Dear Arizona Wildcats,
Welcome home to the University of Arizona! For our returning students, I hope you had an enjoyable and productive summer, and to the new members of our university family, I hope you are excited to begin one of the richest and most invigorating experiences of your life. It was a warm summer here in Tucson, as those of you who were here know very well, but even with the heat we have been busy transforming the University to prepare for your arrival and to prepare for what I believe will be one of the best years in its distinguished history.
Some of these changes will be evident the minute you walk on campus: Old Main is undergoing major renovation and restoration to ensure that it remains a beacon of our Wildcat pride for many years to come. The Lowell-Stevens Football Facility in the North End Zone of Arizona Stadium will be open soon and will make game day even more exciting as you help to cheer on our Wildcats.
Other changes may not be as obvious, but will bring even more opportunities and resources to you during your time here on campus. As some of you know, the University has recently completed a year-long study and created a new strategic plan, Never Settle. This plan will guide our work and elevate our beloved UA’s position as one of the top public research universities in the world.
A key part of this plan is our 100 percent Engagement initiative. This initiative will provide each of you the opportunity for a learning experience that integrates and applies the knowledge you are working to master so that when you graduate you will be positioned for lifelong success and fulfillment. You have many resources at your fingertips as a UA student that will help you succeed. There are far too many to describe here, but I want to mention a few that students have told me are especially helpful or exciting.
The UA has excellent resources to help you master important skills and expand your horizons. The Think Tank tutoring center and Writing Skills Improvement Program are good places to find help from student and professional tutors, and Honors College general education classes will push you to reach greater levels of insight and knowledge.
Our student organizations give you the chance to get involved on campus and around Tucson. Last spring the Up ‘til Dawn letter-writing event raised nearly $97,000 to help the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fight childhood cancer. Our students were recognized for their success at the hospital’s Collegiate Leadership Seminar in July when the UA campaign was named the 2012-2013 Up ‘til Dawn Program of the Year.
Finally, our world-class faculty members give you access to ever-expanding opportunities for real-world applications of what you learn in the classroom. Last year more than 30 UA students worked with top scientists and researchers on the OSIRIS REx mission, which will send a spacecraft to an asteroid in 2020.
In the English department, 25 business writing students from majors all over campus worked collaboratively with judges, lawyers and advocates in the Pima County Juvenile Court Center to redesign the court’s informational brochures and welcome packets for children and families. Every major and every department on campus has similar opportunities, and I encourage you to seek out experiences that will continue to open doors throughout the rest of your life.
As our next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, thinkers and doers, you will change the real world in real time, both here at the UA and after you graduate. Whatever you decide to pursue this year, I hope you do it with enthusiasm and passion, knowing that you have the full support of faculty and staff.
Every new school year brings new discoveries and new experiences, and every year I am in awe of what students can do. As we look forward to the coming semester, I can’t wait to see what all of you will accomplish.
Ann Weaver Hart