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The Scoop


Verbatim: Notre Dame hires Likins to review death at football practice

Statement issued Friday:

As part of the ongoing internal investigation into the death of Declan Sullivan, the University of Notre Dame will turn over its findings and recommendations to Peter Likins, the former president of the University of Arizona who has been engaged by Notre Dame to provide an independent review of the process.

A junior from Long Grove, Ill., Sullivan died Oct. 27 when the hydraulic scissor lift from which he was videotaping football practice fell.

“In selecting someone to review our investigation, I sought an individual experienced in higher education, with an impeccable reputation for integrity, intellect and independence,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “In Dr. Likins, we are fortunate to have just such a man. He brings numerous credentials to this assignment: as a world-renowned engineer; as a university administrator who served as provost at Columbia and president at Lehigh and Arizona; as a highly regarded member of numerous NCAA committees; and as a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

“Investigations and external reviews such as this take time, but I assure you that, when complete, we will issue a public report on the outcome, including information on the events of the afternoon of Oct. 27, any institutional ramifications, and recommendations for safety policies in the future.”

Likins served as the 18th president of the University of Arizona from 1997 to 2006. He previously was president of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., for 15 years and, before that, provost at Columbia University, where he also was a professor and dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He also taught and conducted research for 12 years at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Likins earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Stanford University, a master’s degree in civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in engineering mechanics at Stanford. He also holds honorary degrees from several institutions.

He was a member of the Knight Commission from 2004 until his retirement and served on the NCAA Board of Directors and as a charter member of the NCAA Presidents’ Commission.

As Arizona’s president, he led the successful “Campaign Arizona” capital campaign, which raised almost $1.2 billion, the most ever for the university. He also led the “Focused Excellence” initiative to identify and enhance the university’s strongest fields of study.

Upon his retirement, he received the Regents’ Medal from the Arizona Board of Regents, just the 11th person to be so honored.

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