We will all fondly remember the beard of Tony Frank (long may it reign among the legends of facial hair), but this week it was *officially* time for Colorado State University’s (CSU) new president to take the stage.

CSU inaugurated Joyce McConnell as its 15th president yesterday at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony took place at the University Center for the Arts in Griffin Concert Hall, where McConnell shouldered a proud, 150-year tradition while also becoming a trailblazer in her own right. As the first woman in CSU’s history to take the academic office, McConnell is a physical embodiment of the progress the university has made towards celebrating and embracing diversity, a role she has said she’s proud to fill.

William A. Cotton/CSU Photograph

In fact, diversity and inclusion are more than just a role for McConnell, but a goal that she has incorporated into her platform for office. As for whether or not she follows through, it seems McConnell is not one to mince words or actions: Back in her September Fall Address, McConnell announced a Race, Bias, and Equity Initiative in response to a blackface incident on campus involving four students. The initiative is meant to address the complex topics facing the university today, and according to a press release from CSU, the university has already begun to work on putting it into practice.

William A. Cotton/CSU Photograph

Before coming to CSU, McConnell spent 20 years at another land-grant school, West Virginia University (WVU). She first began her journey in 1995 as a faculty member of the College of Law, where she quickly took on a number of progressive leadership positions in addition to her teacher duties. Later on, McConnell was appointed Dean of the college in 2008, where she kicked off her role by fundraising $36 million to renovate and expand the school. During this period, McConnell also used her position to expand and grow her student’s interdisciplinary opportunities, as well as construct experiential and clinical program facilities. Her work was rewarded when she was named Provost of WVU in 2014, at which point she created the Idea Hub, a university-wide network meant to connect entrepreneurs and innovators in the university and community at large.

It seems that McConnell’s career will be one to watch as she works to guide CSU into a new decade. Until then, congratulations, President McConnell.