"My style is to go in there and quietly soak it up like a sponge. And I think that takes three to six months in any large organization, and I've gone into a lot of them like this," said Gamble.
Students are hoping first and foremost that the new president will be a good listener.
"There's no better use of our resources than opening up avenues of communication for our students. And that's what I would encourage him to do," said former University of Alaska Anchorage student body president Michaela Hernandez.
Student leaders say the Board of Regents should rotate their meetings more frequently.
"It would be nice if they had an equitable meeting system, where they spend maybe four meetings in Fairbanks, four meetings in Anchorage and four meetings in Juneau. Just equity in general. This year is the first time that they've had a meeting on our campus in over a year, and we're the largest university in the Alaska system," Hernandez said.
The rivalry between campuses is also a concern.
"There's a perception that some of those universities are more important than others and that distribution isn't necessarily done by need," said Hernandez.
Rivalry between the three main campuses, Gamble said, is unhealthy.
"I think we need to get rid of that and try to promote the idea that we're one university, we're diversified. If we're going to be all that we can be, then what we want to do is let each one of those naturally develop the way the market would want it to develop," said Gamble.
According to Gamble, he began a love affair with higher education 15 years ago -- one that began in the Air Force and helped him achieve the rank of four-star general.
Along the way, he became a pilot, headed the Alaskan Command, became director of Air Force Air and Space Operations and later was put in charge of the Pacific Command. He also led the Air Force Academy in Colorado in 1993.
Years later the academy came under intense scrutiny for the rape and sexual harassment of female cadets. Gamble said he was never under investigation, but was called upon for assistance.
"It's a constant effort to be tolerant and respectful of people and their individuality, and then protect those people that need protection. And that's the job of a president or a commandant system, to make sure to the best of its ability it does that -- and then the minute it goes wrong you've got to get on it, and get on it fast," said Gamble.
After nine years as head of the Alaska Railroad, Gamble believes he's on track to find money for research and improve the university's bottom line. In Gamble's resume, he says he tripled the railroad's assets to $860 million and doubled net earnings.
Students are hoping Gamble's financial expertise will help keep tuition rates down. Gamble said those are good marching orders, but believes the university can't always be looking to the Legislature.
"Some of the great universities have spun off businesses as a result of research, as a result of good ideas that came from within, both students and faculty, which the university then got behind -- spun off those businesses, licensed the intellectual property and got royalties back from a successful business startup," said Gamble.
"I think if he utilizes the students as a resource, to really see how to help the school grow and how to help the school expand, things will go very well," said Lambert.
UA students across the state hope that Gamble's success will be their success.
Contact Rhonda McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org.