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UA presidential search committee begins discussions with prospects

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Daniyal Arshad | The Daily Wildcat

Vice Chair Bill Ridenour speaks at the UA Presidential Search Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the Student Union Memorial Center. The committee has begun discussions with prospects to replace current UA president Ann Weaver Hart.

The University of Arizona Presidential Search Committee began “discussions” with prospects for the open UA presidential post yesterday, with the talks continuing into today at a Phoenix-area hotel, confirming search committee chair Bill Ridenour’s assertion earlier this week that the search is nearing its completion.

Julie Newberg, communications director for the Arizona Board of Regents, confirmed that the committee is having discussions with presidential prospects during the meeting.

Ridenour told the Daily Wildcat Feb. 15 that the committee intended on beginning interviews with the fewer than 20 remaining prospects this month. He added the committee could select a new president as soon as next month.

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“It depends on whether the committee, and more importantly the board of regents, is satisfied that we have the proper person to lead the UA,” Ridenour said. “I feel the prospect pool is strong enough that we can make a decision by early March.”

Follwing these discussions, the committee will compile a list of potential candidates and forward them to the board for further review.

It is not uncommon for conversations with presidential prospects to happen at neutral locations as opposed to having candidates actually visit university campuses. The official presidential search guidelines mention that a campus visit for one or more candidates is a possibility, though Ridenour doesn’t seem optimistic.

“I would say it’s unlikely,” Ridenour said. “I am not closing the door on that. We’ve got eight regents and they will make that decision.”

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The 2011 presidential search, which resulted in the hiring of Ann Weaver Hart, functioned in much the same way, with candidates and committee members meeting in neutral locations, according to emails obtained in a public records request by the Daily Wildcat. A Nov. 8, 2011, email from secretary to the regents, Peggy Martin, outlines plans for the committee to travel to Salt Lake City to meet with “one to three prospects” at a hotel close to the airport.

President Hart was named as the incoming president early the following February.

No information about who the prospects are has been made available at this time.

—J.D. Molinary contributed to the reporting of this story 


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