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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA’s new main man: Shelton picked as president

    UAs new main man: Shelton picked as president

    Robert Shelton from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill was chosen Friday to be the 19th UA president.

    The Arizona Board of Regents voted unanimously on the appointment at 2:30 p.m. Friday, after meeting in an executive session that began at 10 a.m. in the “”Swede”” Johnson building.

    Shelton will begin his three-year appointment July 1 to succeed

    current President Peter Likins, who will retire this summer at the age of 70.

    Shelton, the executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, will receive $550,000 annually, said Christina Palacios, president of the board of regents.

    The 57-year-old Phoenix native said he’s excited to be returning to his home state to assume the role as UA president.

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

    Now that he has the position, Shelton will need to find time before the summer to come to the UA and begin the transition process.

    “”I will be making multiple trips out to Tucson and I hope to meet with the citizens of Tucson and the community,”” he said.

    Likins said he is looking forward to the transition, which he knew would be his most important task this year.

    “”It will be a very smooth transition,”” he said.

    When Likins first met Shelton at the UA on Jan. 20, Likins had a baton in his office that he practiced passing on to Shelton, even before he knew Shelton would be chosen.

    “”He and I are already practicing the hand-off,”” Likins said. “”Maybe it’s telling that I didn’t practice with the other three.””

    In the coming months, Likins will work closely with Shelton when making decisions that Shelton “”will have to live with.””

    Likins has already established search committees to find replacements for cabinet members who are retiring, but it will be Shelton who has the final say.

    “”Between now and July, I have the authority (to find their successors), but courtesy and common sense says to include the new president in the process.”” Likins said. “”I’ll make sure that he interviews them and chooses which one he wants.””

    Over the next couple of months, Shelton said he plans to work with faculty, students and administrators to make the hand-off go as easily as possible.

    Shelton said students can expect accessibility in the coming months, and someone who is “”genuinely interested in student issues.””

    “”I learn a lot more, and accomplish more when I get out of my office,”” Shelton said.

    Shelton also said he plans to meet with Jim Moore, the new president of the UA Foundation, to discuss how to build on the success of Campaign Arizona, which recently ended after raising more than $1 billion for the UA.

    “”In this day and age, in my experience you’re either in a campaign or you’re planning for a campaign. That’s just the nature of how you build an excellent university,”” Shelton said. “”I need to talk with the deans and the other academic leaders and we’ll sit down and talk about the timing of that.””

    Shelton said Friday that he hasn’t talked to administrators or done more planning because he thought it would be presumptuous to assume he would be chosen.

    At forums held Jan. 20 at the UA, Shelton said he wanted to develop a stronger connection between faculty and students to boost retention rates and also create more diversity at the UA.

    As executive vice chancellor and provost of UNC, Shelton is responsible for both the university’s budget and the proper operation of the university’s research and academic programs.

    Shelton, who has been at UNC since 2001, has helped the institution through fundraising, collaborating with other institutions, keeping tuition affordable for students and supporting the libraries, said Seth Dearmin, UNC student body president.

    From 1996 to 2001, Shelton was vice provost for research for the University of California system.

    Shelton holds a doctorate and master’s degree in physics from the University of California-San Diego, and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

    Shelton has been married for 36 years and has three adult children.

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