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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA campus welcomes President Ann Weaver Hart following first week of class

UA president Ann Weaver Hart speaks at her welcome event in the North Ballroom on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.

Students, faculty, staff, community members and city and state-wide politicians gathered in the Student Union Memorial Center’s North Ballroom to welcome President Ann Weaver Hart and her husband Randy Hart to the UA for the first time after the start of the fall semester.

A series of speakers representing all areas of the university stepped up to the podium to welcome Hart and expressed their excitement to be working with her. Rick Myers, chair of the Arizona Board of Regents told the crowd that the board’s criteria when searching for a new UA president included someone who was a proven leader with broad experience, a team builder and someone with a strong desire to make Arizona a better place.

“We came to the realization that she fit this very well, but we had a bonus. And the bonus was, she’s a really nice person,” Myers said as the crowd chuckled.

Others who shared their excitement in having Hart at the UA included Sarah B. Smallhouse, chair-elect of the University of Arizona Foundation Board of Trustees and Kellie Terhune Neely, a member of the UA Alumni Association Governing Board, who told Hart that the university’s new president would be a Wildcat for life. Alice Roe, chair of Campus Community Relations Committee said she looked forward to working with Hart to maintain a vibrant community.

“We continue to look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Hart and her administration for the good of the university and the community,” Roe said.

Hart also took the time to meet with guests before and after the program and conversed with them about a number of topics including the UA’s economic situation. Elected officials, according to Hart, said they understood the university’s struggles with state funding and offered their support to the university.

“They offered to help me in any way they could and we’re going to work together,” Hart said.

The thirteen members of Bobcats Senior Honorary, a group of seniors selected based on “scholarship, leadership and university and community involvement,” according to the Bobcats’ website, surprised Hart with a “survival kit” which consisted of some tips on UA tradition, presents and comedic acting from the students.

“We have magic CatCards that are attached to bursar accounts,” said Michael Duval, a philosophy senior, as the crowd laughed. “So Dr. Hart I bursared you a MacBook Pro … and Mr. Hart I bursared you an Xbox 360.”

Other gifts included sunglasses, a bottle opener for Mr. Hart and Muscle Milk and a protein bar.

Hart stepped up to the podium last and shared a couple of stories about her daughters’ UA pride when they found out their mother would be president. She talked about her daughter’s white water rafting trip, where she wore a red UA bikini top which she posted a picture of online for her mother.

“I don’t wear red bikini tops,” Hart said jokingly. “But Kimberly does and she’ll just have to hold down the fort.”

These stories, Hart said, hopefully exemplified how enthusiastic her family was to become a part of the UA community. Hart has four married daughters and eight grandchildren.

“It is an incredible honor to be able to join this tremendous team,” Hart said.

The president also talked about the future of the UA with regards to its medical schools. The UA is one of only three universities to have two separately accredited medical schools the U.S., Hart said. Financing and advancing in academic medicine will be twice the challenge, she added.

“All the challenges that come with one are doubled with two,” Hart said. “This is a critical time … for us to envision what the future of medical education and practice of disease prevention instead of finding cure approaches to medicine.”

Hart also talked about the importance of working together to make an integrated academic campus plan and a financial plan both come true. She also emphasized the importance of departments working together.

“We have to work together or we will fall apart,” Hart said.

A strong relationship between the UA and the Arizona Board of Regents is another priority on Hart’s list. She intends to maintain a strong relationship in order to create a long-range impact for Arizona’s higher education, she said.

Hart also addressed the need for funds to maintain athletic facilities and mentioned the leak in McKale Center’s roof and sides as an example. Just eight weeks into her presidency, Hart has already compiled a list of 13 tasks that she intends to address.

“We will find ways to continually increase the effectiveness of shared governance at this great university,” Hart said. “And I promise you we will not be bored.”

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