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The University of Arizona (also referred to as UA, U of A, or Arizona) is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located in Tucson, Arizonamarker, United States. The University of Arizona was the first university in the state of Arizonamarker, founded in 1885 (twenty-seven years before the Arizona Territory achieved statehood). The University of Arizona includes the only medical school in Arizona that grants M.D. degrees. As of Fall 2007, total enrollment was 36,733 students. The University of Arizona is governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The mission of the University of Arizona is, "To discover, educate, serve, and inspire." Arizona is one of the elected members of the Association of American Universities (an organization comprised of North America's premier research institutions) and is the only representative from the state of Arizona to this group.


Old Main, the oldest building on the University of Arizona campus
The University of Arizona was approved by the Arizona Territory's Thieving Thirteenth Legislature in 1885. The city of Tucson had hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory's mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory's only university (Arizona State University was also chartered in 1885, but at the time it was created as Arizona's normal school, and not a university). Tucsonmarker's contingent of legislators was delayed in reaching Prescottmarker due to flooding on the Salt River and by the time they arrived back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had already been made. Tucson was largely disappointed at receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize. With no parties willing to step forth and provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land necessary to build the school. Classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, the first building constructed on campus, and still in use to this day.Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the University maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.
University of Arizona Mall
Wildcat Family Statue

A downturn in Arizona's economy in the 2000s led to less money being allocated by the state legislature to Arizona's universities. Academic programs were hard-hit, and the university was forced to consider extensive changes, beginning in 2002. As a result, a reorganization known as Focused Excellence aimed to focus the mission of the university on research, graduate training, and more selective undergraduate education, in part, by eliminating and merging less popular and low-revenue academic departments. The closure of some programs, notably the innovative Arizona International College and the School of Planning, provoked widespread protest. However, efforts to improve academic performance and to encourage new research areas were not enough to prevent a number of key departures from the faculty in the early 2000s, and budgets remain restricted. Focused Excellence was quietly wound up in 2006 and its website removed, but President Robert Shelton's Dec. 2006 message to the University suggested further retrenchment is essential in the light of funding cuts.


The University of Arizona offers 334 fields of study leading to bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees. Academic departments and programs are organized into colleges and schools. The university maintains a current list of colleges and schools at The University of Arizona is the only remaining Pac-10 conference school to not award plus and minus grades for courses. Currently, grades are given on a strict 4-point scale with "A" worth 4, "B" worth 3, "C" worth 2, "D" worth 1 and "E" worth zero points. Discussions with students and faculty may lead the UA toward using a plus-minus grading system in the future.


The Eller College of Management's programs in Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Management Information Systems, and Marketing are ranked in the nation's top 25 by U.S. News & World Report. The Masters in MIS program has been ranked in the top 5 by U.S. News & World Report since the inception of the rankings. The Eller MBA program has ranked among the top 50 programs for 11 straight years by U.S. News & World Report. In 2005 the MBA program was ranked 40th by U.S. News & World Report. Forbes Magazine ranked the Eller MBA program 33rd overall for having the best Return on Investment (ROI), in its fourth biennial rankings of business schools 2005. The MBA program was ranked 24th by The Wall Street Journal's 2005 Interactive Regional Ranking. The Eller College of Management McGuire Entrepreneurship program is currently the number 1 ranked undergraduate program in the country. This ranking was made by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. The Council for Aid to Education ranked the UA 12th among public universities and 24th overall in financial support and gifts. Campaign Arizona, an effort to raise over $1 billion USD for the school, exceeded that goal by $200 million a year earlier than projected. The National Science Foundation ranks UA 16th among public universities, and 26th among all universities nationwide in research funding.

The James E. Rogers College of Law was ranked 38th nationally by U.S. News & World Report in 2008. The Systems andIndustrial Engineering (SIE) Department is ranked 18th in the 'America's Best Graduate Schools 2006' by US News and World Report. The analytical chemistry program at UA is ranked 4th nationally by U.S. News & World Report (2006). The Geosciences program is ranked 7th nationally by U.S. News & World Report in 2006. The Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy is ranked 4th nationally by U.S. News & World Report in 2005. ThePhotography program is ranked 9th nationally, also by U.S. News & World Report in 2008. In its May 2009 issue,Playboy magazine ranked UA the fifth best party school in the nation.

In 2009, the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture's (CALA) undergraduate program in architecture has been ranked 12th in the nation for all universities, public and private, as reported in Design Intelligence®. The School of Landscape Architecture's graduate program has been ranked No. 1 in the Western United States. The 10th annual America's Best Architecture Schools study by the Design Futures Council ranks accredited undergraduate and graduate programs from the perspective of leading practitioners.


The UA is considered a "selective" university by U.S. News and World Report. In the fall semester of 2007, the UA matriculated 6,569 freshmen, out of 16,853 freshmen admitted, from an application pool of 21,199 applicants. The average person admitted to the university as a freshman in fall 2007 had a weighted GPA of 3.31 and an average score of 1102 out of 1600 on the SAT admissions test. Sixty-nine of these freshman students were National Merit Scholars.

UA students hail from all states in the U.S. While nearly 72% of students are from Arizonamarker, nearly 10% are from Californiamarker, followed by a significant student presence from Illinoismarker, Texasmarker, Washingtonmarker, and New York (2007). The UA has over 2,200 international students representing 122 countries. International students comprise approximately 6% of the total enrollment at UA.


Arizona is classified as a Carnegie Foundation "RU/VH: Research Universities (very high research activity)" university (formerly "Research 1" university). The university receives more than $500 million USD annually in research funding, generating around two thirds of the research dollars in the Arizona university system. 26th highest in the U.S. (including public and private institutions). The university has an endowment of $466.7 million USD as of 2006(2006 NACUBO Endowment Study).

UA is awarded more NASAmarker grants for space exploration than any other university nationally. The UA was recently awarded over $325 million USD for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA's 2007-08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic. The LPL's work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than that of any other university globally. The UA laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The UA operates theHiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. UA receives more NASAmarker grants annually than the next nine top NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratorymarker-funded universities combined. UA students have been selected as Flinn, Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, Fulbright, and National Merit. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UA is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

UA is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatorymarker located just outside of Tucson. UA is a member of the Association of American Universities, and the sole representative from Arizona to this group. Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatorymarker Mirror Lab at UA are working in concert to build the world's most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescopemarker, the instrument will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope. The telescope is set to be completed in 2016 at a cost of $500 million USD. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world's current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at UA and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chileanmarker Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Primary Investigator is scientist Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This NASAmarker mission to Mars carried a UA-designed camera expected to capture the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. The project is expected to be in its Primary Science Phase in the month of October. Currently operating on the surface of Mars is the Lander known as the Phoenix Scout Mission, led by UA Scientist Peter Smith. The mission's purpose is to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. After a successful landing on Mars in May 2008, it is the first NASA mission completely controlled by a university. The Arizona Radio Observatory, a part of Steward Observatorymarker, operates the 12 Meter Telescope on Kitt Peakmarker and theSubmillimeter Telescopemarker on Mount Grahammarker.


Entrance to the U of A main library
In 2005, the Association of Research Libraries, in its "Ranked Lists for Institutions for 2005" (the most recent year available), ranked the UA libraries as the 33rd overall university library in North America (out of 113) based on various statistical measures of quality; this is one rank below the library of Duke Universitymarker, one rank ahead of that of Northwestern Universitymarker. (both these schools are members, along with the UA, of the Association of American Universities).

As of 2009, the UA's library system contains over five million print volumes, 600,000 electronic books, and 54,000 electronic journals. The Main Library, opened in 1976, serves as the library system's reference, periodical, and administrative center; most of the main collections and special collections are housed here as well. The Main Library is located on the southeast quadrant of campus near McKale Centermarker and Arizona Stadiummarker.

In 2002, a $20 million, addition, the Integrated Learning Center (ILC), was completed; it is a home base for first-year students (especially those undecided on a major) which features classrooms, auditoriums, a courtyard with an alcove for vending machines, and a greatly expanded computer lab (the Information Commons) with several dozen Gateway and Apple Macintosh G5 workstations (these computers are available for use by the general public (with some restrictions) as well as by UA students, faculty and staff). Much of the ILC was constructed underground, underneath the east end of the Mall; the ILC connects to the basement floor of the Main Library through the Information Commons. As part of the project, additional new office space for the Library was constructed on the existing fifth floor.

The Science and Engineering Library is in a nearby building from the 1960s that houses volumes and periodicals from those fields. The Music Building (on the northwest quadrant of campus where many of the fine arts disciplines are clustered) houses the Fine Arts Library, including reference collections for architecture, music (including sheet music, recordings and listening stations), and photography. There is a small library at the Center for Creative Photography, also in the fine arts complex, devoted to the art and science of photography. The Law Library is in the law building.

The libraries at University of Arizona are expecting a 15 percent budget cut for the 2009 fiscal year. They will begin to explore the possibilities of cutting collections, staff, and face-to-face instruction. The staff is projected to decline from 180 employees to 155 employees. They also intend to cut a face-face instructional program that teaches students in English 101 and 102 how to navigate the library. This will now be taught online.

Academic organizations and centers

The University of Arizona Poetry Center is among the nation’s finest and most extensive collections of contemporary poetry. It is the largest such collection which is "open shelf".


Student Union, Old Main, and Forbes building.
The main campus sits on in central Tucson, about one mile (1.6 km) northeast of downtown. There are 179 buildings on the main campus. Many of the early buildings, including the Arizona State Museummarker buildings (one of them the 1927 main library) and Centennial Hall, were designed by Roy Place, a prominent Tucson architect. It was Place's use of red brick that set the tone for the red brick facades that are a basic and ubiquitous part of nearly all UA buildings, even those built in recent decades. Indeed, almost every UA building has red brick as a major component of the design, or at the very least, a stylistic accent to harmonize it with the other buildings on campus.

The campus is roughly divided into quadrants. The north and south sides of campus are delineated by a grassy expanse called the Mall, which stretches from Old Main eastward to the campus' eastern border at Campbell Avenue (a major north-south arterial street). The west and east sides of campus are separated roughly by Highland Avenue and the Student Union Memorial Center (see below).

The science and mathematics buildings tend to be clustered in the southwest quadrant; the intercollegiate athletics facilities to the southeast; the arts and humanities buildings to the northwest (with the dance department being a major exception as its main facilities are far to the east end of campus), with the engineering buildings in the north central area. The optical and space sciences buildings are clustered on the east side of campus near the sports stadiums and the (1976) main library.

Speedway Boulevard, one of Tucson's primary east-west arterial streets, traditionally defined the northern boundary of campus but since the 1980s, several university buildings have been constructed north of this street, expanding into a neighborhood traditionally filled with apartment complexes and single-family homes. The University has purchased a handful of these apartment complexes for student housing in recent years. Sixth Street typically defines the southern boundary, with single-family homes (many of which are rented out to students) south of this street.

Park Avenue has traditionally defined the western boundary of campus, and there is a stone wall which runs along a large portion of the east side of the street, leading to the old Main Gate, and into the driveway leading to Old Main. Along or adjacent to all of these major streets are a wide variety of retail facilities serving the student, faculty and staff population: shops, bookstores, bars, banks, credit unions, coffeehouses and major chain fast-food restaurants such as Burger King and Chick-fil-A. The area near University Boulevard and Park Avenue, near the Main Gate, has long been a major center of such retail activity; many of the shops have been renovated since the late 1990s and a nine-story Marriott hotel was built in this immediate district in 1996. The oldest campus buildings are located west of Old Main. Most of the buildings east of Old Main date from the 1940s to the 1980s, with a few recent buildings constructed in the years since 1990.

Student Union Memorial Center
The Student Union Memorial Center, located on the north side of the Mall east of Old Main, was completely reconstructed between 2000 and 2003, replacing a structure originally opened in 1951 (with additions in the 1960s). The new $60 million student union has of space on four levels, including 14 restaurants (including a food court with such national chains as Burger King, Panda Express, Papa John's Pizza and Chick-fil-A), a new two-level bookstore (that includes a counter for Clinique merchandise as well as an office supplies section sponsored by Staples with many of the same Staples-branded items found in their regular stores), 23 meeting rooms, eight lounge areas (including one dedicated to the USS Arizonamarker), a computer lab, a U.S. Post Office, a copy center named Fast Copy, and a video arcade. A bell housed on the USS Arizonamarker, one of the two bells rescued from the ship after the attack on Pearl Harbormarker, has a permanent home in the clock tower of the Student Union Memorial Center on campus. The bell first arrived on campus in July 1946. The bell is rung seven times on the third Wednesday of every month at 12:07 pm - symbolic of the battleship's sinking on Dec. 7, 1941 - to honor individuals at the UA, as well as after home football victories.

Much of the main campus has been designated an arboretum. Plants from around the world are labeled along a self-guided plant walk. The Krutch Cactus Garden includes the tallest Boojum tree in the state of Arizona. (The university also manages Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Parkmarker, located c. north of the main campus.) Two herbaria are located on the University campus and both are referred to as "ARIZ" in the Index Herbariorum

The Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, opened in 2003 (across the Mall from McKale Centermarker) as a dedicated performance venue for the UA's dance program, one of the most highly regarded university dance departments in the United States. Designed by Gould Evans, a Phoenix-based architectural firm, the theatre was awarded the 2003 Citation Award from the American Institute of Architectsmarker, Arizona Chapter.

The Berger Memorial Fountain at the west entrance of Old Main honors the UA students who lost their lives in World War I, and dates back to 1919.


The University of Arizona, like its sister institutions Arizona State Universitymarker and Northern Arizona Universitymarker, is governed by the Arizona Board of Regents or the ABOR, a 12-member body. According to information published by the ABOR office and available on their Web site, eight volunteer members are appointed by the Governor to staggered eight-year terms; two students serve on the Board for two-year appointments, with the first year being a nonvoting apprentice year. The Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction serve as voting ex-officio members. The ABOR provides "policy guidance" and oversight to the three major degree-granting universities, as provided for by Title 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

The current and 19th university president is Robert N. Shelton, whose term began in 2006. The former president, Peter Likins, vacated his post at the conclusion of the 2005–06 academic term. Notable past UA presidents include Likins, Manuel Pacheco (the first person of Hispanic descent to lead the university), Homer L. Shantz, Henry Koffler, John Schaefer, and Richard Harvill.


Like many large public universities in the U.S., sports are a major activity on campus, and receive a large operating budget. Arizona's athletic teams are nicknamed the Wildcats, a name derived from a 1914 football game with then Californiamarker champions Occidental Collegemarker, where the L.A. Times asserted that, "the Arizona men showed the fight of wildcats." The University of Arizona participates in the NCAA's Division I-A in the Pacific-10 Conference, which it joined in 1978.

Men's basketball

The men's basketball team has been one of the nation's most successful programs since Lute Olson was hired as head coach in 1983, and is still known as a national powerhouse in Division I men's basketball. As of 2009, the team has reached the NCAA Tournament 25 consecutive years, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillmarker had the longest streak with 27). The Wildcats have reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament in 1988, 1994, 1997, and 2001. In 1997, Arizona defeated the University of Kentucky, the defending national champions, to win the NCAA National Championship (NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship) by a score of 84–79 in overtime; Arizona's first national championship victory. The 1997 championship team became the first and only in NCAA history to defeat three number-one seeds en route to a national title (Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky—the North Carolina game being the final game for longtime UNC head coach Dean Smith). Point guard Miles Simon was chosen as 1997 Final Four MVP (Simon was also an assistant coach under Olson from 2005–08). The Cats also boast the third highest winning percentage over the last twenty years. Arizona has won a total of 21 conference championships in its' programs history. Since the institution of the two-round draft system in 1989 by the NBA, no school has had more draft picks than Arizona.

The Wildcats play their home games at the McKale Centermarker in Tucson. A number of former Wildcats have gone on to pursue successful professional NBA careers (especially during the Lute Olson era), including Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson, Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Sean Elliott, Damon Stoudamire, Luke Walton, Hassan Adams, Salim Stoudamire, Andre Iguodala, Channing Frye, Brian Williams (later known as Bison Dele), Sean Rooks, Jud Buechler, Michael Dickerson and Steve Kerr. Kenny Lofton, now best known as a former Major League Baseball star, was a four year letter winner as a Wildcat basketball player (and was on the 1988 Final Four team), before one year on the Arizona baseball team. Another notable former Wildcat basketball player is Eugene Edgerson, who played on the 1997 and 2001 Final Four squads, and is currently one of the primary stars of the Harlem Globetrotters as "Wildkat" Edgerson.

Before Lute Olson's hire in 1983, Arizona was the first major Division I school to hire an African American head coach in Fred Snowden, in 1972. After a 25-year tenure as Arizona head coach, Olson announced his retirement from the Arizona basketball program in October 2008. After two seasons of using interim coaches, Arizona named Sean Miller, head coach at Xavier University, as its new head basketball coach in April 2009.


Arizona Stadium
The football team began at The University of Arizona in 1899 under the nickname "Varsity" (a name kept until the 1914 season when the team was deemed the "Wildcats").

The football team was notably successful in the 1990s, under head coach Dick Tomey; his "Desert Swarm" defense was characterized by tough, hard-nosed tactics. In 1993, the team had its first 10-win season and beat the University of Miamimarker Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 29–0. It was the bowl game's only shutout in its then 23-year history. In 1998, the team posted a school-record 12–1 season and made the Holiday Bowl in which it defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Arizona ended that season ranked 4th nationally in the coaches and API poll. The 1998 Holiday Bowl was televised on ESPN and set the now-surpassed record of being the most watched of any bowl game in that network's history (the current record belongs to the 2005 Alamo Bowl between Michiganmarker and Nebraska). However, UA fans remain bitter that their Wildcats are the only Pac-10 team to have never played in the Rose Bowl. The program is led by Mike Stoops, brother of Bob Stoops, the head football coach at the University of Oklahomamarker.


The baseball team had its first season in 1904. The baseball team has captured three national championship titles in 1976, 1980, and 1986, all coached by Jerry Kindall. Arizona baseball teams have appeared in the NCAA National Championship title series a total of six times, including 1956, 1959, 1963, 1976, 1980, and 1986 (College World Series). The team is currently coached by Andy Lopez; aided by Assistant Coach Mark Wasikowski, Assistant Coach Jeff Casper and Volunteer Assistant Coach Keith Francis. Arizona baseball also has a student section named The Hot Corner. Famous UA baseball alums include Terry Francona, Kenny Lofton, Shelley Duncan, Trevor Hoffman, Mark Melancon, Chip Hale, Craig Lefferts, J. T. Snow, Don Lee, Carl Thomas, Mike Paul, Dan Schneider, Rich Hinton, Ed Vosberg, Hank Leiber, Ron Hassey, Brad Mills, and Joe Magrane.


The Arizona softball team is among the top programs in the country and a perennial powerhouse. The softball team has won eight NCAA Women's College World Series titles, in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2007 under head coach Mike Candrea (NCAA Softball Championship). Arizona defeated the University of Tennesseemarker in the 2007 National Championship series in Oklahoma Citymarker. The team has appeared in the NCAA National Championship in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2007 (a feat second only to UCLAmarker), and has reached the College World Series 19 of the past 20 years. Coach Candrea, along with former Arizona pitcher Jennie Finch, led the 2004 U.S. Olympic softball team to a gold medal in Athens, Greecemarker. The Wildcat softball team plays at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadiummarker.

Men's and women's golf

The university's golf teams have also been notably successful. The men's team won a national championship in 1992 (NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships), and has produced a number of successful professionals, most notably Jim Furyk. The women's team won national championships in 1996 and 2000 (NCAA Women's Golf Championship). Few if any women's golf programs can boast two more illustrious alumni than the Wildcats' two greatest products—Annika Sörenstam and Lorena Ochoa.

Men's lacrosse

The lacrosse team is a club team, not a varsity sport at Arizona, affectionately known as the “Laxcats”. Its existence, since the mid-sixties, is saturated with a rich tradition of success. In the 60’s, Arizona was a Division I Varsity program, coached by the legendary Carl Runk, an Arizona graduate and football player. In 1998 Carl retired after twenty-eight years at Towson Universitymarker in Marylandmarker. The most well known player to graduate from that era was a skinny, feisty goalie named Jerry Rivers.


Many other Wildcats have met with success at the University. Alix Creek and Michelle Oldham won the NCAA Women's Doubles Tennis title in 1993, defeating Texas in the Final. Although surprising to some, the University of Arizona has a noteworthy history in ice hockey. The school's club hockey team, known as the Icecats, has won over 600 games since its inception in 1978. The Icecats defeated Penn Statemarker for the National Collegiate Club Hockey National Championship in 1985. They are now part of ACHA Division I. Robert M. Tanita was a nationally ranked collegiate wrestler who reached the NCAA finals tournament as WAC champion in 1963.

Three national championships for synchronized swimming were won in 1980, 1981, and 1984, though these championships were in the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, and not the NCAA. Along with winning three national championships in the pool for synchronized swimming, the Wildcats have also won their first NCAA Championship in men and women’s swimming and diving for the seasons of 2007–2008. Topping off these weekends Frank Busch, the men and women’s head coach, was named NCAA Swimming Coach of the Year. Arizona men became the first team to claim a first-time title since UCLA’s win in 1982. Also, the men ended Texas and Auburn’s winning streak since 1998. At the end of the meet, University of Texasmarker took second while 2007’s champion, Auburn Universitymarker, took fifth. For the women, Arizona worked on the disappointment of 2007’s defeat. The women were winning until the last day when Auburn grasped the title. Unlike 2007, Arizona’s women did not let anyone come close. The Wildcats won with 484 team points while Auburn Universitymarker came in second with 348 and Stanford Universitymarker in third with 343.

Individual national championships

A number of notable individuals have also won national championships in the NCAA. These include Amanda Beard in 2001 for swimming and Annika Sörenstam in 1991 in golf. The men's cross country has also produced two individual national titles in 1986 (Aaron Ramirez) and 1994 (Martin Keino) (NCAA Men's Cross Country Champions). The women's cross country also produced two individual national titles in 1996 (Amy Skieresz) and 2001 (Tara Chaplin) (NCAA Women's Cross Country Championship). Another notable individual was football standout Vance Johnson who won the NCAA long jump in 1982.Arizona's first NCAA Individual Champion in the sport of swimming came in 1989 when Mariusz Podkoscielny swimming won the 1650-yard (mile) at the NCAA National Championships held at the IUPUI Natatorium.


A strong athletic rivalry exists between the University of Arizona and Arizona State Universitymarker located in Tempemarker. The UA leads the all-time record against ASU in men's basketball (138-73), football (44–35–1), and baseball (224–189–1) as of January 2006. The football rivalry game between the schools is known as "The Duel in the Desert." The trophy awarded after each game, the Territorial Cup, is the nation's oldest rivalry trophy, distinguished by the NCAA. Rivalries have also been created with other Pac-10 teams, especially University of California, Los Angelesmarker which has provided a worthy softball rival and was Arizona's main basketball rival in the early and mid-1990s.


The University mascot is an anthropomorphized wildcat named Wilbur. The identity of Wilbur is kept secret through the year as the mascot appears only in costume. In 1986, Wilbur married his longtime wildcat girlfriend, Wilma. Together, Wilbur and Wilma appear along with the cheerleading squad at most Wildcat sporting events. Arizona's first mascot was a real desert bobcat named "Rufus Arizona", introduced in 1915.

Wilbur was originally created by Bob White as a cartoon character in the University's humor magazine, Kitty Kat. From 1915 through the 1950s the school mascot was a live bobcat, a species known locally as a wildcat. This succession of live mascots were known by the common name of Rufus Arizona, originally named after Rufus von Kleinsmid, president of the university from 1914 to 1921. 1959 marked the creation of the first incarnated Wilbur, when University student John Paquette and his roommate, Dick Heller, came up with idea of creating a costume for a student to wear. Ed Stuckenhoff was chosen to wear the costume at the homecoming game in 1959 against Texas Tech and since then it has become a long-standing tradition. Wilbur will celebrate his 50th birthday in November 2009.

Fight song

In 1952 Jack K. Lee, an applicant for the UA's band directorship, departed Tucson by air following an interview with UA administration. From his airplane window, Lee observed the huge letters on the roof of the UA gymnasium reading "BEAR DOWN." Inspired, Lee scribbled down the music and lyrics to an up-tempo song. By the time his plane landed, he had virtually finished it. A few weeks later Lee was named the UA band director, and in September 1952, the UA band performed "Bear Down, Arizona!" in public for the first time. Soon thereafter, "Bear Down, Arizona!" became accepted as UA's fight song (Bear Down).
Zona Zoo during homecoming

Zona Zoo

The Official Student Section and Student Ticketing Program for University of Arizona Athletics

Officially implemented in 2003, Zona Zoo is the official student section and student ticketing program for the University of Arizona Athletics. The Zona Zoo program is co-owned by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) and Arizona Athletics, the program is run by a team of spirited individuals called the Zona Zoo Crew. Zona Zoo is one of the largest and most spirited student sections in NCAA Division I Athletics.

Notable venues

The McKale Centermarker, which opened in 1973, is currently used by men's and women's basketball, women's gymnastics, and women's volleyball. The official capacity has changed often. The largest crowd to see a game in McKale was 15,176 in 1976 for a game against the University of New Mexicomarker, a main rival during that period. In 2000, the floor in McKale was dubbed Lute Olson Court, for the basketball program's winningest coach. During a memorial service in 2001 for Lute's wife, Bobbi, who died after a battle with ovarian cancer, the floor was renamed Lute and Bobbi Olson Court. In addition to the playing surface, McKale Center is host to the offices of the UA athletic department. McKale Center is named after J.F. Pop McKale, who was athletic director and coach from 1914 through 1957. Joe Cavaleri ("The Ooh-Aah Man") made his dramatic and inspiring appearances there. Arizona Stadiummarker, built in 1928 and last expanded in 1976, seats over 56,000 patrons. It hosts American football games and has also been used for university graduations. The turf is bermuda grass, taken from the local Tucson National Golf Club. Arizona football's home record is 258-139-12. The largest crowd ever in Arizona Stadium was 59,920 in 1996 for a game against Arizona State University. Jerry Kindall Fieldmarker at Frank Sancet Stadium hosts baseball games. Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadiummarker hosts softball games.

Student life

Recognized fraternities and sororities of the Greek System

There are currently (2005) 44 fraternity and sorority chapters that are recognized by the University of Arizona. As of 2006, approximately 10.3% of male UA students were members of campus fraternities, and 10.8% of female students were members of sororities. The fraternities and sororities are governed by 4 governing councils. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) represents 25 fraternities, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) represents 6 historically African-American fraternities and sororities, the Panhellenic Association (PHC) represents 20 sororities and the United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC) represents 10 multicultural and multi-interest Greek organizations. Delta Chi Lambda is an Asian American sorority that was originally founded at the University of Arizona in 2000.

Recognized student clubs and organizations

As mentioned earlier, a new and expansive Student Union building, opened in 2003; it is the largest student union in the U.S. not affiliated with a hotel. The University of Arizona is home to more than 500 philanthropic, multi-cultural, social, athletic, academic, and student clubs and campus organizations. A listing is found at Center For Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) through the Student Union. CSIL also houses the Arizona Blue Chip Program one of the largest collegiate-level leadership development programs in the United States, with over 500 active students at any one time throughout the 4 years of the program. Blue Chip was founded in 1999 and has formed a partnership with the University of Wollongongmarker, in Wollongongmarker, Australia where a sister program, the Black Opal Leadership Development Program began in February, 2005. Structure, curriculum, students and even staff are exchanged between the two institutions in a unique international leadership development initiative. Through funding from the CSIL and the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, clubs are given the resources and encouragement to explore unusual interests.

Performance groups

The campus comedy group, Comedy Corner is a sketch and improv comedy group at the University of Arizona. Started in 1979 by Adam Goldstein, it claims to be the nation's oldest weekly college sketch and improv comedy group, though in recent years it has branched out into doing previously videotaped comedy bits and shorts as well. Comedy Corner was the first documented college sketch comedy troupe to incorporate improvisation into its weekly shows, a practice that has become more common in recent years.


At the beginning of each school year, freshmen repaint the "A" on "A" Mountainmarker, and since 1914 the "A" remains a Tucsonmarker and Wildcat landmark. The "A" is now painted Red, White and Blue until all troops in foreign wars steming from the September 11 attacks return home. This was passed by the ASUA student government body shortly after the war in Afghanistan began in 2001. Later in the school year, Spring Fling, the largest student-run carnival in the U.S., has been held annually by UA students since 1975.

Marching band

The University of Arizona marching band, named The Pride of Arizona. It played at the halftime of the first Super Bowl.

School colors

The current school colors are UA red and UA blue, recognized in the Pantone Matching System, with the PMS number 200 and 281, repectively. In CMYK system, process color for the UA red is C: 0 M:100 Y:65 K:15, and C:100 M:72 Y:0 K:38 for the UA blue. Before 1900, the colors were sage green and silver. The switch was made when a lucrative discount on red and blue jerseys became available.

Student government representation

Overall, students at the University of Arizona have been represented by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) since 1913. Every year (usually in March), the students elect 10 Senators At-Large, an Administrative Vice President, an Executive Vice President and President to 1-year terms. The ASUA oversees the ZonaZoo program, UA Spring Fling and administrative oversight for the nearly 500 student clubs on campus. The organization appoints 4 Directors to serve on the student funded and led Arizona Students' Association. Each of the 10 Senators and all Administrative Officers also are appointed to serve on the various University of Arizona Faculty and Administrative Committees.

In 1997, the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) split from the ASUA and has since become thede-facto body to represent issues specific to graduate and professional students. Each year (usually in late March or early April), the graduate and professional students elect 30 representatives by constituency in accordance to College graduate and/or professional student population, with three of those representatives elected at large. The Vice President and President are also elected at large by the graduate and professional student body. Much like ASUA, the GPSC appoints representatives to serve on various University of Arizona Faculty and Administrative Committees and 1 Director to serve on the Arizona Students' Association.

On-Campus residents also have their own Student Leadership Organization known as the Hall Association. Anyone who lives on campus is automatically a member of RHA. The individual subunits of RHA consist of the hall councils of all 21 residence halls. Each Hall Council is composed of a President, a Director of Programming (for social events), a Director of Operations (for administrative duties), a Director of Sustainability (for recycling duties), and two RHA Representatives who are sent to represent their hall at RHA General Body Meetings. At these meetings, the gathered representatives and RHA Executive Board, elected from within the RHA General Body, discuss issues and make decisions concerning all 6,000 on campus residents. The RHA Executive Board consists of 7 different elected positions (President, Vice President of Public Relations, National Communications Coordinator, Vice President of Finances, Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Services, and Vice President of Programming) along with an appointed Parliamentarian position and an advisor known as the Coordinator for Student Leadership.

The University of Arizona Residence Hall Association has hosted 3 regional IACURH Residence Hall Conferences, which were hosted in 1961, 1997, and 2004. In 2005, the University of Arizona's Residence Hall Association was voted by NACURH (National Association of College and University Residence Halls) as the National School of the Year out of over 400 schools across the United States. In May 2009, the University of Arizona hosted the NACURH National Residence Hall Conference (also hosted in 1963), bringing more than 2,200 on-campus residents from over 250 schools across the United States and Canada for 3 days of school spirit and residential education. The conference theme (Our Place in Time) focused on sustainability and social justice within the residence halls.

Arizona in film and literature

The University has made itself known through many films and television appearances. The film Revenge of the Nerds (1984) was filmed at the University of Arizona. In the movie, the Alpha Beta "jock" house is the real-life home to the UA chapter of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, formerly home to the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. The dorm room (with the balcony) seen in the film is located on the third floor of historic Cochise Hall on campus. When the characters are moving in at the beginning of the movie, the dorm behind the post office drop is Yuma Hall. In the 1994 film Speed, Dennis Hopper refers to Sandra Bullock's character as a Wildcat because of the emblem on her sweater. In the 1989 film "Leviathan", Peter Weller's character, Steven Beck, frequently wears an Arizona Wildcats hat. In the 2006 film You, Me and Dupree, produced by Arizona Alum Scott Stuber, several characters are watching the Arizona Wildcats play football against Washington State Universitymarker. While playing in their blue uniforms, Arizona scores on a fumble recovery. The film Eating Out was shot around the University of Arizona campus in Tucson. An episode of Little House on the Prairie, entitled "A Wiser Heart," used Old Main as a prominent backdrop throughout. The final scene of the film Night of the Lepus (1972) features views of the University.In the film The Twilight Saga: New Moon Charlie Swan is watching the Wildcats play football on TV.

The University has also been the setting for portions of David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest takes place at the University of Arizona campus, including a scene in the administration building satirizing the school's bureaucracy. Wallace was an alumnus of UA.

Notable alumni and staff

Notable alumni include a former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, the former U.S. Surgeon General, the creator of the television series "Sesame Street" and founder of the Children's Television Workshop, the owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Major League Baseball team, and several NASAmarker astronauts. Nobel laureates on the faculty include two members of the College of Optical Sciences: Dr. Nicolaas Bloembergen (Physics, 1981) and Dr. Willis E. Lamb (Physics, 1955). The UA has eight Pulitzer Prize winners (alumni and faculty), and more than 50 faculty as elected members of exclusive academies including Britain's Royal Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciencesmarker, among others. Two current UA professors were also recently named to Popular Science magazine's list of "Brilliant 10."

See also


  1. University of Arizona (Rogers) - Law -Best Graduate Schools - Education - US News and World Report
  2. "Top Party Schools 2009," Playboymagazine, May 2009.
  4. "The Big Build-Up", Margaret Regan, Tucson Weekly, October 12, 2000
  5. "UA buildings ditch red brick to symbolize, inspire, teach", Tom Beal, Arizona Daily Star, April 29, 2007
  6. [1]
  8. "Past Presidents of The University of Arizona", from UA Office of the President website. Retrieved December 3, 2008.
  9. via Associated Press. "HUSKIES PUMPED UP AFTER UPSET OVER NO. 7 ARIZONA", Rocky Mountain News, January 18, 1992. Accessed March 6, 2009. "The downtrodden Washington Huskies are off to a 2-0 start while coach Lute Olson's perennial powerhouse Arizona Wildcats are 1-2. So what's going on?"
  10. UAB Comedy Corner | arizona student unions

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