Heidi Ganahl and John Carson, current CU regents, spoke to an audience of more than 100 people, including Norwood Robb, CU regent-emeritus, and Dick Wadhams, former Colorado GOP chair. Photo by Freda Miklin
BY FREDA MIKLIN
Two of the five Republicans on the nine-member University of Colorado Board of Regents were the guest speakers at the May 1 meeting of the Arapahoe County Republican Breakfast Club (ACRBC) at Maggiano’s DTC.
Addressing the controversy around the candidacy of Mark Kennedy, sole finalist for CU president, Heidi Ganahl, elected in 2017 and one of two at-large regents, said, “It’s all about identity politics.” She described Kennedy as a good man with a great track record as an academic, elected official, and businessperson. District 6 Regent John Carson, a graduate of CU and its law school, described the decision to appoint a president as the most important one that regents make. Carson said that the CU presidency “is a totally non-partisan position.” He portrayed Kennedy as a “fully balanced candidate,” and went on to say, “He was very successful in business, serving as a CFO for several major corporations and was a 6-year congressman from Minnesota.” Carson listed Kennedy’s “extensive academic background: dean at George Washington University (Kennedy’s web site lists him as “director and professor at GWU), taught at Johns Hopkins University, was president of the University of North Dakota.”
Carson outlined the process by which Kennedy was selected as the sole finalist. He said, “The search committee included regents Ganahl (a Republican) and Griego (a Democrat) as well as faculty and community members. Six finalists were identified and the board of regents interviewed each of them for two hours before unanimously selecting Mark Kennedy as the sole finalist.”
John Andrews, former state senate president whose birthday it was (May 1), likened the strong challenge to Kennedy’s nomination to “1984” author George Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.” He said, “What’s Mark Kennedy’s real sin? He is a Republican. He’s a Catholic. He knows government is not God.”
Balancing out the discussion, Carson shared that the board of regents was instituting a 4-year tuition freeze for incoming freshmen and has instituted concurrent enrollment allowing Colorado high school juniors and seniors to take college classes for credit during their final years in high school. The program is available through all CU’s campuses around the state and includes classes on the Constitution and civics.
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