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Spirits were high for the University of Colorado system Board of Regents Wednesday after the first meeting of its summer retreat in Tabernash.

“It was terrific,” said Regent Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, after exiting the meeting around 7 p.m. “It was very upbeat, very optimistic.”

The first meeting was held in executive session at 4 p.m., delayed by the closure of Berthoud Pass, in a conference room at Devil’s Thumb Ranch with views of the mountains and resort land.

After opening the meeting, the regents immediately voted to enter executive session to discuss their working relationship President Mark Kennedy, who started the job July 1, and donor relations.

Sharkey called Kennedy a “fresh start” for the board and university, adding that the new leadership is “generating a lot of ideas, excitement and optimism.”

Regent Lesley Smith, D-at large, also said that everyone felt optimistic during the meeting.

Vice Chair Irene Griego, D-Lakewood, said they are “off to a good start,” and Regent Jack Kroll, D-Denver, said he’s looking forward to working with Kennedy and the others.

Kennedy said there was “great engagement and lots of good input” during the meeting with the board.

He’s looking forward to working closely with them on a strategic plan for the four-campus system, he said.

Regents and university leaders will resume the retreat at 8:15 a.m. Thursday.

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