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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Presidential candidate Hart shares passion for education

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Ann Weaver Hart, prospective President for the University of Arizona, is welcomed to UA’s Gallagher Theater to answer questions from students, Tucsonans, and UA staff and faculty on Monday, Feb 13.

Current UA Presidential Candidate Ann Weaver Hart stepped on the UA campus for the first time on Monday to discuss her passion for higher education with the general public.

Hart was accompanied by a panel of nine others, including Interim President Eugene Sander, Arizona Board of Regents President Tom Anderes and a number of regents, at the event in Gallagher Theater. All who were there greeted Hart’s visit to the university in the “Campus Welcome” event.

The presentation itself began with praises to Sander from former United States Senator and Regent Dennis DeConcini for his time as president over the past eight months.

“We had to have someone who could run this great university, who would be a great president,” DeConcini said. “Gene Sander has filled that bill.”

DeConcini recapped the board’s efforts in their search for a new president, saying that the regents considered 80 potential candidates. Nearly all of the candidates had previous experience working within American universities, and almost 30 nominees were women, DeConcini said. 48 of the potential candidates were presidents of universities and several were provosts or deans.

Regent Rick Myers gave Hart’s introduction, where he outlined much of her accomplishments during her time as president of Temple University in Philadelphia. There, Hart increased the university’s endowment by more than $80 million, improved the freshman retention rate and the time to graduation for Temple students, grew research expenditures and improved technology transfer outreach, Myers said.

After her introduction, Hart gave a brief summary of her interest in pursuing a career in higher education, saying that her interest in academics stemmed from an appreciation for the human ability to learn.

“I have always loved education, and I loved learning and have been so impressed by the tremendous knowledge that is present in the
human race,” Hart said. “Universities are the place where that knowledge comes together.”

Hart also said she plans to work closely with Arizona representatives to build a strong relationship between the state’s legislature and the UA, saying that she made those same efforts as president of Temple.

“It’s critical that you have local relationships with those incredibly important people who are going to decide issues of critical importance in your institution,” Hart added.

Following her speech, Hart answered questions from several people within the UA community, including graduate students and alumni. Questions ranged from raising the university’s world standing to improving coexistence between the arts, academics and athletics.

“It actually does take a working bureaucracy to also make this happen,” Hart said. “But it’s more a commitment of the group as a whole to the accomplishments that are used to measure those rankings so that we take pride in the accomplishment of the goals, not just in the rankings themselves.”

In a press conference following her meeting with the public, Hart said that academic medicine has been the greatest struggle during her time at Temple, and will continue to be her greatest struggle if she becomes president of the UA.

“I think there are a lot of issues that we face as universities and higher education institutions,” she said. “But in the current turmoil of practicing medicine … focusing on healthcare while compensating hospitals is the perfect storm, and it’s one we have to confront across the United States.”

The board of regents will vote on the decision to elect Hart as the next UA president during their meeting in Tempe, Ariz., on Friday. If elected, Hart will be the first female president in the UA’s history.

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