Albert Bimper — who came to Colorado State University at 17 as a student athlete and grew into roles as a respected faculty member and administrator — is returning to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, where he spent his childhood.
In an announcement today, Bimper was named the new executive dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of North Texas. He starts in his new role on July 1.
Bimper served CSU as a professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies, senior associate athletic director for diversity and inclusion, executive director for the College of Liberal Arts, interim chief of staff in the Office of the President, and most recently, interim director of the School of Education in the College of Health and Human Sciences. Bimper was a four-year starter at center for the CSU Rams football team and made three bowl game appearances before going on to the National Football League to win a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007.
“CSU has been a place that raised me for so many years,” Bimper said. “I’ve seen it as a student, as an athlete, as faculty member and as an administrator. I left home to find a home, and that has prepared me to go back home. It’s been a privilege and honor to call CSU home, too. That is why this place is special to me.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science at CSU and following his NFL career, he picked up his master’s degree in health and kinesiology at Purdue University before earning a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. He joined the faculty at Kansas State University in 2012.
“Albert Bimper has been a wonderful colleague, a generous and influential teacher and mentor to many students and an innovative creator of academic programs while here at CSU,” said Interim Executive Vice President Rick Miranda, who asked Bimper to join the President’s Office staff while Miranda served as interim president. “I’m personally grateful to him for serving this year as chief of staff in the President’s Office, a role that he excelled in (as expected!). This new position at UNT is a perfect fit for him, and I know he’ll continue to do excellent work there – but we’ll miss him for sure here at CSU.”
In CSU’s College of Liberal Arts, Bimper’s impact was significant.
“It has been remarkable to see Albert’s professional growth and contributions to the College of Liberal Arts and CSU over the last several years,” said Ben Withers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Rising quickly from assistant professor to full professor, he created the new master’s program in sport management supported by an impressive relationship with the Rockies, while providing leadership in the college, Athletics and Student Affairs. We all wish him well as he continues his career trajectory.”
The road back to Fort Collins
Bimper with then CSU President Tony Frank (right) in 2015 accepting the NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association’s Award for Diversity.
An off-campus meeting with Blanche Hughes, CSU’s vice president for student affairs, brought him back to Fort Collins.
“I’ve been fortunate to be around some great leaders,” Bimper said. “Blanche was a big reason I came back and showed me how I could build on everything I learned as an undergrad here.”
While at CSU, Bimper helped build programs and partnerships. Part of Bimper’s research focus has been to explore how to further develop culturally relevant educational experiences for student athletes participating in intercollegiate athletics. He worked to build out diversity and inclusion programs in Athletics. He helped create the Sport Management Institute that now partners with the Colorado Rockies. And the cross-campus relationships he built became critical to his ability to support the CSU’s President’s Office under Interim President Rick Miranda.
Academic leadership was impressed on him as a student athlete under President Emeritus Albert Yates, who often spent time with student athletes.
“I remember seeing Dr. Yates on campus,” Bimper said. “His presence created a lot of curiosity for me as an undergrad.”
“I left home to find a home, and that has prepared me to go back home. It’s been a privilege and honor to call CSU home, too. That is why this place is special to me.”
— Albert Bimper
The late Mary Ontiveros, CSU’s first vice president for diversity and herself a CSU graduate who worked at her alma mater, had a habit of getting to meetings early. Bimper recognized this and strategized ways to show up early, too.
“I always liked my one-on-one conversations with Mary, and I appreciate those quiet moments with her a great deal,” he said.
Other campus leaders left their mark, too. Now-Chancellor Tony Frank helped teach him how to think through problems to find solutions. Colorado State’s director of athletics, Joe Parker, modeled many values of effective leadership that Bimper has embraced and aims to emulate as he soon takes the lead of the largest college at the University of North Texas.
“Dr. Bimper is a hyper-talented educator and leader,” Parker said. “He has been an incredibly valuable strategic thinker and community member at Colorado State University. UNT is fortunate to have him joining their campus. Albert’s experience, demeanor, acumen and integrity will be missed at CSU and will prove to be a key asset for the University of North Texas.”
Since January, Bimper has served as interim director of the School of Education.
“I am so grateful for Albert’s willingness to step in as interim director when we quickly needed someone for this role,” said Lise Youngblade, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “His background in education allowed him to quickly get up to speed, and his energy and leadership have been very helpful in continuing to move the school’s strategic planning efforts forward. He will be a tremendous dean, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with him.”
Faculty members Jeffrey Shears, Matt Hickey, Wendy DeYoung, Brian Butki and Gay Israel showed him the joy of teaching. If he had to pick one role that has been his favorite, it would be faculty member. And teaching in the same lecture halls where he studied as a student has been an enriching experience.
“I teach in the same rooms I used to sleep in – that’s pretty cool,” Bimper said, followed by his well-known laugh.
The first snow
Being from Texas, snow was new to Bimper in his first year as a student athlete. He was staying in Corbett Hall at the time when a big snowfall blanketed campus. His roommate was from Fort Worth.
“We woke up and pulled those big heavy curtains back and saw nothing but snow, so we both went back to bed. We figured that is what you did when it snowed. No practice, no class.”
The phone rang. It was Coach Sonny Lubick.
“Bimper, did you quit football?” the coach asked. He never missed a snowy practice again. Ironically, as chief of staff, he became an important voice in the early morning weather discussions to assess campus’ ability to function during a snowstorm.
Knowledge to go places
Back in the early 2000s, CSU had the slogan “knowledge to go places” that was everywhere, including emblazoned on the grassy end zone hill of the old Hughes Stadium.
“I played under that slogan every game. I’d always look up from the field and read it,” Bimper said. “Those words really fit the moment now. CSU has given me the opportunity and the experiences to gain a lot of knowledge that I get to take with me.”