September 2, 2022 | NEWS | By Leigh Walden | Photo courtesy of the CC website
This Monday marked a new era for Colorado College leadership as President L. Song Richardson was formally inaugurated. Richardson’s predecessor was Jill Tiefenthaler, current CEO of National Geographic Society. There was a short transition period between the two, during which now Senior Vice President of the college Mike Edmonds acted as interim Co-President along with Robert Moore.
Mike Edmonds, who announced his intended May 2023 retirement last spring, has filled many leadership positions during his tenure at CC. Edmonds has been at CC for over 30 years, and during that time has engaged with students on a variety of important issues and worked towards building a more inclusive campus. Edmonds also served as the first Black president in the history of the college.
Edmonds’ legacy will no doubt be reflected in his commitment to making CC a better institution. “The students have been great colleagues and collaborators in helping improve the student experience, residential life (East Campus), Anti-Racism, Study Abroad, CCE, Athletics, and Outdoor Education to name a few things,” said Edmonds in an interview with The Catalyst.
Having worn so many hats during his time at CC, singling out one aspect that he was most proud of wasn’t easy. Edmonds did say however, that “the lasting relationships with students through their years at CC and beyond mean so much to me.”
Edmonds also led the college through one of its most unprecedented periods, serving as co-president through the heart of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, the school began making difficult choices in regard to student life on campus. According to Edmonds, the hardest decision he had to make during his career at CC came when he was serving as acting co-president.
Health Officials required the quarantining of the residence halls. We all were learning and adapting to Covid. Asking people to return home after just getting here was very painful for the students and for me. That was tough and hard for so many. Our students and faculty were incredible in helping us get through that time.
Jacob Tow ’24 moved in and then was asked to move out during this time. “It was wild. I got there and didn’t really know anyone, which was funky, but I guess normal,” said Tow. “Then we were quarantined very quickly. Then halfway through quarantine we learned we were going home. It didn’t come as a surprise, but it was still not fun.”
The Edmonds fund was established in Edmonds’ honor by three trustees, Amy Louis, Phil Swan, and Susie Burgard. This fund will serve students from all backgrounds on their journeys at CC. As his time at CC comes to an end, Edmonds also reflects on what made his work so meaningful: “CC students have shaped my life in many, many ways.” Edmonds further explained how he has and continues to learn so much from the students around him. Supporting these students seems to be at the heart of most projects Edmonds was a part of in his time at CC.
When asked what’s next, Edmonds said, “In true liberal arts fashion, I am excited about what comes next without knowing what comes next.”