In less than a month, the University of Arizona will hold its 152nd Commencement. Along with the rest of the faculty and staff, I am so proud of our graduates, many of whom will have an Engaged Learning Experience notation on their academic transcript. This will signify that these graduates pursued 100% Engagement opportunities where they applied their learning in diverse and dynamic settings, developing professional and personal skills that have prepared them to launch meaningful careers.
While many will enter the workforce, some of our graduates will stay to pursue master's or doctoral degrees at the UA, which has some of the top graduate programs in the nation. For instance, in U.S. News & World Report's 2017 Best Graduate Schools, six UA graduate programs – management information systems, rehabilitation counseling, speech-language pathology, earth sciences, audiology, and photography – are ranked in the top 10.
Whatever their next steps, the Class of 2016 has much to celebrate, and our graduates will be sent off into the world by someone who has made it his mission to enhance public health at the global level. We are honored to have U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy as the keynote speaker at Commencement, which will be held in Arizona Stadium on May 13.
I also have good news to share from UA Health Sciences. An internationally renowned neuroscientist, Roberta Diaz Brinton, will join the University as the inaugural director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science. Dr. Brinton is a leading researcher in the fields of Alzheimer's, the aging female brain, and regenerative therapeutics. Under her leadership, this new center is poised to speed the development of novel, multidisciplinary approaches to understanding and treating neurodegenerative diseases through research, clinical practice interventions, education, and community collaborations. The center also will be a significant driver of the UA's research enterprise, which topped $606 million for fiscal year 2015, an increase of nearly $20 million over the previous year.
Finally, I would like to mention a special event showcasing student work that is just around the corner, and congratulate two groups of students who have been nationally recognized for their community-focused efforts.
On May 3, the College of Engineering will hold an event that is an outstanding example of student engagement and industry partnerships. During Engineering Design Day, more than 100 student projects will be showcased, including lifesaving robots, a better smoke detector, wearable medical devices, and an algae biofuel processor. A free UA Engineering Design Day 2016 app has project descriptions, maps, and schedules. For more information, click here.
Arizona Athletics was selected for a LEAD360 award from the Jefferson Awards Foundation, the nation's most prestigious and longest-standing organization dedicated to powering and celebrating public service. The award recognized the dedication of our student-athletes to community service.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the UA for its food diversion efforts, giving particular recognition to the student-formed Compost Cats.
See below for more stories about how the UA is achieving its land-grant mission, preparing students for the 21st century workforce, and making life better for the citizens of Arizona. Thank you for reading and for your support.
A number of students who were the first to attend UA Online – the UA's fully online university experience offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as graduate certificates – will receive their diplomas next month during the University's 152nd Commencement. Through exemplary online programs that incorporate innovative technologies and effective pedagogical approaches, UA Online gives students access to the world-class education offered at the UA no matter where their families and careers may take them.
UA researcher Melanie Hingle is using a grant from the National Institutes of Health to lead the design and implementation of a diabetes prevention program for children ages 9 to 12 and their families. The program is a partnership with the YMCA and will be offered at two YMCA locations, with a focus on kids who have at least one risk factor for diabetes. The hope is that the program eventually will be implemented at YMCA locations across the country.
The UA College of Pharmacy has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The award is given annually to a single college or school of pharmacy that demonstrates a major institutional commitment to addressing unmet community needs through education, practice and research.