greg salsbury

Western Colorado University President Greg Salsbury at the May 7 board of trustees meeting, where his retirement was announced.

Staff Report

After Western Colorado University’s board of trustees decided to allow President Greg Salsbury to keep his job, he announced his retirement on May 7.

His last day will be June 29.

Salsbury came under scrutiny in January when he made comments about the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, which he compared to other protests that occurred across the country in 2020.

Salsbury wrote in a letter in January:

“Over the last year, rioting, burning, looting, and violence have emerged from protests across our country — resulting in seemingly endless confrontations, destruction of entire cities, properties, serious injuries, the public’s overall sense of security, and deaths.”

The university’s Faculty Senate took issue with the statement and passed a resolution calling for new leadership, noting that entire city’s weren’t burned down in 2020 protests and that students felt they weren’t being heard by Salsbury.

In his letter of resignation, Salsbury didn’t make comment about his previous letter or the Faculty Senate’s resolution. The board of trustees called the decision “mutual.” The board’s full written statement is below:

“May 7, 2021, the President and Board of Trustees of Western Colorado University mutually announce the retirement of President Gregory Salsbury, Ph.D.

During his seven-plus-year tenure, Dr. Salsbury helped secure the second largest private donation in Colorado public postsecondary history and established a partnership between Western and the University of Colorado: The Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering. Western’s core liberal arts programming has grown to include STEM offerings, bringing Western to the fore of Colorado universities as a STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics – institution.

In 2019, Dr. Salsbury lobbied for and attained legislation simplifying Western’s name to Western Colorado University. Most recently, Dr. Salsbury stewarded Western through the COVID-19 pandemic; and the University anticipates strong enrollment for the 2021/22 academic year. During his time here, Dr. Salsbury recrafted Western’s recruiting and marketing processes, oversaw the addition of the Outdoor Industry MBA program, and helped kick start Western’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The President’s last day will be June 29, the end of the State’s fiscal year, after which time Dr. Salsbury plans to spend more time with his family, in particular his first grandchild. The Board recognizes Dr. Salsbury’s service to Western and wishes him well.

To ensure that the announcement of his retirement does not overshadow the excitement of the students and their families participating in Commencement this weekend and in support of COVID-19 best practices to limit the number of participants on stage, Dr. Salsbury has delegated his Master of Ceremonies duties for May 8, to Vice President Bill Niemi.

The Board of Trustees will announce Western’s interim president as well as provide information about the University’s search for a new chief executive officer in the coming days.”

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