Armando Valdez named sole finalist for CSU Pueblo presidency
SLV native and former ASU leader
DENVER — The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System on Thursday named Armando Valdez as the sole finalist for the CSU Pueblo presidency. A longtime academic and emeritus professor of Adams State University, Valdez is currently 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 Timothy Mottet, who announced his intention earlier this year to resign on Dec. 31, 2023. At the end of that current term, the Board and Valdez will assess how and whether to move forward. This designation comes after a national search in which the Board ultimately was unable to move forward with a finalist. When it became clear that the search process was not going to yield a candidate in whom the Board had full confidence, Valdez – who has served as the chair of the Board of Governors since June and a member since 2018 – formally resigned his seat on the Board to interview for the position.
In its decision, the Board cited Valdez’s deep roots in Southern Colorado, passion for CSU Pueblo and its mission, and strong knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the University gained through his leadership on the Board, said John Fischer, the new chair of the CSU System Board of Governors.
“Anyone who knows Armando knows how passionate he is about the transformative potential of higher education – especially for First Generation and Hispanic students,” Fischer said. “Anyone who knows him knows how committed he is to the success of Southern Colorado and CSU Pueblo. And so anyone who knows him would likely not be surprised to hear that during these reflections, Armando reached the decision to resign from the Board of Governors so that he could be interviewed and considered by the Board for the role of CSU Pueblo president.”
The Board embarked on a national search in August, with the 14-member Search Advisory Committee bringing forward three candidates, all of whom were interviewed by the Board. When the search did not identify a viable candidate, Valdez elected to resign from the Board to be considered for the role. Following his resignation from the Board, the Board interviewed Mr. Valdez in a manner identical to the interviews of the initial slate of candidates.
“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,” CSU System Chancellor Tony 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.”
In accordance with Colorado law, there is a mandatory 14-day notice and waiting period following the announcement of a finalist before the Board of Governors can enter into an employment agreement. In mid-December, the Board of Governors will meet to consider the formal appointment of Valdez as the President of CSU Pueblo.
Valdez is an emeritus professor of business at Adams State University, where he served for 15 years as an assistant professor of management in the School of Business. There, he created and served as the director of the Health Care Administration program and was integral in development of the agribusiness program. Valdez also previously served as a dean, department chair, program director, and faculty member at Front Range Community College.
During his long tenure at Adams State, he received the Presidential Teacher Award in 2010; the Student Engagement in Teaching Award in 2008 and 2015; and the Excellence in Advisement Award in 2013.
He is a two-time graduate of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, with a bachelor’s in Business Administration and an MBA. He completed the coursework for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education and Human Resource Studies at CSU Fort Collins but has not yet completed his dissertation.
In addition to his role as USDA Rural Development director for Colorado and running his family farm, Valdez has been a member of the Conejos County Land Use Planning Commission, chair of the Conejos County Board of Adjustments, chair of the St. Joseph Parish Finance Committee, Board president for the Guadalupe Parish Credit Union, a member of the 12th Judicial District nominating commission, and member of the Noxious Weed District for Conejos County.
A native of the San Luis Valley, Valdez is a 16th-generation American who can trace his roots back to northern New Mexico in the early 1600s. His family first arrived in southern Conejos County in the 1860s.
Valdez was appointed to the Board of Governors of the CSU System in 2018 by Governor Jared Polis and served as vice chair before becoming Board chair in June.
Valdez responded to the designation: “I am tremendously excited about this unique opportunity. During my time on the Board of Governors, I have always admired the hard work, dedication, and commitment of the faculty, staff, and administrators of CSU Pueblo. Now, I get the opportunity to serve students and the community as part of their team. I have a deep appreciation for the culture and community influences that support the economic and lifestyle base of Pueblo, the upper-Arkansas Valley, the lower-Arkansas Valley, and the San Luis Valley. I am grateful to the Board of Governors of the CSU System for their confidence in my abilities to serve in this role. I look forward to the continued positive impact we can make in southern Colorado and beyond!”