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Past Presidents

Image of Lattie F. Coor

Lattie F. Coor

Fifteenth President
1990 - 2002

Dr. Lattie F. Coor Jr., a native Arizonan, achieved major milestones for ASU as a research institution and set the stage for what would later become the New American University.

During his inaugural address in 1990, Coor said, “Arizona State University is now ready to take that great step, one that I believe will mark the beginning of a new era. We are ready to move ASU forward as a world-class university functioning in a multi-campus setting.” That approach helped further define the role of the West Valley campus and initiate the establishment of ASU East, now the Polytechnic campus.

In early 1994, ASU was granted Research I status by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching — a crucial milestone that cleared the way for rapid advancement. During Coor’s tenure, the university’s endowment grew tenfold, and his dedication to the Campaign for Leadership that began in 1995 helped the university raise $560 million; the goal had been $300 million.

His time as president was notable for ASU’s evolution as a university more highly regarded in traditional measures with the capacity to adapt to change quickly. “We can't predict what the world will look like,” he said. “What we can do is be poised to move as the demand moves.”

The child of schoolteacher parents, Coor majored in social science at Arizona State College at Flagstaff, now Northern Arizona University. He went to Washington University in St. Louis for his master’s degree and PhD, and there he advanced through several academic positions to become vice chancellor. He was then recruited by the University of Vermont to be that university’s president, a post he held for 14 years before coming to ASU.