Charles "Chuck" Huckelberry

Charles "Chuck" Huckelberry

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Chuck Huckleberry

From bike paths to habitat conservation plans, bond packages to hospitals, the impact of Charles "Chuck" Huckelberry's nearly five decades of public service is evident throughout Southern Arizona.  

A native Tucsonan, Huckelberry graduated from Flowing Wells High School before attending the University of Arizona, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in mining engineering and a Master of Science in civil engineering. After graduating, the then-24-year-old Huckelberry began his career in 1974 as a field engineer with the Pima County Highway Department, now known as the Department of Transportation. Huckelberry was closely involved with construction and development throughout the county until a brief stint in the private sector in the early '90s. Huckelberry returned to public service and became Pima County administrator in 1994. He remained in that position until his retirement in 2022. 

During his tenure as country administrator, Huckelberry supervised great change in the region, including creating the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, overseeing numerous voter-approved bond packages, developing The Loop shared-use trail system that now bears his name, passing flood control improvements, expanding health services, and building the Kino Sports Complex. In addition to major, county-wide accomplishments, Huckelberry also oversaw the county's day-to-day operations and more than 7,300 employees under the direction of the Pima County Board of Supervisors. 

A longtime partner of the university, Huckelberry worked with former University of Arizona President Eugene Sander to establish the University of Arizona/Pima County Collaboration Coordination Team to ensure that partnerships between the county and the university are consistent, frequent and well-coordinated. Huckelberry also worked with the university to transform the former Kino Community Hospital into a center for diabetes, women's and mental health care, education and research in partnership with the university's College of Medicine – Tucson and what is now Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. 

Huckelberry led the effort to purchase and renovate the Roy Place Building in downtown Tucson as part of the 2004 bond election. The facility was leased to the university six years later and is now the site of the university's Arizona FORGE at Roy Place, a unit designed to bring students, faculty, staff and the community together to develop problem solving, critical thinking and resiliency skills. 

For his contributions to the wider Southern Arizona community, Huckelberry was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the university's Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Mechanics. He was also named Public Servant of the Year by the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association and Public Servant of the Year by the Tucson Mountains Association and was given the Sonoran Desert Conservation Award by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.