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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    It’s official: Shelton inaugurated

    The Presidential Medal sits upon newly inaugurated president Robert Sheltons chest as he bows his head alongside Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. Shelton received the medal at the end of a two-hour ceremony to finalize his inauguration.
    The Presidential Medal sits upon newly inaugurated president Robert Shelton’s chest as he bows his head alongside Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. Shelton received the medal at the end of a two-hour ceremony to finalize his inauguration.

    President Robert Shelton said he is charting a new course for Arizona’s first university – a goal to become a top-10 public research facility, increase diversity and financial aid and attract world-class faculty.

    At 4:28 p.m. yesterday, beaming a smile from his red academic regalia, Robert Shelton was officially inaugurated the 19th president of the University of Arizona.

    With what his colleagues described as “”characteristic enthusiasm,”” Shelton outlined his bold plan for the UA to blaze the path into the future of intellectual entrepreneurship.

    Hands raised, framing him against the woodgrain podium and black expanse of Centennial Hall’s stage, Shelton said, “”Today we peer into the future to see what will be expected of the university. …in 10 to 20 years, only a handful of public research universities will be left.””

    Shelton said in order for the UA to come to the forefront of not only the state but the nation, the university must think globally and act globally.

    “”We will be a top-10 public research facility,”” Shelton said.

    A main goal of his administration will be to attract world-class faculty, a key component in providing a better-than-average education.

    Other states offer better compensation for faculty and provide more state-based financial aid for students, Shelton said. He asked for the state’s support to help provide these key elements.

    Gov. Janet Napolitano backed these aspirations and said that Arizona leaders like Shelton will be instrumental in “”building an infrastructure to thrust us, to propel us into the 21st century.””

    Arizona, the second-fastest-growing state in the nation, is on the brink of being pushed to the forefront of educational advancements in the United States, Napolitano said.

    She closed her speech by saying, “”To the people at the University of Arizona, I got your back.””

    Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Erin Hertzog, like the other speakers at the ceremony, said enthusiasm is one of Shelton’s trademarks and that she had observed him skipping out on food at dinner events to interact with students and faculty.

    “”It’s so important to him to meet all the 37,000 students here,”” Hertzog said.

    As a show of appreciation on behalf of the students, a box of eight dozen energy bars will be delivered to Shelton’s office on Monday, she said.

    Arizona Regent Fred Boyce said that the Presidential Search Committee screened more than 200 applicants before they decided on Shelton.

    Shelton’s academic achievements include serving as executive chancellor and provost of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for five years.

    Boyce said the Arizona Board of Regents chose Shelton because of his enthusiasm and commitment to improving diversity, skill in financial management and ideas about access and affordability.

    Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon thanked the UA for sharing two of its “”greatest treasures”” – the UA colleges of medicine and pharmacy – with his city.

    The ceremony was prefaced by a 30-minute academic procession that ended at Centennial Hall. The procession was symbolic of the UA’s advancements through time, said Provost George Davis, the ceremony moderator.

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