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UA President Robert Shelton will resign to take Fiesta Bowl position

Ginny Polin / Arizona Daily Wildcat


On monday President Shelton gets Interviewed in his  office about the financial  state of the university.    He also talk about having to raise tuition for out of state and in state students.
Ginny Polin
Ginny Polin / Arizona Daily Wildcat On monday President Shelton gets Interviewed in his office about the financial state of the university. He also talk about having to raise tuition for out of state and in state students.

Robert Shelton’s five-year tenure as UA president is drawing to a close after Shelton agreed to take a position as executive director of the Fiesta Bowl.

His hiring was announced during a press conference on Tuesday at the Fiesta Bowl headquarters in Scottsdale.

“”This is an opportunity to take over the leadership of a highly visible and important economic enterprise in our state,”” Shelton wrote in a statement.

Shelton will take over the much-maligned bowl, one of the top four bowls in the Bowl Championship Series. The former executive director, John Junker, was fired in March after an investigation showed widespread instances of corruption and misspending. Shelton is currently a member of the presidential oversight committee for the BCS.

Shelton reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth $455,000 per year, plus incentives that could take is contract up to around $620,000, according to the Fiesta Bowl. Shelton had a base salary of $470,000 last year, with total benefits reaching a value of more than $610,000, according to reports.

“”I have been enormously impressed with the commitment of the Fiesta Bowl board, and believe that I am joining the organization at a time when we can make big strides in expanding the impact of their important work,”” Shelton wrote.

Shelton lauded the accomplishments achieved during his tenure as the 19th president of the UA, namely continued growth in the UA’s research endowment and cross-disciplinary professional development.

“”These past five years of my life have been years of passionate devotion to the University of Arizona, and its mission as a premier public research university and as our state’s land-grant institution,”” Shelton wrote. “”My top priority during this daunting economic time has been to preserve and grow the quality of what we do at UA, because it is the quality of our effort that sets this institution apart.””

Shelton will assume his new position on Aug. 1. There is no word on who will replace him, though the topic will be discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents.

“”Details about the transition will be forthcoming, but for now, let me just say that I am so proud of the people who make this University great,”” Shelton wrote. “”To all of you — faculty, staff, appointed professionals, students  — I offer my heartfelt thanks for your commitment to the values that set the University of Arizona apart.  This has always been a place where integrity matters. It is a defining characteristic of our institution, and I know it will forever drive our culture.””

James Allen, the incoming president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, called Shelton’s departure “”surprising”” and “”nerve-racking,”” but said he did not anticipate the transition having an adverse effect on student representation on campus.

“”I will stand strong next to our future president to ensure that students do not pay the price of the transition,”” Allen said.

Allen said he thought the timing of Shelton’s resignation presented less of a challenge now than if it had occurred during the academic year and said he is looking forward to working with the new administration when it is finalized. He also said he expects to have some input on the matter “”to help ensure that our next president is dedicated to maintaining the ideals of shared governance and cooperation with student leaders.””

Anne Mariucci, the chair of the Board of Regents, praised Shelton for his contributions to the UA.

“”President Shelton has contributed to the transformation of the University of Arizona and has led the institution through extremely fiscally challenging times,”” Mariucci wrote in a release. “”His leadership of the state’s land grant university has been demonstrated through his commitment to providing the highest quality education possible, advancing research projects, and promoting community service in Arizona among faculty and students.””

The regents have already formed a committee to find an interim president and will discuss plans for a nationwide search for a permanent successor at this week’s board meeting. Regent Fred DuVal said during a media call that a permanent successor should be named no later than July of next year.

Gov. Jan Brewer also released a statement praising Shelton’s work as president.

“”Since joining the university in 2006, Dr. Shelton has provided consistent leadership to the U of A and provided a steady hand on the wheel during difficult economic and budgetary times,”” she wrote. “”The Fiesta Bowl faces challenges of its own. I am confident that Dr. Shelton can be an asset in delivering his collegiate expertise, leadership and managerial skills to this important Arizona institution.””

Meredith Hay, the UA provost, declined to comment on the matter, though athletic director Greg Byrne wished Shelton well on his Twitter page.

“”Sad to see Dr. Shelton leave (the) UA … he has been a wonderful boss and very supportive. (The) Fiesta Bowl is getting a great one,”” Byrne wrote.

Shelton was originally hired in 2006, and recently received a contract extension in 2009. He could not be reached for further comment.

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