The South Mountain District is a community Lattie Coor has called home for 10 years but the family roots to the area go back much farther.
In 1909, the Coor’s family owned a farm along Baseline Road, next to the Japanese flower garden and what is now a central part of the South Mountain Village area.
Coor, an Arizona native and former president of Arizona State University, said the area is one he has been fond of for many years.
Coor, who along with his wife, Elva, live up against the South Mountain Park near 24th Street, “All of views are beautiful,” he said.
“We have always had an affinity for the area and are very fond of it,” Coor said. “It is a strong and solid community. It is a beautiful community,” he added.
Many of their favorite restaurants he and his wife frequent are within the South Mountain area. “We are very fond of Los Dos Molinos on Central Avenue and visit many of the Mexican restaurants up and down Central. “We are blessed to have so many up and down Central Avenue,” he said.
While partial to Mexican food, they also frequent is Amano Pizza Bistro on 16th Street and Baseline Road, The Farm at South Mountain and The New Vintage Market & Café near 24th Street and Baseline Road.
“We also love the Ranch Market with their fresh vegetables and the great festive market setting,” Coor said.
Living so close to the South Mountain Park/Preserve, they both take advantage of the numerous trails practically in their backyard.
“We hike Mormon Trail which is real close and sometimes the Alta Trail and several times a year we will do the National Trail, Geronimo or Ranger Trail.”
A recent endeavor of the Coors is conquering the Arizona Trail, which stretches 790 non-motorized miles that runs the length the state from Mexico to Utah.
“Since April, my wife and I started in Superior and have done 450 miles of the trail so far,” Coor said. “About 150 of that was hiking and 300 of it was on horseback,” he added. “We love exploring Arizona. We do it to stay active.”
Coor has continued to work in the education arena even after leaving ASU as its fifteenth president back in 2002.
He is currently President-Emeritus, Professor and Ernest W. McFarland Chair in Leadership and Public Policy in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, and is Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.
Coor states the focus of the Center for the Future of Arizona is in two main areas – work on the vision for the future of Arizona and lowering Arizona’s high school dropout rate.
When not reading books, hiking across Arizona, eating Mexican food or trying to raise Arizona’s high school drop out rate, you might find Coor exploring Mexico. “We go there as often as we can. Maybe two or three times each year,” he said.
Coor was born in Phoenix and lived in Avondale and graduated with high honors from Northern Arizona University in 1958. He pursued graduate studies in Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, earning a master’s degree in 1960 and a Ph.D. in 1964.
Earlier in his career, Coor served as an assistant to the Governor of Michigan and held faculty appointments in Political Science at Washington University. His administrative responsibilities there included those of Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, Director of International Studies, and University Vice Chancellor.
For the previous 26 years, Coor served as a University President. He was the fifteenth President of Arizona State University from 1990 to 2002, and President of the University of Vermont from 1976 to 1989.
Coor was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education from 1995 to 1999. He served as Chairman of the Education Section of the Valley of the Sun United Way Campaign from 1990 to 1993, and of the Public Sector of the United Way Campaign from 1999 to 2002.
His passion for education has come from within and from a long history of educators. “I’m fortunate to come from parents who were both grade school teachers,” said Coor. He shared his parents met while teaching in the Kyrene School District and were passionate about education.
His father, Lattie Coor Sr., after many years of teaching went on to become superintendent of schools in Arizona. An elementary school in Avondale has been named after him in his honor. His mother is still living, at the age of 98.
In Arizona, Coor serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, and has served on the Board of Directors of Bank One Arizona, Samaritan Health Services, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and is a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Council.
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