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By Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 10, 1998

Regent resigns to take NAU job


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Kurt Davis

PHOENIX - An Arizona regent known for his prowess in legislative and university budget dealings quit late last week to become a high-ranking NAU administrator.

Kurt Davis stepped down from the Arizona Board of Regents chair he has held since 1996 to become public affairs and marketing vice president at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

"(NAU President) Clara Lovett approached me that she was looking to change their public affairs and marketing profile and position up there," Davis said. "When I used to live up there, I loved the community."

Davis approached Republican Gov. Jane Hull Thursday with his resignation, said Francie Noyes, the governor's spokeswoman.

"We didn't know this was in the works," Noyes said. The governor spoke at a prescheduled meeting of NAU administrators and faculty Friday and told them Davis' replacement will come from northern Arizona, Noyes said.

"She said she would be looking to fill this as an 'NAU seat,'" she said.

Davis, who received a bachelor's degree from NAU in 1984, was the unofficial northern Arizona voice on the board during his tenure, Noyes said.

"There are many wonderful things about the public sector that I miss," said Davis, who has worked in the private sector since taking the regents position in 1996.

"The opportunity to do this was great," he added.

Noyes said yesterday there is no candidate pool yet to replace Davis, who will stay on until his replacement is selected to serve out his term, which expires in 2002.

Regent Hank Amos said the board will sorely miss Davis' skill at dealing with the state government bureaucracy on behalf of Arizona's three universities.

"He was very strong in the budget process, especially on how to present the budget proposal properly to the Legislature," Amos said. "His strengths really were in the budget and relations with the Legislature."

Amos said he was surprised by the resignation announcement, but noted that Davis had in the past mentioned his desire to move back to Flagstaff and NAU.

Regents President Rudy Campbell had a similar take on the Davis departure.

"I hate to lose him because he was a good regent and he was only on there for two years," Campbell said, adding that Davis' prior government experience gave him an advantage over most rookie regents.

"This is a political appointment, and therefore, he could hit the ground running faster than most regents can," Campbell said.

Regent Judy Gignac took a more conceptual view of Davis' egress, saying the former regent understood the wide-ranging ramifications of board decisions.

"He had a broader view of an issue and he was not narrowly focused," Gignac said. "I will definitely miss that."

According to NAU spokeswoman Barbara Williamson, Davis will be one of three vice presidents and will oversee the university's media relations as well as internal and external communications. He will also head marketing and advertising efforts to enhance student recruitment and community-college and corporate relations.

Davis' exit marks the third vacancy on the regents in the five months since Hull became governor.

In addition to his resignation from the board, Davis will also step down from his position as vice president of public affairs and corporate communications for Rural/Metro, a fire-fighting and ambulance service based in Phoenix.

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