Chancellor Don Elliman loses 'interim' from title

Regents vote to waive formal search; Benson makes appointment permanent
Chancellor Elliman

Chancellor Don Elliman

CU Denver l Anschutz Medical Campus Interim Chancellor Don Elliman’s title is a little shorter after the CU Board of Regents voted Wednesday to waive the chancellor search. The move paved the way for CU President Bruce D. Benson to remove the “interim” from Elliman’s title and appoint him chancellor.

The regents unanimously approved waiving the chancellor search and complimented Elliman on his work at the university the past year.

“You have added a great deal of wisdom and valuable insights to the university and I appreciate you dedicating your time and talent to the university,” Chair Michael Carrigan told Elliman. “And we’re glad we don’t have to spend as high as $100,000 on the search.”

Benson thanked the board for waiving the search, then immediately appointed Elliman as chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus.

Benson had conducted a series of campus forums earlier this month, speaking to nine governance groups and key campus constituents on the CU Denver downtown campus and Anschutz Medical Campus about making Elliman the permanent chancellor.

“There were no negative comments about Don Elliman,” Benson said.

Said Elliman, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity. It’s an honor to be associated with the University of Colorado and the CU campuses. I wake up in the morning excited about going to work. . . . I can’t think of another job I would rather have.”

Elliman was chosen interim chancellor last February after Interim Chancellor Jerry Wartgow announced his retirement. Elliman has filled such high-profile positions as the state's chief operating officer, director of the Office of Economic Development and executive director of the Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Additionally, he had a 30-year career in publishing with Time Inc. (serving as president of Sports Illustrated and publisher of People) and was president of Ascent Sports, then-owner of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Pepsi Center.

In other action on Wednesday, the first day of a two-day board meeting at UCCS:

  • The board voted to approve the establishment of a new Ph.D. degree in Comparative Ethnic Studies at CU-Boulder.The board voted 7-1 in favor; Regent Vice Chair Sue Sharkey, R-Windsor, voted no. Chair Michael Carrigan was not required to vote and abstained.“I want to be more convinced that a program we’re bringing forward specifically meets job demands,” Sharkey said before the vote.Sharkey and Regent James Geddes, R-Sedalia, had asked for the degree to be removed from the meeting’s consent agenda so that there could be discussion.“I support the concept, but I’m concerned about the balance of intellectual exchange in that department and others,” Geddes said before voting in favor of the new degree.“I express my concern in hopes the department chairman will look into this and provide us with a description of his department, and where his professors stand on issues, so we’ll get some understanding and flavor of whether or not balance exists.”

    The board also voted in favor of new master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in Materials Science and Engineering at CU-Boulder; they passed 8-0, with Carrigan again abstaining.

  • During the regular report from the Faculty Council, Chair Melinda Piket-May told the board that high acceptance rates for student applications is one reason faculty members fear top-tier students might be avoiding CU campuses.“Faculty are concerned about recruiting quality vs. quantity in terms of students,” Piket-May said.She pointed to an 87 percent admittance rate at CU-Boulder as evidence of a problem.Some board members, however, took exception with the generalization.“Our students aren’t smart enough? Is that really what you’re saying?” asked Regent Stephen Ludwig, D-Denver.Piket-May said faculty have the impression that “we’re accepting almost anyone who applies,” and that many students are not prepared for a college curriculum.

    “I find that a very bold statement, and I find it very troubling that you’re saying the overall quality of our students has decreased rapidly,” Ludwig said.

    CU-Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the university does admit a high percentage of students, but that they all meet the minimum requirements of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. He said CU-Boulder’s new Esteemed Scholars program is aimed at recruiting the top Colorado students who might otherwise leave the state for higher education.

    Regent Steve Bosley, R-Broomfield, said the Faculty Council should have approached CU chancellors with such concerns before raising the issue at a Board of Regents meeting.

    Regent James Geddes, R-Sedalia, said he wants to know more about the issue and determine “why this is happening.”

Jay Dedrick contributed to this report.