Fall Semester Updates

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TO: Campus Community
FROM: President Ann Weaver Hart
DATE: Monday, December 22, 2014
SUBJECT: Fall Semester Updates

 

As 2014 comes to a close, I want to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication this year. With the reopening of Old Main, the amazing success of our athletics programs, the launch of the Arizona NOW campaign, the pending clinical affiliation with Banner Health, and the induction of new Regents’ Professors, University Distinguished Professors, and University Distinguished Outreach Faculty earlier this month, there is much of which we can be proud.

Arizona NOW is in full swing and has reached 72% of its ultimate goal of $1.5 billion. As you all know from previous announcements, we have been very fortunate to receive major gifts from Agnese Nelms Haury in support of new programs in the College of Social and Behavioral Science and the College of Science, from Richard F. Caris in support of the UA’s role in the Giant Magellan Telescope project, and from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation to establish our new Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program. These gifts are vital to the UA’s success, as are those from thousands of other friends and supporters who are helping to shape a vibrant future for this institution, for Arizona, and for the many communities we serve around the world.

We are also making steady and strong progress in the implementation of the Never Settle strategic academic and business plan. For instance, the new Institute for Career Readiness and Engagement is furthering our strong record of preparing students for success after graduation as part of the 100% Student Engagement initiative. With the UA Bridge program bringing more transfer students to the UA, our growing efforts in online degrees, and the increase in retention rates due to programs like Arizona Assurance, New Start, and the Think Tank, these engagement opportunities will be available to more students from more diverse backgrounds, ensuring that we are meeting our goals in access and workforce development as Arizona’s land-grant university.

Over the past several months, I have been working to support these efforts. Posts to my blog have highlighted the ways that the UA is leading the nation in reimagining the public research university for the twenty-first century. In October, I took part in meetings for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Lincoln Project. In early November I travelled to a meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to share the UA’s story on a panel of university leaders discussing the importance of international collaboration in North America, a point in which the UA is unparalleled in our success and promise. I have also been travelling in support of the Arizona NOW campaign, and attended meetings with UA alumni and friends in La Jolla, Orange County, San Francisco, New York, and Phoenix to talk about the wonderful things happening here, and to learn how we can support members of the Wildcat family outside of Arizona. Each of these visits impressed upon me the many communities that the UA fosters around the world, and the enduring importance of actively engaging every Wildcat.

I have also been working with community partners here in Arizona. In October, I visited the Tohono O’odham reservation and met with tribal leaders to learn about the Tohono O’odham Nation’s history, culture, and its vital place in our state’s future. In November, I co-hosted – with David Allen, Vice President for the UA’s Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) – a lunch meeting in Old Main’s board room where we shared the opportunities that are being opened here at the UA by the Catapult Corporation, a startup incubation and seed venture investment company that will work in partnership with TLA. 

These partnerships and programs illustrate how adaptation and enhancement is profoundly connected to the University’s land-grant mission of improving the prospects and enhancing lives of the people of our state and world. In the 21st century, land-grant institutions must actively seek out and connect with friends and partners in many diverse communities, and as we look forward to 2015 I am continually grateful for the energy, dedication, and expertise of our faculty, students, and staff who are leading the way in these vital efforts, and I hope that my work enables your success.

 

Finally, as you all know, the UA Football team is playing in the Fiesta Bowl just up the road in Phoenix on December 31st. I hope to see many of you there as we end 2014 and prepare to ring in the New Year!