May 10, 2017

Familiar face, Venkat Reddy, named UCCS chancellor

Debbie Kelley
The Gazette

A familiar face again will lead the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, as with the last chancellor appointed 15 years ago.

Venkat Reddy, the interim chancellor since mid-February, got the job permanently, CU President Bruce Benson announced Monday.

Reddy is "a strong leader with deep experience, whose skills, background and abilities will serve UCCS well as it builds on the considerable momentum it has generated in recent years," Benson said in a news release.

Reddy said he looks forward to advancing UCCS' mission with the campus and community.

"Together, we will advance the frontiers of knowledge and foster the intellectual growth of generations of young men and women who will go on to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and empowered future leaders in our community and beyond," he said in a statement.

A search committee whittled nearly 80 applicants down to three finalists. The others were Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Havidán Rodríguez, founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Reddy began his UCCS career teaching finance classes in the College of Business.

After rising through the faculty, he became dean of the College of Business, a position he held for almost 13 years.

He also was the associate vice chancellor for online education and initiatives, responsible for on-campus, cross-campus and CU system-wide programs.

Reddy replaces Pam Shockley-Zalabak, who retired in February after serving UCCS for more than 40 years, the past 15 as chancellor.

Reddy will head the campus of about 12,000 students and 3,230 employees.

In an interview in March, Reddy said he will "continue the momentum she (Shockley-Zalabak) created and move the campus in a positive trajectory."

UCCS is the fastest-growing campus in the CU system, which also has schools in Denver and Boulder.

Reddy's Ph.D. in finance and undergraduate work in agriculture have helped him as interim chancellor work on several finance models for strategic planning, as well as next year's budget.

Large-scale projects in the works include the visual and performing arts center being built on North Nevada Avenue and planning for a sports medicine and performance center, with construction to start next year on the redeveloped North Nevada Avenue.

A national cybersecurity initiative in Colorado Springs is taking shape to create educational programs to fill jobs in the growing industry.

Reddy also is involved with advancing a partnership among UCCS, Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College and the Air Force Academy to keep graduates in town and contributing to the community.