This month, Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell steps into a new role consistent with both her long-standing personal commitment to conservation and with the foundational commitment to a thriving planet articulated in the Courageous Strategic Transformation of CSU. McConnell joins Jim Kelley, the founder and managing partner of the Colorado Impact Fund, as co-chair of the advisory committee to the Salazar Center for North American Conservation.
“As the Salazar Center seeks to solidify and expand the impact of our work in 2022, through our annual symposia, our engagement with policy-makers, and other initiatives, we are thrilled to have Joyce and Jim leading our Advisory Committee,” said Salazar Center Executive Director Beth Conover. “They are both passionate advocates for our environment who have, throughout their professional lives, provided leadership to make a positive impact in conservation.”
McConnell has worked to protect and sustain our natural environment throughout her legal, academic and administrative career. During her time at the College of Law at West Virginia University, McConnell was awarded the Special Places Award by West Virginia Land Trust (2010) and served as president of the Associations of American Law Schools section on natural resources and energy law. She also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy in West Virginia and chaired that board from 2016 until her move to CSU in 2019.
“I have always felt a tremendous sense of urgency about conservation work,” McConnell said. “It’s one of the reasons I was so excited to come to CSU, because this University has been doing really sustained, high-impact research and intervention work in conservation for years — long before it was cool, as I like to say. The Salazar Center truly exemplifies an action-oriented, inclusive approach to conservation. I’m very proud to work with Jim, the advisory committee, and Beth and her team to help the center achieve its strategic goals in the coming year. I am also proud to commit to similar ambitious, concrete sustainability goals as part of the CSU strategic transformation process.”
The Salazar Center was founded by Ken Salazar, the former U.S. secretary of the interior, U.S. senator and Colorado attorney general who now serves as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Salazar led the nation’s efforts on conservation, including the designation of 10 national parks and 10 national conservation and wildlife refuges, and the organization of more than 100 other conservation and preservation projects in the United States. Housed at CSU, the Salazar Center works across the state of Colorado and the nation to accelerate the pace and scale of equitable, innovative and durable solutions for nature and all people by connecting diverse leaders, communities and resources across the North American continent.