University of Arizona Favored Runner-up For President [VIDEO]By Anne Collins, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University of Arizona's Board of Regents has chosen Dr. Robert C Robbins, CEO of Houston-based Texas Medical Center, to replace the outgoing UA President Ann Weaver Hart. Faculty members have favored ASU executive Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan over Robbins. The board will announce the terms and vote on Robbin's contract on a meeting at UA on April 7.
Panchanathan, the faculty's preference was not the favor of a handful of UA donors. They wrote to regents about their views and said they wanted Robbins to get the job.
The Arizona Daily Star filed a public-records request on March 9 asking for documentation of any feedback that the regents received on the presidential search. The regents' headquarters had released the records on Friday.
The public was given a glimpse into the donors and faculty members' emails that showed the finalists' perceived strengths and weaknesses. Some have criticized that the presidential search was lacking in transparency.
The regents have received 10 communications. Three were from UA donors who favored Robbins, which was the former head of cardiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He was one of the highest-ranked in the country before he took the job at Texas in 2012.
Donor Richard Fink said he strongly endorsed Dr. Robbins at this critical time. He said that Robbins brings all the skills and background the university needs because they hired a UA president, the result did not prove to all that was envisioned.
Tucson reported that both finalists were called excellent said donor Rica Spivack. But she was more comfortable with Robbins because she believed the university was moved into the world of busniness and education and she felt that Robbins's experience would better serve the school.
Lynn Nadel, chair of the UA faculty and member of the presidential search committee said they received a fair number of responses and both finalists were viewed positively. Some faculty expressed Dr. Panchanathan's proven commitment to Arizona, his long history in academic setting and his broad skill set that relates to innovation and his personality.