Colorado St Addazio Football

Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell makes a point during an announcement that Steve Addazio has been hired as the new head football coach at Colorado State at a news conference at the school Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Fort Collins, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Colorado State University and its president, Joyce McConnell, have agreed to “part ways,” a joint message sent to students, faculty and staff on Thursday said.

McConnell’s last day will be June 30, according to the terms of a separation agreement, under which she will get more than $1.5 million, The Coloradoan reported.

McConnell made history two years ago when she was brought on by CSU’s Board of Governors as the university's first woman president. As base salary, she received $550,000. 

McConnell  came to Fort Collins from West Virginia University, where she held the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs. 

Colorado State University bringing agriculture, veterinary education to downtown Denver

“The Board thanks President McConnell for her efforts leading the university, particularly during challenging and unprecedented times. The Board wishes President McConnell all the best in her future endeavors,” the joint statement said. 

McConnell navigated CSU through tough times, including the pandemic and a controversy that started at the beginning of the 2020 fall semester, when she put a temporary stop to the football program over reports of racial insensitivity and a scandal over coaches encouraging players not to report COVID symptoms.

The football team was cleared by an independent law firm of any wrongdoing, but problems between McConnell and the athletic department continued when she fired head football coach Mike Addazio after a dismal two-season, 4-12 record.

Colorado State football: 5 potential candidates to replace Steve Addazio

Her tenure also included an incident in which she did not punish four students who were caught in a social media photo wearing blackface accompanied by the message "Wakanda forevaa," a reference to the Black Panther movie. She instead apologized for the incident. At about the same time, a swastika was spray-painted on campus. In response, McConnell started a Race, Bias and Equity Initiative at the school.  

Colorado State football: Rams hiring Jay Norvell away from Nevada

McConnell is leaving CSU before she can see the fruition of her Courageous Strategic Transformation Plan, which she created to bring national recognition to the university for its research.

In an email she sent around to colleagues Thursday morning, McConnell wrote that leading CSU “is the highest accomplishment of my career in higher education."

Sign Up For Free: Denver AM Update

Your morning rundown of the latest news from overnight and the stories to follow throughout the day.

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.