As we pause this week to give thanks, it is an opportunity to reflect on a tremendous year for our university. I am inspired by all of your countless contributions to the University and the many wonderful achievements we have accomplished together.
In August, we welcomed the UA's largest incoming class of students and we expanded UA Online offerings, ensuring more Arizonans have access to a UA degree from anywhere their careers or families might take them.
With the UA proudly ranked 16th in the world for the employability of its graduates, our students can be confident in their prospects after graduation and in the opportunities for engaged learning they have while at the University. This December marks the first year students’ engaged learning experiences will appear on their transcripts at graduation.
We are also redefining academic medicine for the 21st century. In the past year, we have solidified the UA’s partnership with Banner Health, enabling us to expand clinical capabilities and train more doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to fill critical gaps in Arizona health care.
The UA has also advanced critical partnerships with other organizations this year. For instance, the University will become home to Uber’s state-of-the-art mapping test vehicles. The agreement with Uber translates to new jobs, new economic development, and increased public safety and transportation options for Arizona, as well as incredible research opportunities for students and faculty. Another long-term partnership is the OSIRIS-REx mission, one of the UA’s most ambitious projects, which accelerated toward its 2016 launch. This UA-led mission, which involves NASA, Lockheed Martin, the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and many other partners, will send a spacecraft to intercept an asteroid and retrieve surface samples before returning to Earth in 2023.
We are working to expand this spirit of collaboration and partnership across the UA as well. Just a few weeks ago we announced the new home for UA's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program will be UA Oro Valley. The DVM program will meet a critical need for veterinarians and provide a superb career path for those who choose to transfer to the Master of Science in Animal and Biomedical Industries degree track. The program is a part of the UA's One Health initiative, which is also housed at the Oro Valley campus. Equally exciting, Tech Launch Arizona has had an amazing year, working with UA faculty and partners to disclose more than 200 UA inventions, license or option more than 80 technologies, and launch 12 startup companies. Due to outstanding collaboration and diligence, TLA was recently recognized at the Governor's Celebration of Innovation as Arizona's Innovator of the Year in academia.
The UA's global leadership in sustainability has also led to a unique point of research application on our campus, with the new ENR2 building. The newly opened facility is designed to mimic a slot canyon, a landscape feature unique to the Southwest, and it represents the UA's commitment to lower-impact construction, interdisciplinary collaboration, and a limitless perspective when approaching some of today's toughest challenges.
Finally, transformative innovation and engaged learning would not be possible without equally transformative philanthropic partnerships. We are on track to exceed the ambitious $1.5 billion goal of the Arizona Now campaign, which ensures a strong future of learning and discovery here at the UA.
These are just a few of the many successes across the University of Arizona that have been made possible by your hard work over the past year. We regularly accomplish great things together through teamwork and collaboration, and I am incredibly grateful for your dedication to our mission and the University's vital impact in our world.
In gratitude and with best wishes,
Ann Weaver Hart
President The University of Arizona