Our Leadership: President Greg Salsbury, Ph.D.

Western Colorado University follows the model of shared governance, which includes the Board of Trustees, administration and faculty in decision-making and university strategy. The three branches of Western Colorado University’s leadership, along with community members, guide the university’s Strategic Plan.


Greg Salsbury, Ph.D., is president of Western Colorado University. Dr. Salsbury earned his doctorate from the University of Southern California (USC) and received a master’s degree from both the University of Illinois and USC’s Annenberg School for Communications. In his first four years as President, Dr. Salsbury increased enrollment at a rate faster than any other four-year institution in the state. In 2018, he helped usher in the largest donation in Western Colorado University history and one of the largest in state history—an $80 million contribution for the new Paul M. Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering. Prior to joining Western Colorado University, Dr. Salsbury was Executive Vice President at Jackson National Life Insurance for 15-plus years and oversaw: The Bank and Wirehouse divisions; Marketing; Recruiting and Professional Development; Corporate Communications; and Retirement and Wealth Strategies. He was also a member of the board of directors of National Planning Holdings, an independent broker dealer, and of Curian Capital.  He has been an instructor at numerous universities including USC, UCLA, California State University in Fullerton, Saint Mary’s College in Moraga and Santa Barbara City College in California.

Faculty Senate Chair

Bradford Burton, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Geology and the Rady Chair in Petroleum Geology. He received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Wyoming, a master’s degree from Idaho State University and a B.S. from Montana State University. Dr. Burton came to Western Colorado University in 2015 after more than 20 years of professional practice in global energy exploration where he held positions ranging from Field Geologist to Vice President. Dr. Burton applies his real-world experience in classes and research projects, working with students at Western Colorado University on problems in energy research, structural geology and applied geophysics. A Marine Corps veteran, Dr. Burton enjoys working with groups in the Gunnison Valley and through the Elks Club in support of veterans and underserved groups. An avid outdoorsman, he is advisor to the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers student club, and spends his free time in the Colorado backcountry with his wife, Mayte, and golden retrievers Amber and Buddy.  

Board of Trustees Chair

Chris Blees graduated from Western Colorado University with a B.A. in Accounting and Recreation & Outdoor Education in 1994. Blees currently serves as President and CEO of BiggsKofford Certified Public Accountants and BiggsKofford Capital Investment Bank, both located in Colorado Springs. In 2003, he expanded the firm and launched an M&A and investment banking practice, now operating as BiggsKofford Capital. Blees serves on the Board of Advisors for the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors, acts as Treasurer for the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance (Chamber), sits on the board of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Chancellor’s Leadership Council and is co-founder of High Altitude Angel Investors Club. He is a member of the Association of Corporate Growth, Colorado Association of Business Intermediaries, AICPA and the Colorado Society of CPAs. Blees said that the one-on-one attention students receive at Western Colorado University and its emphasis on hands-on learning set Western Colorado University apart.