University of Colorado President Hank Brown resigned today in a surprise announcement. The former Colorado senator and representative has been in the position for only about a year and half, after taking over for embattled President Elizabeth Hoffman in August 2005. Brown will officially step down Feb. 1. Just in time for a Senate run redux? From the Denver Post:
Brown, 66, did not say why he was leaving the post he held for two and a half years nor did he announce any future plans. Sources familiar with Brown said he felt he had accomplished all he set out to do at the state’s flagship university. He called it “a great privilege” to serve as the president of CU, which has a total of 52,000 students and 24,000 employees on four campuses and an annual budget of roughly $1.8 billion.
With his signature sense of humor, Brown said the only regret he had, the only personal goal he hadn’t accomplished at the school, was “the total demolition of the Engineering School building” which he described as looking similar to grain elevators. He said he was following author Rudyard Kipling’s advice never “to look too good or to act too wise.”
The regents said they were disappointed with Brown’s decision to leave but praised him as “the right man at the right time” for the school.
Brown, a former U.S. senator, was appointed the interim president of the state’s largest university in August, 2005. The Board of Regents made his position permanent on May 11, 2006, following a national search to replace former president Betsy Hoffman.
The popular, well-respected Brown was brought in after the school suffered several scandals, including incendiary comments made by Professor Ward Churchill and accusations of the school’s athletic department providing sex and alcohol to football recruits.
He immediately slashed $1 million from the system-wide operations by eliminating 11 administrative positions. He also prohibited the purchase of alcohol with state funds and streamlined the school’s accounting procedures after recommendations from internal audits had been ignored for more than five years.
Brown was vice-president of Monfort of Colorado, a livestock and meatpacking company, from 1969 to 1980. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1991 and in the U.S.Senate from 1991 to 1997. He was appointed president of the University of Northern Colorado in 1998, where he served until 2002. He served as president of the Daniels Fund from 2002 to 2005, when he was appointed interim president of CU.
Brown received a B.S. degree from CU in 1961 and a law degree from CU in 1969. As an undergraduate, Brown played on the varsity football and wrestling teams and was elected student body president. He and his wife, Nan, have three children.