One of the best things about working at the University of Arizona is that every day is different. I am fortunate to regularly cross paths with innovative faculty and engaged students who are coming up with unique solutions to our most pressing problems.
Another great part of life here at the UA is that our work brings the campus community together around a set of wonderful traditions. The official opening of Old Main this past Wednesday was a reminder of our shared heritage, and another of my favorite UA traditions starts today: Family Weekend. Over the course of three days, we're giving parents and siblings of UA students a chance to explore and experience life on campus through events that include golf tournaments, chili cook-offs, and fitness classes. Of course, no Family Weekend would be complete without a football game. We're all especially proud to welcome the No. 10 Wildcats back home to Arizona Stadium, where they'll take on USC tomorrow night.
We also have much happening with the advancement of our academic goals. Last month, the Arizona Board of Regents approved plans to establish the state's first public veterinary medical and surgical program, an effort that has been made possible through a foundational gift of $9 million from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation. The regents also approved the UA's request to enter into revised agreements with the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization. The UA is a critical partner in the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, which will be built in Chile, and will become the world’s largest land-based telescope.
In addition to these important developments, we recently announced a gift of more than $50 million that will go toward the establishment of an endowment in support of a program focused on environment, society, and the Southwest. The gift was made by the estate of Agnese Nelms Haury and is one of the largest in the history of the University.
All of these developments are helping us fulfill the UA's land-grant mission to educate students who will be productive members of the workforce, to support economic and community development in Arizona, and to create partnerships that build community well-being and economic prosperity regionally and globally.
I invite you to read the stories below to learn about more ways we are meeting that mission.
Through trainings and mock scenarios, the Mountain West Preparedness & Emergency Response Learning Center at the University of Arizona's Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health helps prepare organizations for emergencies. Since it was established in 2005, the center has trained thousands of people in the health care workforce, including state, county and tribal health departments in Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.
This week, the UA hosted the 16th annual North American Higher Education Conference, which looked at historic and emerging synergies among higher education, government and business. It also focused on how to better leverage those synergies to address global challenges. The conference is one of several events the UA has held over the last few months to help fulfill its mission as a global land-grant university.
Associate professor Susan Shaw is among the UA social scientists working to explore how technology and social media are revolutionizing modern-day community-based movements around social justice and other issues. They've uncovered some interesting findings, including a move away from single-issue movements to more unified efforts, and the role technology is playing in the development, growth and sustainability of these movements.