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Search committee for next UA president holds first meeting in Tucson

The search committee for the next president of the University of Arizona had its first meeting Wednesday.

Current President Robert Robbins said he would step down at the end of his contract- which ends in 2026- or as soon as another candidate is ready to take his place.

Earlier this week, the Arizona Board of Regents assembled an 18-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee to find Robbins’ replacement.

Regent Fred DuVal said this committee has the largest percentage of faculty representation of any committee in recent memory.

“That’s intentional," DuVal said. "It is faculty-centric. It is critical that the faculty have as much input and imprint on this recruitment as possible.”

Stephen Roe Lewis is the governor of the Gila River Indian Community and he serves on the committee. He said he’d like to hire someone who honors the university’s status as a land grant institution.

“President Robbins, what I’ve seen during his tenure was a recognition of partnership with tribes," Lewis said. "He’s visited probably almost all of the 22 tribes in Arizona and he has allowed and has recruited some of the best tribal scholars, some of the best institutional employees who advocate for tribal issues of inclusion."

Others committee members said they should find someone who can help regain the public’s trust as the University struggles with a projected budget deficit.

Robbins announced Thursday that cost-cutting measures have shrunk the deficit from $162 million to $52 million.

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Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.