Provost Shelton Chosen to Lead University of Arizona

The Arizona Board of Regents has selected UNC’s Provost Robert N. Shelton as the next president of the University of Arizona. Shelton, who has been Carolina’s executive vice chancellor and provost since 1999, was selected over three other finalists to become the 19th UA president.

Shelton is a native of Phoenix. He is UNC’s top academic administrator, overseeing the University’s $1.7 billion budget.

Chancellor James Moeser said, “On behalf of the Carolina community, I congratulate Robert Shelton for being chosen for this important position in American higher education. The University of Arizona has made an excellent decision by entrusting its future to Robert’s leadership. He will be missed, but we wish him and his family well as they embark on this next professional opportunity.

“I will move quickly to start the search for Robert’s successor,” Moeser said. “I plan to consult with the vice chancellors, deans and Faculty Advisory Committee members and will move with all speed to identify an interim executive vice chancellor and provost who would not be a candidate for the permanent position.”

Before coming to Carolina, Shelton was vice provost for research for the University of California System for five years and for 14 years was vice chancellor for research at UC-Davis. He started his career as an assistant research physicist at UC-San Diego and spent nine years as a physics professor at Iowa State University. He received doctoral and master’s degrees in physics from the University of California-San Diego in 1975 and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Stanford University in 1970.

In meetings with the University of Arizona community, Shelton said he was drawn to the UA because of the institution’s pride in its land-grant heritage and the opportunity to expand on the UA’s world-class research expertise. The UA president oversees a $1.2 billion annual budget, more than 10,000 employees and 37,000 students. Some of Shelton’s goals include involving students in setting tuition, creating the proper balance in university budgets, and expanding both campus diversity and academic excellence.

Peter Likins has been president of the UA since 1997 and will retire this summer at the age of 70.

Several previous UNC provosts have moved from Carolina into presidencies at other institutions, including Sam Williamson for the University of the South, J. Dennis O’Connor for the University of Pittsburgh and Richard McCormick for the University of Washington.

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