The University of Arizona community is celebrating the successful launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which cemented the UA's position as a world leader in space sciences and exploration. The entire campus is so proud of the faculty, staff, and students who put in years of hard work to make this happen. And judging from the amazing turnouts at the launch in Florida and the launch-watching party on campus, I know we are joined by people across the nation and the world who will be watching as the spacecraft zooms toward Bennu.
Partnerships are incredibly important as the UA works to tackle grand challenges through education, research, and outreach. The OSIRIS-REx mission is no exception, and the scope of collaboration necessary to bring the launch to fruition is stunning. Led by the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL), and – at $800 million – the largest grant in UA history, the mission also included scientific instruments and other contributions from many partners:
Three new cameras from LPL and the UA College of Optical Sciences that included:
MapCam – a camera that will map the surface of the asteroid in four colors.
PolyCam – an 8-inch telescope that will be the first to image the asteroid from 1.24 million miles away and provide high-resolution microscope-like images of the surface.
SamCam – a camera that will image the sample acquisition to verify successful acquisition.
A thermal emission spectrometer from Arizona State University
A visible and infrared spectrometer from the Goddard Space Flight Center
A laser altimeter from the Canadian Space Agency
And a Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer student experiment provided by MIT and Harvard
The UA is also world-renowned for the Eller College of Management. In U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges 2017" guide, Eller's management information systems program is ranked No. 1 among public universities. Among all universities, it moved up one place from last year to No. 3, trailing only MIT and Carnegie Mellon University. Eller's McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship placed at No. 7 overall. And in the guide's rankings of universities, the UA was No. 60 among public universities, maintaining the University's position as the top-ranked college in the state of Arizona.
A few other recent news items I would like to share:
The UA College of Medicine – Tucson has received a $7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a five-year study to investigate the interrelationship of genetic mediators to reduce lung inflammation and attacks in asthma patients.
Acclaimed poet Claudia Rankine spoke at the UA on Friday. Her book, Citizen: An American Lyric, is the only poetry volume to make The New York Times nonfiction best-sellers list.
The UA has helped launch a service that's all about farmers' markets. LocalFresh is a website that connects Arizonans with farmers' markets and ranchers in their area. In addition to providing descriptions of farmers' markets and ranches around the state, the website allows users to search by the type of food they would like to buy.
This weekend, we were honored to welcome Lauren Bruner, one of six remaining survivors from the USS Arizona, for the Arizona football game against Hawaii, where the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was commemorated. We have many more anniversary-related activities planned this fall. You can find out more here.
Finally, I want to note that all of the UA's impact, from space exploration to healthcare in Arizona, is part of our mission to serve our state and its citizens. The UA's original model for partnering, Cooperative Extension, is a wonderfully important example, and while most people are aware of the work that Cooperative Extension does to help the state's farmers and ranchers, they might not know about other programs like vision and hearing screenings for children. For a little girl in Pinal County, one of those screenings revealed a serious vision impairment, and thanks to that intervention she has been transformed from a child with a fuzzy view of the world into one of the top readers in her first-grade class. Her story, which you can read here, is a reminder that impact for a single person can be as important as our most ambitious global endeavors.
Thank you for reading. Your support of the University of Arizona is invaluable.
Like a candle burning brightly in the evening sky, an Atlas V rocket successfully launched the latest chapter in the UA's rich history of planetary science. After 12 long years that included two failed proposals with NASA and the untimely death of the project's principal investigator, the spacecraft for the UA-led OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission left the planet last week, headed for an asteroid known as Bennu.
For children dealing with cancer and other serious conditions, hospitalizations and outpatient treatment can mean months of missed school days. But for the young patients at Diamond Children's, staying on track academically will be much easier thanks to the new Hospital School Program. Launched this fall, the program provides a full-time education specialist to help children stay current with their schoolwork. Eventually, the program will provide additional support through internships for College of Education graduate students.
Some experience necessary? That might be a problem for students at other universities, but not for graduates of the UA. As part of 100% Engagement, programs across campus work to place students in internships and then guide them through internship experiences. With opportunities for Wildcats at places like the United Nations, Nike and 20th Century Fox, the UA is ensuring that students are competitive for positions as soon as they graduate.