August 31 2009, 11:16 AM
Forget the controversy over how Joe Blake was hired behind the scenes as Colorado State University's new chancellor. Think instead of the job he held just prior to joining CSU, as CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. Now Blake and other university officials, including Fort Collins campus president Tony Frank (pictured), aim to raise $500 million over the next three years for scholarships, fellowships, and faculty endowments in what the school is calling The Campaign for Colorado State University. CSU appears to be the last NCAA Division 1 school to attempt a large capital campaign of this nature, according to the Denver Business Journal. Yet the move might still be considered bold given that most public colleges in the state are struggling with tight budgets and have raised their tuition rates. About half the money raised in the CSU campaign would go toward scholarships. The idea is to help students "maintain access to this incredible land-grant institution," Blake tells the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Officials had been raising money behind the scenes for years, and at the university's annual Green and Gold Gala on Saturday night, the school brought in $290 million in commitments. That includes a $30 million donation from 2005 for the College of Natural Resources from Ed Warner, a noted geologist and CSU alumnus.