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Mar 13, 6:41 PM EDT

Univ. of Arizona Educator Henry Koffler dies at 95

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- University of Arizona officials say the university's former president Henry Koffler (KOF-ler) has died at age 95.

Koffler studied at the university after coming to the United States at age 17 in 1939, following the Nazi annexation of his native Austria. His mother followed several months later and they settled in Arizona, which he knew about from German writer Karl May's Western adventure books.

After retirement, he founded Academy Village, a community for seniors interested in continued learning. Koffler became a digital artist at age 90, using his iPad to create abstract paintings.

Koffler's university presidency from 1982-1991 was marked by rapid expansion of the student body and staff.

Current University President Robert C. Robbins in a tweet called Koffler a "sweet and caring man with a superior intellect."

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