LITTLE ROCK — University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt has named Stephanie Gardner, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, as interim UAMS chancellor, the UA System said Friday.

Gardner will begin the job after the July 31 retirement of current Chancellor Dr. Dan Rahn.

“Dr. Gardner has a complete understanding of the academic mission of UAMS and will work closely with (Executive Vice Chancellor and College of Medicine Dean) Dr. Pope Moseley and (Vice Chancellor for Clinical Programs) Dr. Richard Turnage to ensure that the clinical enterprise continues its rapid progress,” Bobbitt said in a UA System news release.

Gardner joined UAMS as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the College of Pharmacy in 1991. She went on to become chair of that department in 1996, interim dean in 2003 and dean in 2004.

Gardner was named associate provost for society and health at UAMS in 2013. She was named senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost in 2015.

She has Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She completed a research fellowship in cardiovascular pharmacology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1991 and earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2001.

“I appreciate the trust that Dr. Bobbitt and the University of Arkansas System have placed in me to lead UAMS in the period between Chancellor Rahn’s retirement and the arrival of the next chancellor,” Gardner said in the release. “I came to UAMS and Arkansas 26 years ago from my home state of North Carolina and have developed a deep love for this university and for the state of Arkansas. I am honored to serve in this position and will work to continue the progress made during Dr. Rahn’s tenure.”

A search committee has named two finalists in the search for a permanent replacement for Rahn: Dr. A. Wesley Burks, executive dean of the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Dr. Danny O. Jacobs, executive vice president, provost and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.