Linda Meserve: The Power Behind the Purchase

Big universities have a lot of moving parts, many of which are behind the scenes, and those involved are paid little attention is paid to those involved with them. One of those operations at Colorado State University is Procurement Services and one of its most exceptional leaders is Linda (Morgan) Meserve (B.S., ’86).

Linda Meserve headshot
Linda (Morgan) Meserve (B.S., ’86)

At the Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13, Linda is receiving the Jim and Nadine Henry Award, which is presented to alumni who exemplify extraordinary service and support to the University and its academic, athletic, and alumni programs.

That recognition is significant but only hints at the many contributions she has made to move the University forward and improved its operation in countless ways.

Blazing Trails

As a child growing up in Pueblo, Colorado, Linda struggled with swimming, but she enjoyed the challenges it presented and persevered. She wanted to attend CSU because it had a good swim program. She became a walk-on athlete on the swimming and diving teams and lettered in swimming all four years.

After graduating, Linda worked in southern California for a while but happily returned to the Front Range where she married her husband, Rick, in 1988 and was hired as an accounting technician at the University of Southern Colorado (which became CSU Pueblo in 2003). In 1991, she began what would become a distinguished, 31-year career in procurement, which acquires the things an academic community needs to function including scientific equipment, campuswide technology, athletic equipment, food for dining halls, and much, much more.

Linda transferred to the Fort Collins campus in 1998, where one of her first assignments was procuring computers and software to replace the hundreds of machines damaged by the Spring Creek Flood in July 1997. Despite joining a male-dominated office, she was the first woman to hold several positions, ultimately becoming the first female chief procurement officer in the University’s history.

Managing Millions

Throughout the following years, Linda was an integral part of high-profile solicitation and contracting processes including the Pouring Rights (a.k.a., the Coca-Cola contract) in 2011, which was a multi-million-dollar, 10-year strategic partnership, and at the time, was the largest solicited revenue agreement in CSU’s history. She also participated in the Front Range GigaPop initiative, which brought together a consortium of universities, government agencies, and other entities to establish statewide high-speed internet access. She also helped create CSU’s first Employee Assistance Program that provides a variety of services for faculty and staff.

“To be fair and equitable, I needed to work on behalf of all my constituents,” Linda said. “Over the years, one of the things I’ve prided myself on is being fair to campus customers but also fair to our vendors. We get more from them if we treat them well.”

Linda’s tremendous dedication to the University was on full display during the COVID-19 pandemic when she and her team worked tirelessly to acquire personal protective equipment and sanitization stations during a time of extreme shortages. Her tenacity ensured the important work of students, faculty, and researchers could continue.

Looking Back

During her career, she has authored or co-authored several publications related to procurement and volunteered with the Rocky Mountain Governmental Purchasing Association, which honored her with a Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Before she retired in April 2022, the status of chief procurement officer emerita was conferred on her.

Linda and Rick are longtime donors to the University, especially to CSU Athletics. Having benefited from Title IX as a student, Linda is passionate about their support of women’s sports and scholarships for student-athletes through the Rams Legacy of Champions program.

She is also a lifetime member of the Alumni Association. “Working at the University, I saw the energy that was going into the Alumni Association, and it made me feel more connected,” Linda said. “They are re-engaging alumni and engaging students who are still on campus, so a commitment to the University is built into their experience. I wanted to be a part of that.”

In honor of Homecoming and Family Weekend, Linda will ring the Old Main Bell at the Smith Alumni Center on Saturday, Oct. 15, prior to CSU’s football game against Utah State University.

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When you join the Colorado State University Alumni Association, you become part of something bigger – a global community of green and gold that keeps alumni connected to the University and each other. Life member Linda Meserve is making an impact on current and future Rams by supporting student athletics; providing funding for alumni programming, outreach, and engagement across the nation; and preserving time-honored traditions that bind us together as Rams. You can make a difference too, and gain access to benefits such as exclusive invites, bookstore savings, career services, and more. Become a member today!