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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Alumni reflect, share hopes for the next UA president

Tom Price
UA President Ann Weaver Hart in her office inside Old Main on Wednesday, April 27. Hart recently announced she will not be asking the Arizona Board of Regents to extend her contract in 2018.

As the next presidential search falls upon the UA, alumni reflect on their experiences with past UA presidents and share their hopes for whomever earns the prestigious title next.

Former Daily Wildcat editor-in-chief Luke Money now reports for the Los Angeles Times’ Daily Pilot newspaper. He graduated in 2012 from the UA with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

During his time at the Daily Wildcat, Money covered former UA president Robert Neal Shelton’s departure from office, Eugene Sander’s inauguration as the interim president for summer of 2011 and the inauguration of current UA president Ann Weaver Hart.

“It was quite a tumultuous period,” Money said. “The Shelton resignation was kind of a surprise.”

Money said to cover these presidential changes, he talked to student leaders including the ASUA president of the time, the Arizona Board of Regents and, of course, Shelton himself.

The regents asked Sander to serve as interim president around the same time he was looking to retire so they would have time for an extensive presidential search process, according to Money.

Money said both Sander and Shelton had positive relationships with and a “mutual respect” for student reporters and the independent journalistic work the Daily Wildcat purvey.

“As an alumnus, I want what’s best for the university,” Money said. “I want somebody who’s really going to integrate him or herself into the university, into the culture of UA and of Tucson as a whole.”

Money said he thinks the UA needs more consistency and stability when looking ahead to the next 

presidential search.

“If you’re constantly changing the captain of the ship, it’s hard to keep the ship on course,” Money said. 

Nicole Santa Cruz, a former Daily Wildcat editor-in-chief and journalism student who graduated in 2009, covered the hiring of Shelton into office. Santa Cruz now writes for the Los Angeles Times.

“I found the relationship between student journalists and Peter Likins to be especially transparent,” Santa Cruz said.

Santa Cruz said she hopes to see a person who will meet the needs of the under served and underrepresented student population as the next 

UA president.

Andy Leggat, a class of 1997  UA alumnus, said he first questioned Hart’s decision to serve on the DeVry Education Group’s board based off his personal experience with University Technical Institute.

Legatt, who majored in accounting, started his career at Bar-S Foods Company in Phoenix before working for the technical education trade school. 

Leggat said he hopes the future UA president will reconsider if the university is applying the smartest spending habits and improve them if and where they are needed.

Piri Lanes graduated in May of 2015 from the UA with a degree in global and intercultural understanding. She said she wants the new president to consider adding classes to major curriculums that teach students “how to actually function 

as adults.” 

She said she wishes she would have learned how to do taxes while in college and would have acquired a “basic understanding of the working world.”

Former UA president Peter Likins agrees. 

“It’s very, very difficult to be truly successful in just a few years—it takes time,” Likins said. “I hope that the search committee will be able to find somebody who is extremely well qualified and so pleased to be at Arizona that the person will stay for the better part of a decade.”

Likins said that aside from the Legislature retracting its support for higher education during his presidency, his experience at the UA was “wonderfully positive.”

“The UA is my kind of place,” Likins said. “It’s that combination of intellectual excellence and also reaching out to help students who may be struggling along the way that I most treasure in 

the UA.”

Follow Jessica Suriano on Twitter.

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