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Armando Valdez Named 16th President of CSU Pueblo

Release Date: December 15, 2023

Gena Alfonso

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President Armando Valdez

The Colorado State University System Board of Governors today unanimously confirmed Armando Valdez as the 16th president of Colorado State University Pueblo – the CSU System’s regionally serving campus located in Pueblo – effective Feb. 1, 2024.

“On behalf of the Board of Governors, I want to express our great confidence in Armando Valdez as the next president of CSU Pueblo,” said Board of Governors Chair John Fischer. “He brings exceptional energy, experience, and commitment to the role, and he is uniquely qualified to lead the University forward and capitalize on its growing momentum.”

The board held a special meeting of the Board of Governors on Dec. 15, following a state mandated 14-day waiting period for naming a finalist. With his confirmation, the Board of Governors can now enter into an employment agreement with Valdez. The board named Gail Mackin, provost and executive vice president of Academic Affairs, as acting president during the one-month gap between Valdez’s start date and outgoing President Timothy Mottet’s final day on Dec. 31.

Valdez expressed appreciation to the university community, noting the strong leadership team in place and the importance of the university to local, regional, and statewide communities.

“Colorado State University Pueblo delivers quality education, cultural engagement, and economic development to a region that I am so passionate about serving. The faculty and staff at CSU Pueblo are a tremendously talented team. I am honored by the privilege of serving as their next president with the opportunity to continue to grow and develop innovative paths for students, Pueblo, and the entire Southern Colorado community,” Valdez said.

He shared his excitement, as well as his commitment to understanding the current landscape of CSU Pueblo and engaging stakeholders across the campus and the community in the future of the university. 

“As I transition into the role of president, I intend to explore the diverse activities happening at the university and within the community. I am excited to listen. I am excited to learn. This approach will benefit my ability to empower the work that makes the greatest impact. This transition is not solely about me. This is a collective effort to achieve the success that benefits all stakeholders who have a long-term interest in the university,” Valdez said. “I am eager to get started!”

The Board of Governors on Nov. 30 named Valdez as the sole finalist for the CSU Pueblo presidency. A longtime academic and emeritus professor at Adams State University, Valdez served as the state director for USDA-Rural Development in Colorado and operates Valdez Land & Livestock, LLC, his family farm and ranch operation near Capulin, Colo.

Valdez will finish out the 2.5 years remaining on the term of outgoing President Mottet, who announced his intention earlier this year to resign after a six-year tenure. At the end of that 2.5-year term, the Board and Valdez will assess how and whether to move forward.

Tony Frank, chancellor of the CSU System, reaffirmed the strength of Valdez as a leader and the importance of his connection to the region.

“In Armando, we have a solid leader who knows this campus and community really well and is 100 percent invested in the future of Southern Colorado,” Frank said. “Above all, we heard from the Pueblo campus that they don’t want to lose momentum or continuity during the presidential transition, and Armando will be able to step in on Day 1 with the knowledge and experience to keep the campus on track and moving forward.”

Additional resources

Valdez’s CV is available here.

Background and FAQ on Valdez and the search is available here.  

Sole finalist announcement, linked here.

Q&A with Armando Valdez, linked here.

About CSU Pueblo
Colorado State University Pueblo is a comprehensive state university with an enrollment of nearly 4,000 students. With 34 percent of its students Hispanic, it is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), and a military friendly university. The university is dedicated to interdisciplinary learning and entrepreneurship that elevates its people and community, creates educational opportunities, fosters unique collaborations, and supports inclusion, access, and affordability as a gateway to the world. 

About the CSU System

The CSU System also includes CSU Pueblo, a regionally focused, federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution; CSU Global, the nation’s first fully online public university; and CSU Spur, a non-degree-granting public campus at the National Western Center in Denver.

Responses to Armando Valdez’s Confirmation as CSU Pueblo President

Long-time colleagues and community leaders responded to the selection of Armando Valdez as the next president of Colorado State University Pueblo.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis

“I want to congratulate Armando on this exciting new chapter. CSU Pueblo will continue to be an engine of opportunity and growth for Southern Colorado.” 

Colorado State Senator Cleave Simpson

"I have worked with Armando over the years in a variety of settings, from higher education to rural community challenges and opportunities, to water security issues in the San Luis Valley. I have great admiration for his very thoughtful and respectful approach and engagement in all of these environments. His ability to seek out and process information necessary to make very impactful decisions is commendable, and always with humility and genuine compassion for folks impacted by his decisions."

Mikayla Lerch, Regional Admissions Counselor for CSU Pueblo, former president of the CSU Pueblo student body, and member of the presidential search committee

“I am thrilled to know that Armando Valdez will be the next President of Colorado State University Pueblo. Over the course of nearly three years, I have had the privilege of working with Armando in various capacities at the university. As both a student representative and now an employee of the university, I have seen Armando's passion for CSU Pueblo and the students it serves. Armando is an incredible advocate for our Hispanic and first-generation students as well as a pioneer in higher education initiatives for rural and Southern Colorado. I am so excited to see him bring his dynamic leadership to CSU Pueblo and our community. I know the future of our university is in great hands.”

Tony Romero, Retired Director of Educational Programs, Colorado Department of Corrections

“I have known Armando for the past 30 years through the K-12, community college, and four-year college systems. Throughout his tenure, he has always placed students, community, and family first. Armando has always made a significant contribution and difference in the workplace. He will excel as the president of CSU Pueblo.”

Amy Parsons, President, CSU Fort Collins

“Armando is a wonderful and service-minded colleague whose work and leadership on the CSU Board of Governors has been outstanding. CSU Pueblo will benefit from Armando’s longtime experience as an accomplished educator and administrator, community leader, civil servant, and businessman. He understands the value of higher education and is completely dedicated to expanding access to opportunity.”

Becky Takeda-Tinker, President, CSU Global

“Armando’s combined passion for the Southern Colorado area and its residents, the benefits of higher education, and service to the underserved, paired with his rural and longtime Colorado roots, will continue to provide CSU Pueblo and the CSU System with strong leadership as we all adapt to our new post-COVID state and world. I look forward to working with him in his new role and am excited about the possibilities as we collaborate on fulfilling our collective land grant mission.”

Yusri Zaro, Assistant Professor of Banking & Finance, School of Business, Adams State University

“Armando is a great coworker and teacher. He is also an incredible mentor and a true friend. I thank him for being a shining light in my life, always inspiring me to be the best version of myself. His dedication, hard work, and passion for teaching and learning are truly appreciated.”

Melanie Geary, Director of Office Operations/Board of Governors Liaison, CSU System

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Armando in his role as a member of the Board of Governors and as Board chair, and I’ve found that he’s always so respectful and appreciative of what you do and how you support him. As accomplished as he is, he doesn’t talk down to people – he’s very approachable and down to earth. And, of course, he’s never met a stranger!”

Maria Gallegos-Herrera, USDA Rural Development – State Director for California

"Armando's exemplary leadership and dedicated service have significantly enhanced Colorado's economy and quality of life, empowering rural residents to access resources effectively for community development. With confidence, I anticipate his continued impact in his new role, where his visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to equity are poised to elevate educational opportunities for all students."

Patricia Dominguez, USDA Rural Development – State Director for New Mexico

“I really enjoyed working with Armando; he is committed in everything he does, which makes him a great leader. He cared deeply about serving the rural communities of Colorado and will leave a lasting impression for years to come. I want to say congratulations on a job well done.”

Connie Ricci, Human Resources Director, Guadalupe Parish Credit Union Board of Directors

“I have had the pleasure of working with Armando Valdez on a Credit Union Board of Directors. Armando always brought great vision and foresight to the Credit Union. As the president of the board, Armando provided constant leadership and always strived to keep up with the current financial regulations while maintaining the goals and focus of the CU. His knowledge of economics and financial trends aided us in being a premier local financial institution.  Over the years I gained a great deal of knowledge and mentorship from him. I have greatly valued his input and guidance over the years and couldn't be happier for CSU Pueblo to have him as their new president.”

Aaron Abeyta, former Adams State University professor and director of the Justice & Heritage Academy

“Armando Valdez is a tireless advocate for community, families, and the power of education to uplift, sustain, and liberate. Colorado State University Pueblo has in their midst a leader of the highest caliber, sincere, intelligent, virtuous, and powerful. Armando will be an inspiration to your campus community, Pueblo, and all who have the pleasure to work with him.

Ty Coleman, Mayor of Alamosa; Chief Operating Officer, San Luis Valley, Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation

"I’m excited for Armando Valdez and his future as the CSU Pueblo Campus President! Both professionally and as a former student in Armando’s business class at ASU, I’ve been fortunate to witness Armando’s professional leadership efforts both at local and statewide levels. He leads by example and has the unique ability to bring people together to work collectively as a team. Armando is a wonderful communicator and connects with people from all walks of life. He has a desire for students to not only earn their degree, but also succeed in their chosen career path. Armando is passionate and sincerely cares about the students, facility, staff, and the community! He consistently shows people that they are valued and appreciated. The CSU Pueblo University has a prized asset in Armando. He is a visionary with the professional skills to implement sustainable strategies that will help with enrollment, unite staff, and enhance student engagement."

Timothy Mottet, President Emeritus, CSU Pueblo

“Armando is the right leader for CSU Pueblo. He knows many of the members of the campus community, our strategic goals, and how we are working to meet the needs of our students. In addition to understanding our campus, Armando understands Pueblo and Southern Colorado. He sees and feels our challenges and opportunities. Armando stands ready to partner with the community in the development of a vibrant and inclusive economic development plan that will transform Pueblo. He sees the need to create a market for professional and technical workers that will retain more of the students who graduate from the University. Armando wants the graduates of CSU Pueblo to power the economy of Pueblo and Southern Colorado; an economy that lifts all people of the community.”

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