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An Interview with Dr. Larry Pitts, Chairman, AUA Board of Trustees

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pittsDr. Lawrence H. Pitts is the chair of AUA’s board of trustees. He assumed this post in 2012, shortly after retiring from his position as Provost and Executive Vice President of academic affairs at the University of California (UC). 

Dr. Pitts was introduced to AUA during his tenure as UC provost. Since its establishment in 1991, AUA has been closely affiliated with the University of California. Under its affiliation agreement, UC provides academic and administrative guidance to AUA. Several members of AUA’s board of trustees are current or former UC administrators and academic leaders. Historically, the chair of the board has been the sitting or former provost of UC. While he was provost, Dr. Pitts served as an AUA Trustee and after retiring, he assumed the position of board chair. 

“I was impressed by a number of things,” says Dr. Pitts of his introduction to AUA. “The style of education at AUA was very much in the UC tradition: its need-blind admissions, transparency and openness, and interest in educating students across the whole socio-economic spectrum in Armenia… it was very easy for me to admire and support that. 

“As I became more involved with AUA, I became increasingly aware of the support that it received from Armenians around the world, who have an enormous love for the homeland and a great desire to better Armenia. Armenians are very generous, accomplished and smart people. To find such a group who have this devotion to their homeland was also remarkable.” 

Since becoming board chair, Dr. Pitts has visited AUA twice and each time, has returned with renewed admiration for the mission-driven approach of the faculty and staff at the University. “Everyone is highly committed to what they are doing,” he says. “They believe in the mission of AUA and their role in making it succeed. It’s incredible to see a group of such highly qualified professionals putting their heart and soul into their work. The outcome is extremely good, and it’s the sort of investment in Armenia that will help it grow and emerge as a stronger country in the coming years.”

Prior to his term as UC’s system-wide provost, Dr. Pitts had served on the faculty at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) since 1975. While at UCSF, he was chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and at the UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, and vice chair and acting chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. He brings his rich and varied experience to AUA and is an asset to the University, particularly in the areas of academic programs, budgeting and development as AUA heads into its 25th year. 

 

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