KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, May 22, 2011, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Peter Likins, author, “A New American Family: A Love Story.” Likins retired as the 18th President of the University of Arizona in the summer of 2006. Likins professional life was filled with accomplishments, but his personal life was pretty much under the radar screen until this book. 

Likins says he preferred it to be that way.  He says he wrote the book, which chronicles his life with his wife, Pat, and their six adopted children, as a means to talk about the complexities of contemporary life in this country. He says the issues he and his wife faced in raising the children, all multi-cultural and some with health problems, are not unlike what many American families face every day.  He says society has changed somewhat its views toward minorities and are more accepting today. 

Likins is especially candid when he talks about his son, who developed schizophrenia as he became a teenager and took to “self-medication.”  Likins says for years they treated his behavior as a drug problem.  He saiysit wasn’t until three years before his death of a drug overdose at age 43 that they realized John was mentally ill. 

Likins says his book is not just a memoir, it is a memoir with a message.  He says he hopes people will learn from reading the book that America can continue to be a nation whose greatness is rooted in family values.  But, he adds, this will happen only if we embrace a more inclusive concept of family.  He says his family offers a preview of what the American family will become as the 21st Century plays out.