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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Shelton appointed UA’s 19th president

    In the middle of university business challenges, there was one extra task to overcome at the beginning of the school year: the selection of the next UA president.

    An appointed committee of 31 members, ranging from professors to regents to students, was assembled in early June and met for the first time in September.

    “”I don’t think there’s a single person that left that meeting without realizing the important task this committee has before it,”” said Ben Graff, a student regent and one of two students on the search committee.

    A consultation service was also hired to assist the committee to find the best possible person to succeed President Peter Likins. In October, Ann Hasselmo of Academic Search Consultation Service had made about 500 phone calls on the UA’s behalf to scour out potential candidates.

    “”We’ve asked the search consultation service to turn over every stone,”” said Regent Fred Boice, head of the search committee.

    Forums for faculty, students and administration were held in October so the community could voice opinions about what characteristics the new president should possess.

    Faculty and administration outlined the desire for a president who understands the problems that arise from the university’s lack of funding, such as the unsatisfactory faculty salaries and the lack of available classes for students.

    Regent Jack Jewett said other issues were building renewal and tuition, and a new president might not be able to fix everything.

    “”I don’t know if we will get a miracle worker,”” Jewett said.

    In late December, the search committee released demographics of the presidential pool: 82 percent were men and 18 percent were women. Students said they would have liked to see more diversity in the pool but weren’t surprised by the numbers.

    Alma Lucia, a senior majoring in Spanish at the time, said race and gender were not big issues concerning the selection of the new UA president, as long as the most qualified person was hired.

    “”I would prefer for it to be a minority, but I would rather have someone qualified,”” Lucia said.

    In January, four presidential finalists were announced: Tom Campbell, Deborah Freund, Yash Gupta and Robert Shelton. Candidates visited campus in late January to conduct grueling forums with students, faculty and administration.

    Graff said he was pleased with the outcome of the search thus far. “”I think we have a great sample of candidates coming to campus,”” Graff said.

    After less than a week of forums and promises from each candidate and almost five hours of closed deliberation in an executive session meeting, the board of regents made its decision Jan. 27.

    In a unanimous vote, the regents appointed Robert Shelton from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to succeed Likins.

    Regents, administrators and students agreed that Shelton was the best candidate for the job, as he was the only presidential candidate nominated by all representative groups on campus.

    Boice said he was “”delighted”” with the decision and said Shelton could build upon what Likins has brought to the UA.

    “”If we didn’t find these qualities in Shelton, we’d still be looking,”” Boice said.

    Likins said he would have accepted the regents’ decision no matter what, but their reasons for choosing Shelton were consistent with his views.

    “”Shelton is prepared by experience,”” Likins said.

    The 57-year-old Phoenix native said he was excited to be coming back to his home state.

    “”It feels like a homecoming,”” Shelton said. “”When my wife and I came out to visit, everything just felt familiar.””

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