Arizona Board Of Regents Picks Robbins As UA President

Published: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 6:19pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 7:03pm
(Photo by Mariana Dale - KJZZ)
Robert Robbins says he looks forward to working with students in Tucson and Phoenix.
(Photo by Mariana Dale - KJZZ)
Robert Robbins meets Wilbur, the U of A's mascot.

The Arizona Board of Regents announced Robert Clayton Robbins as their top pick to fill the University of Arizona presidency.

“We felt this may have been the most important decision in decades at the University of Arizona,” said search committee chair Bill Ridenour. “We felt that we were looking for a transformational candidate.”

Robbins has been president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center since 2012. He is trained as a cardiac surgeon and also led the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University.

One area Ridenour said he hopes Robbins focuses on is UA’s relationship with Banner Health, which acquired the college’s health network in 2015.

“There’s so many great things that can be done with the Banner relationship with the University of Arizona, and he’s very familiar with all the players,” Ridenour said. 

Robbins, in short remarks to reporters and students at the college’s Phoenix campus, said his first priority is students.

“I really look forward to meeting them, working with them and helping them be prepared for this new world we’re living in now,” Robbins said.  

The other top candidate was Sethuraman Panchanathan, Arizona State University's executive vice president and chief research and innovation officer of knowledge enterprise development. His background is in electrical and computer engineering.

Robbins will visit the University of Arizona campus Wednesday and participate in a public forum in the afternoon. The event will be broadcast live online.

The board anticipates approving the new president's contract on April 6 and a start date in the summer.

Current UA President Ann Weaver Hart announced in June 2016 she would not seek an extension to her contract, which expires in 2018.

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