Dr. Gene Sanders became the 20th president of the University of Arizona when he began his appointment on Aug. 1, 2011. Sander was vice provost and dean of the UA’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He was scheduled to retire on July 1, 2011, but decided to postpone retirement to fill the UA’s top post.
He served as executive vice president and provost of the University from July 2007 through April 2008 during the search for a permanent provost, and he also served as vice president for University Outreach from 2006 to 2009. During his tenure, Dr. Sander helped develop a memorandum of understanding that memorialized and expanded the partnership between the University and Chapel Haven West.
Dr. Sanders’ goal was to further the mission of the University by improving life for the people of Arizona and beyond – through education, research, creative expression and community engagement.
As vice provost and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Sander oversaw 11 academic departments and two schools, with research stations and offices throughout Arizona. Sander concurrently served as the director of the Agricultural Experiment Station and acting director of Cooperative Extension.
Sander holds degrees from the University of Minnesota (B.S.) and Cornell University (M.S., Ph.D.) and has completed postdoctoral study at Brandeis University. Prior to his move to Arizona, Sander served as the as deputy chancellor for biotechnology development, director of the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, and head of the department of biochemistry and biophysics for the Texas A&M University system.
He was chairman of the department of biochemistry at West Virginia University Medical Center and associate chairman of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the College of Medicine, University of Florida. As an officer in the United States Air Force, he was the assistant chief of the biospecialties section at the Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory.
As a biochemist, Sander worked in the field of mechanisms by which enzymes catalyze reactions. His research program resulted in numerous publications, presentations and book chapters. It also contributed to the education of five graduate and 18 postdoctoral students. He has held the academic rank of professor at all of the institutions with which he has been affiliated.
In 2011 he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.