CMU board announces selection for presidency

John Marshall

A man who’s worked in various roles at Colorado Mesa University has been selected for yet another: president.

The CMU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to enter into negotiations with John Marshall to serve as president.

Marshall will succeed Tim Foster, who expects to retire in June after 17 years overseeing the university.

“I have a deep sense of gratitude. I’m humbled. I’m excited to do the work,” Marshall stated in an announcement from CMU.

“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 said.

Marshall, a vice president at CMU, was among three finalists for the position along with Abel Chavez, a vice president at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, and Mirta Martin, president of Fairmount State University in Fairmount, W.Va.

Ray Anilionis, chairman of the board of trustees, hailed Marshall’s selection.

“John demonstrated during the interview process and during the on-campus stakeholder forums that his vision for CMU is one that will best guide the university forward to thrive in a changing and complex world.”

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

Suzanne Owens-Ott, a faculty trustee who served on the search committee, said Marshall demonstrated leadership and articulated a leadership vision. “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.”

In addition to his role as vice president at CMU, Marshall also led the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to bring students back to campus for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Marshall previously served as vice president for student services and director of development as well as a political science instructor.

Before joining CMU in 2007, he worked as an assistant director at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and policy advisor to former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens. Marshall also managed gubernatorial and congressional election campaigns.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from CMU and master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.

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