GREELEY—Former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown accepted the presidency of the University of Northern Colorado on Monday and vowed to make the former teacher’s college a center for education theory and research.
”We need to help the state evaluate what does and doesn’t work in teacher education,” Brown, 57, said at a morning press conference
The UNC Board of Trustees met behind closed doors earlier Monday and emerged with the announcement that Brown will start July 1, with a $ 137,500 annual salary.
On Oct. 16, the trustees announced Brown was the only candidate they were considering to replace interim president Howard Skinner, 67.
Some students and faculty members opposed the process, and rallied for an open, nationwide search.
They pointed to Brown’s record as a fiscal conservative in Congress and the Senate, fearing he would slash programs at the university.
”They made the move without consulting us. That shows an extreme lack of respect for students,” said Stephanie Campanella, a senior speech communications major.
But senior Jack Higgins predicted Brown will be a boon to recruitment and retention and do great things for UNC. ”The board and Hank Brown really extended themselves to let students know” about Brown and why he was their choice for president, he said.
Professors from the Performing and Visual Arts College voiced concerns about Brown’s commitment to the arts. Skinner, former dean of that college, did little to encourage or discourage their protests.
Brown, who voted against endowments for the humanities as a senator, said Monday he’s not about to turn down federal grants to UNC. ”Our hope is to put whatever money available to good use.”
Some minority students said his voting rec-ord against affirmative action wasn’t a good match for UNC, which actively recruits Hispanics to get more bilingual teachers into the public schools.
Monday, Brown said he is committed to giving ”young people of a disadvantaged background” the opportunity for a university education. He likes the summer academic programs at Notre Dame and West Point for high school students who need extra help to gain admission to the school.
Trustees said the chance to land Brown was unique, an opportunity to bring prestige and name-recognition to UNC.
”Having a president the caliber of Hank Brown will allow UNC to take its place as one of the premier universities in Colorado,” said Board Chairman Gary Reiff.
UNC finance professor Junius Peake praised the choice.
”It’s the best thing to happen to UNC in 25 years,” Peake said. ”His character, his leadership, vision, integrity, – he has everything a university president should have.”
Regarding Brown’s lack of experience in the academic world, Peake said: ”Perhaps 100 years ago, it was important to have the most highly educated person as your university president. Now, it takes balance, including the skills of a chief executive officer to run this $ 100 million institution.”
Brown earned a master’s degree in law in 1986. In 1988, he passed the exam to become a certified public accountant.
Brown had indicated his interest in the job but said he didn’t want to compete against others for it.
He currently is co-director, with former Gov. Richard Lamm, of the Univerity of Denver’s Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues.
Brown was elected to Congress from Colorado’s 4th District in 1980 and re- elected four times. He served one term in the U.S. Senate, declining to run again in 1996. INFOBOX PRESIDENTIAL PAY
Salaries for presidents and chancellors at Colorado’s four-year colleges and
* Adams State College: $ 112,252.
* Colorado School of Mines: $ 187,500.
* Colorado State University: $ 185,000.
* Fort Lewis College: $ 125,132.
* Mesa State College: $ 113,500.
* Metropolitan State: $ 137,918.
* University of Colorado: $ 200,000.
* University of Colorado, Boulder*: $ 175,000.
* University of Colorado, Colorado Springs*: $ 136,968.
* University of Colorado, Denver*: $ 151,217.
* University of Colorado, Health Sciences*: $ 329,827.
* University of Northern Colorado: $ 137,500.
* University of Southern Colorado: $ 120,000.
* Western State College: $ 105,145. *Campus Chancellors, CU system Source: Colorado Commission on Higher Education