TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Board of Regents appointed Ann Weaver Hart to be the next UA president, effective July 1, at its meeting on Friday.
The board conducted a national search to fill the position, creating a 23-member committee and 27-member Search Committee Advisory Council to aid in doing so. The committees included UA faculty, regents, student leaders and community leaders to provide input on qualities they sought in the next president. A website also allowed individuals to ask questions about the search process and find information about the status of the search.
“Dr. Hart has a record of success in areas we need so much,” said Regent Dennis DeConcini, a co-chair of the search committee.
DeConcini said that during her time as president of Temple University, Hart dealt with medical schools, intercity development and diversity, in addition to budget cuts.
“She will bring a new direction, keeping in mind the importance of shared governance, inclusion and the ability to make decisions,” DeConcini said.
Hart thanked the co-chairs of the search committee for their hard work, and said she was “entranced” by the opportunity to become the UA’s president after seeing the board and search committee’s commitment to the UA’s future.
“Every person I’ve ever met got a phone call,” she said, laughing. “It was a serious search. I cannot tell you how honored I am to be your next president.”
Hart is now the UA’s 21st president, and the first female president in the university’s 126-year history. The UA will be the third institution where Hart has been president, following six years at Temple and four at the University of New Hampshire. She was also the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Claremont Graduate University.
The search committee looked at more than 80 candidate prospects, though more than 100 people were nominated for the position. Hart will serve as president from July 1 to June 30, 2015, with an annual salary of $475,000. Her contract also includes a housing and car allowance, a reimbursement for moving expenses and a transition expense payment of $100,000 from non-university funds. In comparison, interim President Eugene Sander received an annual salary of $425,000 during his time as president.
The regents thanked Sander for serving as president throughout the search process and apologized to him for postponing his retirement, which was supposed to begin July 1, 2011. Sander was packed and ready to move back to Texas for retirement just before he took the interim president position, said Regent Ernest Calderon.
“The board imposed upon our friendship with Gene … our apologies and thanks (to Sander) in a difficult time as we were hitting choppy waters,” Calderon said.
Calderon said Sander’s legacy at the UA was “made in the shade,” not only as president but because of his time as the dean and vice provost of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This was not Sander’s first time serving in an interim position, however — he was the executive vice president and provost of the UA from July 2007 to April 2008 during the search for a permanent provost. He was also the vice president of University Outreach from 2006 to 2009.
Hart spent last week in Arizona meeting UA community members and stakeholders, and visited Tucson on Feb. 13 and 14 to meet with UA students, faculty, staff and administrators. Hart met with UA community members to answer questions and speak about her goals for the UA.
“We wanted someone with a breadth of experiences and a depth of successes,” said Rick Myers, regent and co-chair of the search committee. “She has done it all, and done it all well.”