UA pres. search committee formed

By Troy J. Acevedo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 25, 2005

A search committee has formed and is in the process of finding a replacement for President Peter Likins next fall.

Regent Fred Boice of Tucson will be chairing the committee with the sole purpose of seeking out, interviewing and eventually appointing a new president.

Members of the committee, still in its developing stages, have been selected and will have their first official meeting on Sept. 8, at 2 p.m.

To further the selection process, an academic executive search group, called the Academic Search

Consultation Service of Washington, D.C., has been selected after a careful screening and interview process, according to the Arizona Board of Regents Web site.

Student Regent Ben Graff, who is a third-year law student, was selected by Boice to be one of the two students who will serve on the committee.

"This is a great responsibility and a lot of positive pressure at the same time," Graff said. "Knowing that you are playing a role not only in determining such an important position but the future and integrity of the university as well really makes one think."

Graff said selecting who will be included in the committee was not easy for Boice, who was unavailable for comment because he is out of town until Sept. 2.

When the formal committee announcement was made, the Graduate and Professional Student Council approached Graff and Boice about securing a seat for one of their members.

Graff said though he discussed the issue with Boice in great detail, both decided Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Cade Bernsen would be the second student representative on the committee.

"It is my hope that the GPSC will come to Cade or me with any questions, comments or concerns," Graff said.

Bernsen, a political science senior, said he and his colleagues worked throughout the summer expressing to regents the necessity of a student being able to sit on the committee.

"It's the students' university, and they really needed to be represented and have their voices heard on an issue like this," Bernsen said. "I am very grateful and humble in many ways to have been chosen for this position."

Graff said selecting the new president is a huge task because that person must share Likins' constant and never-ending dedication to the university and its students.

"President Likins has always maintained an outstanding policy of shared governance leadership by including student leadership on most of the important issues across campus," Graff said.

At the same time, Likins said in an e-mail he is excited about the upcoming year and eager to accomplish all of the planned objectives prior to the deadline set by his retirement.

Likins said he is confident his successor will share his admiration for the UA and pursue similar goals that will help "strengthen and elevate the institution."

Likins said he announced years ago he would retire by his 70th birthday, and he has no regrets about leaving his position.

His message to students during his final year at the UA is to "count your blessings and make the most of your opportunities."