Frank creates scholarship fund to benefit students in President’s Leadership Program

In one of his last acts as president of Colorado State University, Tony Frank has created a new scholarship to benefit undergraduate students in the President’s Leadership Program.

Frank, who becomes full-time chancellor of the CSU System on July 1, created the Tony Frank Presidential Leadership Scholarship with a planned gift to the CSU Foundation, and his colleagues are inviting others to contribute to the fund in Frank’s honor. To donate to the new scholarship, visit

“Many people have asked me how they can honor Tony’s leadership at CSU, and really, this is the best opportunity,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda. “This scholarship, and others he’s created, will carry on his personal commitment to our students and their success.”

Tony Frank with PLP members

Frank with members of the President’s Leadership Program

About the program

Established in 1989 as a one-year program, the President’s Leadership Program has grown into a three-year, 14-credit leadership development experience for undergraduate students. PLP’s mission is to develop active, informed civic leaders who practice ethical, inclusive leadership and embody positive humanitarian characteristics such as optimism, service to others, passion, mindfulness and fairness.

“We’re going into our 30th year this fall, and the program has seen its most growth during President Frank’s time as president,” said Stephanie “Mo” Moreira, who runs the President’s Leadership Program. “He’s made my job easy, because he’s been a really good example of the type of leader we want our students to be.”

Tony Frank
Photo by Mary Neiberg

In addition to traditional classroom learning, students participate in retreats, service projects and internships that allow them to apply their knowledge and training. Each year of the President’s Leadership Program is an independent learning experience, and students may choose to participate in one or more years of the program. If students decide to participate in all three years of PLP, they are eligible to earn an Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies minor.

‘Broadened my perspective’

“College, by itself, can broaden the worldview of students, but for me, PLP broadened my perspective exponentially,” said PLP alumnus Chris Coble (B.A., ’95), president of the Denver-based brokerage and consulting firm Black Label. “As a black student who arrived at CSU from primarily white neighborhoods and schools, I carried a few tacit and self-destructive thought patterns and coping strategies developed over many years. PLP was one of only a handful of experiences in my life that challenged my tacit coping strategies and opened my mind and heart to a larger universe, a more inclusive and confident existence.”

He added that the lessons learned in PLP have endured.

“PLP presented to me an opportunity to fully own my experiences and gave me a solid start on the path toward releasing a victim mentality,” Coble said. “Today, as a small business owner, family man and world traveler, I continue to hold dear the power of my experience in PLP.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes, whose daughters participated in the PLP, shared the story of another alum who grew up on a farm before coming to CSU and participating in the program.

“PLP really challenged him to think about things he’d never thought about, and opened up a whole new world,” she said. “He was so grateful to be involved in something that really helped him grow. The future recipients of this scholarship will benefit greatly from President Frank’s generosity.”

Frank with members of the PLP

Selection process

Recipients will be chosen by a committee appointed by Hughes. According to the gift agreement, recipients must:

  • be a full-time undergraduate student
  • be a participant in the President’s Leadership Program
  • demonstrate leadership values and a skill set in leadership excellence
  • participate in community service
  • maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.

The PLP accepts about half of the approximately 400 students who apply each year, according to Moreira, who serves as assistant director of curricular leadership in the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office. She said that among other topics, the program helps students recognize power systems and dynamics, detecting things like sexism and racism, so that they can make the best and most inclusive decisions possible as they play leadership roles in their careers. Participants start by looking at themselves, and how they learned what they have learned in their lives so far, followed by coursework about collective impact, community values and sacrifices made for the good of others.

Frank and members of his administration meet with the students in the PLP regularly.

“It’s been awesome and fun to have a person like Tony Frank involved in the program, because he thinks through these ethical dilemmas and problems the way we want our student leaders to think through them,” Moreira said. “It’s been amazing for our students to be able to bounce ideas off him.”