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EDITORIAL: New UCCS chancellor Venkat Reddy a perfect choice

By: The Gazette editorial board
May 9, 2017 Updated: May 9, 2017 at 7:42 am
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photo - Venkat Reddy.
Venkat Reddy. 

Congratulations to Venkat Reddy, who was named as the new permanent chancellor of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs on Monday by CU President Bruce Benson.

Reddy has a proven record of success, having served UCCS for 25 years since beginning as an instructor in 1991. He quickly advanced as an assistant professor, associate professor and full professor of finance and later dean of the College of Business. Benson appointed him interim chancellor after then-Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak announced her retirement in December.

Reddy earned his bachelor's degree from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.

"Dr. Reddy has the experience, skills and vision to build on the strong foundation in place on campus and to advance the institution to the next level. His deep knowledge of the campus and community, and the respect he has earned from both, will make him an ideal leader for UCCS," Benson wrote in his announcement of the appointment.

Reddy's appointment was met with enthusiasm throughout Colorado Springs and the rest of the state, because he has spent considerable time working with people outside the university to make UCCS an asset for all.

"He is thoughtful, decisive, open and collaborative," Benson wrote. "He knows how far the campus has come, but he also knows it cannot be content with recent successes. UCCS is poised to become an even greater part of the educational landscape in Colorado and beyond, and Dr. Reddy is the person who can lead us there. I have had conversations with him about this imperative and I am confident he is the right person for the job."

Because UCCS is a booming campus, viewed throughout academe as a model to emulate, Reddy faced extraordinary competition for the job. Among the envious field of finalists was Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, who recently announced her retirement as superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy. When Benson says he faced a "difficult decision," he's not being polite.

Reddy rose to the top, we suspect, because of his instrumental role in helping Shockley-Zalabak transform UCCS from a sleepy satellite school to a bustling campus that ranks among the fastest-growing in the country.

Since 2001, under the watch of Reddy and other ranking members of UCCS executive leadership, enrollment increased by 75 percent. The campus added a branch of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, while expanding the colleges of Applied Science, Business, Letters Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Education and more.

The university's growth has led to more than $300 million in recent new construction of classroom buildings and dorms.

Reddy takes the helm during challenging times for higher education. The rate of state funding has diminished. Throughout the country, militant activists among faculty and student populations are threatening academic freedom and freedom of speech. Instructors of all ranks too often confuse political indoctrination with education. We trust Reddy to defend students and faculty of all backgrounds and beliefs in the free, peaceful and constructive exchange of ideas.

Comprehensive success at UCCS is enhancing the local economy and the community's image as a important college town that hosts three major four-year post-secondary institutions.

The selection of chancellor has ramification for all of Colorado Springs, and we are delighted in the decision Benson made. We have every confidence Venkat Reddy will continue his university's success, and it's partnership with the community it calls home.

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