Tony Frank 2018 Citizen of the West

Tony Frank 2018 Citizen of the West

August 31, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


(soft classical music) – We welcome you, we congratulate you, and we pledge our support to you as you undertake this job as president. – [Narrator] Almost without fail, a speech by Tony Frank will at some point channel the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. – Yeah, as long as I can remember, I mean, I’m the youngest, but he loves Lincoln. – Enmeshed in a cruel war
with a shattered economy, he placed a seemingly
hopeless, long shot bet and he placed it on education. I really don’t remember that speech but I remember that I spoke about Lincoln and I know that’s shocking to many of you. – I mean, I am not a genealogist but I wouldn’t be a bit
surprised if he isn’t somehow a distant relative
of Abraham Lincoln. Because the guy believes
land-grant values. – We’ve seen it and
inherited it from the people who built this university and it’s a trait that we
saw so strongly reflected in the man who created
land-grant universities with a stroke of his pen on July 2, 1862. – [Narrator] It was on that day, Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law, establishing land-grant universities. – They were created to
establish the American dream and make it available to everyone. And that’s the reason that I believe that the Land-Grant Act may have been the most important act
ever passed by congress. – That’s the lineage that you come from. A lineage that said it
doesn’t matter to us what your families did for a living, it doesn’t matter to us about your race, your religion, your creed. There’s a whole set of things about you that are all different, your ideas, that candidly don’t matter to us. What matters to us is
that you have the talent and the motivation to make
the most of your lives and to contribute to our
society in the process. That’s a– – When he talks about that, he makes that land-grant
mission relevant to everybody. – I never really fully understood what a land-grant university
was or what it meant. Not only did he help me understand but he helped me understand
why to be proud of that. – This isn’t about him, it’s about how can this
revered institution really serve the people
of this great state? – He’s found his place, he’s found his role and
that role is elevating the whole western way
of life to a new image, to a new meaning, to a new understanding, to a new commitment. – He represents for me all
of the essential attributes, character, and accomplishments that the Citizen of the West
award was created to honor. (soft music) – [Narrator] Tony grew up on
a farm in central Illinois. – [Woman] I have no
doubt that Tony’s passion for the mission of land-grant universities could be traced back to
his early experiences as a 4-H club member. – [Narrator] His dad was a farmer, his mom, a school teacher. – You wouldn’t care what
people thought about you if you realize how seldom they did. That was something his
dad passed down to him and what he’s passed down to us. – [Narrator] Tony went on to earn a veterinary medicine degree in pathology at the University of Illinois. – Instead of going into horse
and beef cattle practice, he went to Purdue and got a Ph.D. Kind of a turning point for Tony because he realized he had the tools, you might say, that would
be a good researcher and teacher and good
speaker and good writer. – [Narrator] After earning
his advanced degrees at two other land-grant universities, Tony made his way to Colorado State. He was taken under the wing of Jim Voss, dean of the veterinary medicine school. – He was smart and he
understood universities better than anybody I ever saw. – [Narrator] Voss would become
his most influential mentor. – He knew that Tony had the ability, he had the personality that Jim has and that’s what made them so close. And they both thought that of each other. – Jim understood the
value of a growing program such as the animal cancer center which I used to run. Together, they were the
most influential leaders I had during my almost 40 years at CSU. – And I think it was mostly
on the Voss’ mentorship that Tony really developed
and he became noticed by so many people within the university, including myself. – [Narrator] It wasn’t long
before Tony was making the walk up the oval to receive the mace as the 14th president of
Colorado State University. – I believe his entire training, from childhood through graduate school, through his professional career, was designed for him to be in this role. – [Narrator] In his
humble, polished style, Tony set out to tell the story of the land-grant mission. At an alumni event in Boulder, he shared plans for CSU to partner with the National Western. – If you were gonna ask
me one really big thing that I think can change
the face of the image of Colorado State University, I would say the redevelopment of the National Western
Center’s probably it. – [Narrator] It’s a way for Colorado State to expand its role in tackling
the complex challenges of the west. – In here, in Colorado, this
big issue will be water. By solving that big issue, that’ll have ramifications
for the university far beyond the state of Colorado. – [Narrator] It’s also
a way to empower people. There’s no better expression than the equine assisted therapy programs at the CSU Temple Grandin Equine Center located at the National Western in Denver. – The Temple Grandin riding center is an example of a land-grant university doing something out in the community that the community’s gonna
use and benefit from. – When they come out here and they can actually lead a horse and guide their wheelchair and tell the person who’s helping them out what they need them to do, suddenly they’re empowered. – [Temple Grandin] Hi, how you doing? – We could not have done
that without Tony Frank. – His ideas and his passion are infectious and Tony really has put this
university on his shoulders and made it better himself. – [Narrator] CSU has risen
in the national rankings and in its statewide
reputation while enjoying years of record philanthropy, research
funding, and enrollment. And instead of avoiding tough challenges, Tony’s faced them head on, tackling complex problems
like student mental health and equitable treatment of women faculty. – Pay equity is one example but it’s really just the
tip of the cultural iceberg that we’re trying to tackle right now and make real culture changes at CSU and a lot of leaders just shy
away from that kind of thing and Tony doesn’t do that. He’s there front and center. – And he’s the first
president I’ve ever seen that when anything like that
happens, something’s major, that he writes usually an
extremely lengthy email and he’s telling student X out there in an undergraduate class, “Hey, I’m thinking of
this, I’m caring about it, “I’m caring about you,”
and he signs it, “Tony.” – So many other issues
might throw in formalized Anthony Frank, doctor, and
all the letters after his name but he simply signs it, “Tony.” – You’re like, “Okay,
I can call him Tony.” He makes you feel like that even if you’ve never talked to him before. – If you’re in a culture
that’s always helping you grow and improve and develop as an individual, I think that’s a skill that you
can’t really put a price on, it’s ’cause you’re developing as a person. – With him putting his heart into it, that’s one of the things that
I enjoy about him the most, is that although he has
so many responsibilities, what matters most is people. – He listens really well and then if you’ve got something that you need a decision on, he doesn’t mess around giving the decision and why he’s making it. – He holds the values of not only CSU but the land-grant institutions at heart and paves just such a good path for the students and the faculty and everybody else involved. – My favorite place to
study is over there. – [Narrator] National Western
scholarship recipient, Ashley Baller, takes pride in
being the first in her family to go to college. – I think it’s cool for them to see how I am continuing to pursue one thing after the next after the next because at the end of the day
I wanna look back on my life and see that I made a true
impact in the western way of life and educated more people who
didn’t have any idea about it. – [Narrator] Like Ashley,
western values of honesty and hard work drive Tony forward. He navigates the world with an open heart, relying on the stroke of a pen from 1862 to steady his course. – And my personal favorite is
a section of a longer quote that I keep a copy of in my wallet. “I do the very best I can,
the very best I know how “and I mean to keep on
doing it until the end.” – I think it’s a classic
example of America of somebody that had the
ambition and thank goodness for the land-grant universities
provided the opportunity to get an education that we
could take our environment as children and progress
through our entire life. – And some jalapeno smoked sausage with just a hint of bison. Too much of that stuff wrecks everything. – [Narrator] He inspires
with an equal amount of humor and brilliance, characteristics held high in this part of the world. – Part of the reason why
people feel comfortable coming up to him and wanting
to take pictures and stuff is that he’s very open to it and, I mean, I think he
just doesn’t feel better than anyone else. – As compared to a lot of leaders, whether it’s education or otherwise, he’s pretty devoid of ego. – They didn’t teach you
this in vet school did they? (laughing) And he looked at me,
kind of odd, and he goes, “It’s common sense, you’ve
got to learn to treat people “the way you wanna be treated.” – [Woman] And I think when
you maintain that sense of okay, at heart, I’m just a farm kid, I was put here to try and do some good and I’m gonna do that. – But it’s his principles, his beliefs, his unwavering commitment to the state that truly make him a
proud citizen of the west. – In business, you say
a man’s word is his bond and Tony is exactly the same way. – He’s a visionary, he
knows what he has to do. He’s looking at the future and the future’s gonna be
difficult for education. – I was always so jealous when I was at the University of Colorado that Colorado State had this
beloved effect on people. That it was the people’s university. It’s an institution of great values and great purpose, and Tony is the tone that sets that from the top. – I tell everyone that it’s
a good time to be at CSU. – He’s a special person,
at a special place, at a special time. – He’s not a leader just for
Colorado State University, but he is a leader for
the state of Colorado and for the nation and that’s what Citizen of the West has to be. (gentle music)