given so much, along with the faculty, this year. I see you and I’m going to honor your commitment to CMU by working tirelessly on your behalf. I’m thankful to the CMU Board of Trustees for their confidence in my leadership and vision for the future. I have a deep sense of reverence for the institution and am excited for the opportunity to get started and continue to do my part to ensure CMU continues to thrive into the future.”

Marshall’s tenure at CMU has been one of expanding opportunities for student who are first in their families to attend college and/or from traditionally underrepresented minority groups. During the last two decades, CMU has increased enrollment while adding a litany of academic programs, which are aligned with the needs of the region.

Marshall also identified a long-term commitment to the institution sharing that both his professional career and his personal life are rooted in the campus community.

“I have devoted the vast majority of my professional life to CMU. It is where my life and heart are and will remain for the foreseeable future.”


Written by Staff