The University Of Colorado Names Todd Saliman As Interim President

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A statue of the University of Colorado Boulder mascot Ralphie in front of a temporary outdoor study area. Boulder, Tuesday, Sept 22, 2020.

The University of Colorado Board of Regents has named Todd Saliman, CU senior vice president and chief financial officer, as interim president to oversee its four campuses.

Tuesday's vote was unanimous, and Saliman received widespread praise from regents following his confirmation.

“You're an exceptional listener, the master of the budgets, a savant when it comes to handling the university's legislative affairs,” Democrat Regent Jack Kroll said. “We're very fortunate that you have committed to stepping up and taking on this role.”

Saliman will temporarily succeed Mark Kennedy, who was censured in April by the Boulder faculty assembly for a “failure of leadership with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Regents recently voted to let Kennedy vacate his post early, but the board said his departure wasn’t a resignation or termination. The former Republican Representative from Minnesota will step down on July 1 and collect a $1.3 million buyout of his remaining contract. 

“We'll continue to focus on what matters most,” Saliman told the regents. “Serving the students, serving our community, doing great research, serving Colorado.”

Saliman will continue filling his previous duties, which include managing the budget and overseeing the system’s government relations. He served in the Colorado Legislature from 1995 to 2002, as a Democrat Representative for Boulder. 

It is unclear how long Saliman’s tenure will last, though he said he wouldn’t strive for the permanent presidency. During the vote on Kennedy’s departure, Board Chair Glen Gallegos said they would move “deliberately and expediently” to choose a new president. 

A permanent successor to Saliman will be the first person appointed by a Democratic-majority Board of Regents in over 40 years. Kennedy was hired in 2019 along party lines when Republicans controlled the board. When he announced his intention to step down, Kennedy cited a “change in the board’s focus and philosophy.”

The four-campus University of Colorado system serves 66,000 students, employs 37,000 people, and has an operating budget of $4.1 billion.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the description of why Mark Kennedy was censured.