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Sept. 11, 2019

Joaquin Ruiz Appointed UA VP of Global Environmental Futures

TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Arizona has appointed Joaquin Ruiz as Vice President of Global Environmental Futures in support of the 10-year strategic plan.

In this role, Ruiz will focus his considerable experience and influence in addressing the significant environmental issues facing our nation and the world as part of the Grand Challenges, Arizona Advantage and Arizona Global strategic plan initiatives. Ruiz will continue to oversee a diverse and growing research and education portfolio, including Biosphere 2 and the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill. He also will leverage his extensive international collaborations to expand our global presence regarding issues of environmental health and resilience.

"This is a game changer for the University of Arizona," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "Joaquin is an equally talented scientist and teacher who has created an enduring legacy of exploration during his 20 years as dean of the College of Science. This promotion will allow him to advance our leadership role in protecting the environment while also driving the university to new heights."

Ruiz will begin serving in this new role effective Oct. 1 and will report to Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation Betsy Cantwell.

"The UA is an amazing research powerhouse in global environmental resilience," Cantwell said. "This new position is absolutely critical to our ability to truly scale our impacts in global resilience and environmental health. I am enormously grateful to Joaquin for agreeing to dedicate his unique skill set to this new role. He is the perfect person, and I am delighted he has agreed to serve."

Ruiz has overseen a period of growth in quality and scale for the College of Science, and his advocacy for significant large-scale initiatives such as the OSIRIS-REx mission and Biosphere 2 have forever changed the trajectory of science at the university. Further, he has been a leader in establishing and nurturing transnational agreements, drawing the university closer to its regional neighbors. In 2018, Ruiz was nominated by the Consul General at the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson, and subsequently named by the government of Mexico, as one of 31 distinguished Mexican citizens living abroad who have brought distinction to the country.

"I have been blessed to work with many amazing students, faculty, staff and community members during my tenure as dean," Ruiz said. "Now, I will be able to focus on issues of the environment and circular economies. The decisions we make today will dramatically impact life as we know it, tomorrow and well into our planet's future. It is critically important that we pause and embrace our opportunity to make robust, data-informed decisions that will impact future generations."

"I am excited to work with Joaquin in this new capacity, which spans three of our strategic pillars, and which is vitally important to the future of our university," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Liesl Folks. "I am grateful to Joaquin for his extraordinary dedication to the College of Science and for his many contributions to the University of Arizona." Folks will manage both the transition and search process for a new dean for the College of Science.

Elliott Cheu, associate dean of the College of Science, will serve as interim dean and lead the College of Science while a nationwide search is conducted to recruit the new dean. Cheu is an outstanding leader and champion of the university, having previously served as interim dean of the Honors College from 2016 to 2017 and as co-chair of the strategic planning process.

Media contact:
Pam Scott
University Communications
Office: 520-621-1951 | Cell: 509-570-4610
The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the UA is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The UA ranked in the top 25 in 2018 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $687 million in annual research expenditures. The UA advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually.