Martin to step down as CSU System chancellor

Mike Martin
Mike Martin

Colorado State University System Board of Governors announced today that they have accepted a proposal from Chancellor Mike Martin that he will step down from his position March 1 and transition to part-time status as chancellor emeritus and senior fellow.

New role

In his new role, Martin will continue to be based in Denver and will focus on issues related to the future of public higher education, collegiate athletics, agriculture, Native American programs and leveraging the mission of land-grant institutions. Specifics will be finalized with the board in consultation with the presidents of the system’s institutions – CSU, CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Global Campus.

“For both personal and professional reasons, it’s time for me to wind down my long career in higher education,” Martin said. “This arrangement will allow me to continue to serve the CSU System by focusing on issues that I care deeply about. I sincerely appreciate the board’s willingness to allow me to participate in shaping the future of the CSU System and its campuses on a significant but more limited basis.”

Long and distinguished career

Martin has had a long and distinguished career in higher education and was named chancellor of the CSU System in 2012. Before joining the CSU System, he was campus chancellor at Louisiana State University, and prior to that he was president of New Mexico State University. Over the last 40 years, he has served as an academic leader dedicated to the land-grant mission of teaching, research, and extension service.

“We’re tremendously grateful to Mike for his service to the CSU System,” said Dorothy Horrell, chair of the CSU System Board of Governors. “He has been a tireless advocate for each of the system’s three campuses and a strong voice for innovation and collaboration within Colorado higher education. We’re pleased that the CSU System and the state of Colorado will continue to benefit from his knowledge and experience.”


During Martin’s leadership tenure, the CSU System has, among other things:

  • Created a $1.5 million venture capital fund to spur innovation and collaboration within the CSU System;
  • Helped system institutions expand the number of programs and classes offered in the Denver market;
  • Built strong relationships and academic partnerships with higher education institutions throughout Colorado;
  • Positioned the CSU System favorably with the business community, state and national lawmakers and national higher education organizations.

The board is finalizing its plan for filling the chancellor role and will announce details before Martin steps down on March 1.

Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Award

In 2007, Martin received the Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Award, named after the author of the bill creating land-grant universities, which honors outstanding service on behalf of the land-grant mission. Only six individuals have been designated to receive this award since it was first given in 1980.

A native of Crosby, Minn., Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in business and economics and a master’s degree in economics at Mankato State College (Minnesota State University) in Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in applied economics from the University of Minnesota in 1977. His areas of specialization are prices, international trade, public policy, transportation and business logistics.

The CSU System

The Board of Governors of the CSU System has nine voting members, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the State Senate, and six non-voting members who are faculty and student representatives from CSU, CSU-Pueblo and the CSU-Global Campus. The board provides oversight to ensure effective management, accountability and leadership at all the CSU System universities. More information: