University of Arizona

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Template:Infobox American Universities

The University of Arizona is an institution of higher learning located in Tucson, Arizona. In 2002, total enrollment was 36,847 students.

Academically, the U of A is strong in many areas, and is particularly well known in the areas of optical science, management information science, hydrology, anthropology, and astronomy. Arizona is classified as a Carnegie Foundation "Doctoral/Research Universities—Extensive" university, and has excellent facilities, particularly in the sciences and engineering disciplines. The university is also home to Arizona's only medical school. Additionally, the university is a member of the Association of American Universities and a land-grant university. Nobel Prizewinning faculty include two members of the Department of Optical Sciences: Dr. Nicolaas Bloembergen (Physics, 1981) and Dr. Willis E. Lamb (Physics, 1955).

The current and 18th university president is Peter Likins, whose term began in 1997.



The University of Arizona was approved by the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1885. Ironically, the city of Tucson had hoped to receive the appropriation for the state's mental hospital, which carried a sum of money slightly larger than the $25,000 allotted to the state's only university (Arizona State University was founded at the same time, but it was created as the state's normal school). Tucson, having a smaller contingent of legislators than cities like Prescott and Phoenix, ended up with last pick and got the university, which disappointed city residents. With no one willing to step forth to provide land for the institution, the citizens of the city prepared to return the money to the territory 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.


Like many large public universities in the USA, sports are a major activity on campus, and receive a large operating budget (sometimes disproportionate, academics argue, although the athletic department has been self suficient since the early part of this century). Arizona's sports teams are called the Wildcats. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Pacific Ten Conference.

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. Since then, the team has had 18 consecutive 20-win seasons, and reached the NCAA Tournament 21 years in a row, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (University of North Carolina, 27). Lute has taken the Wildcats to the Final Four 4 times. In 1997, Arizona beat the defending champion, the University of Kentucky Wildcats, to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

The football team was somewhat successful in the 90s under head coach Dick Tomey and his "Desert Swarm" defense that was characterized by tough, hard-nosed tactics. In 1998, the team posted a school-record 12-1 season and made the Holiday Bowl in which they defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Arizona ended the season ranked #3 nationally and #2 in several publications.

The baseball team won several national championships in the 70s and 80s (1976, 1980, and 1986) and the softball team is typically ranked as one of the best in the nation. The softball team has won six Women's College World Series titles, in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, and 2001.

The golf team has also been quite successful. The men's team won a championship in 1992, while the women's team won championships in 1996 and 2000.

Three 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.

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.


A strong academic and athletic rivalry exists between the University of Arizona and Arizona State University located in Tempe. Rivalries have also been created with other Pac-10 teams especially University of California, Los Angeles which has provided a worthy softball rival and was Arizona's main basketball rival in the early and mid-90s.


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.


McKale Center, 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 Mexico, a main rival in that period. In 2000, the floor in McKale was dubbed Lute Olson Court, for the basketball team's winningest coach. During a memorial service in 2001 for Lute's wife, Bobbi, who'd passed away 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 U of A athletic department. McKale Center is named after J.F. Pop McKale, who was athletic director and coach from 1914 through 1957.

Arizona Stadium, built in 1928, seats over 56,000 patrons. It hosts football games and has also been used for university graduations. It is consistently said that the field is one of the best in the United States to play football on. The turf is bermuda grass, taken from the local Tucson National Golf Club. Sports Illustrated rated it as one of the top two turfs in Sports Illustrated in 1986. 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 ASU.

Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium hosts baseball games.

Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium hosts softball games.

Academic subdivisions

The University of Arizona's academic departments and programs are organized into colleges and schools. Typically, schools are largely independent or separately important from their parent college. In addition, not all schools are a part of a college. The university maintains a current list of colleges and schools at

Campus museums

For current museum hours, fees, and directions see "campus visitor's guide" in the external links.

  • 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[1] ( (The university also manages Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, located c. 85 miles 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 University of Arizona Herbarium - contains roughly 400,000 specimens of plants.
    • The Robert L. Gilbertson Mycological Herbarium - contains more than 40,000 specimens of fungi.
  • The Center for Creative Photography features rotating exhibits. The permanent collection includes over 70,000 photos.
  • UA Museum of Art.
  • The Arizona Historical Society is located one block west of campus.

Current state of the university

  • A downturn in Arizona's economy in the 2000s, coupled to more severe impacts following the September 11, 2001 attacks, led to less money being allocated from state revenues 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" aims 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. There are plans to restrict undergraduate entry to the more able students, thus distinguishing the university from its larger competitor, Arizona State University. However efforts to improve academic performance and to encourage new research areas were not enough to stem a number of key departures from the academic staff in the early 2000s, and budgets are still tight.
  • Additionally, 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. This creates demands by students on academic staff to award "A"s and "B" grades, so that their overal GPAs do not suffer. Discussions with students and faculty may lead the U of A towards using a plus-minus grading system in the future. Administrators say that the change could occur as early as Fall 2006. [2] (
  • Uncertainty currently surrounds the future of common commencement ceremonies for the entire student body. Critics of the large ceremony argue that the event has become marred by misbehavior of graduates; the administration has vowed to cancel undergraduate commencement in favor of individual college convocations if behavior does not improve. Partially at issue is the tradition in which graduates fling tortillas into the air (in a manner similar to throwing mortarboards) during the ceremony. Critics of this behavior argue it is disruptive, potentially dangerous, offensive to Mexican-Americans, and insensitive to the plight of the hungry and needy. Proponents of tortilla throwing argue it is a harmless and fun tradition.[3] ( The future of commencement ceremonies at the University of Arizona will remain uncertain pending the decision of the university administration.

Recognized fraternities and sororities

There are currently (2005) 44 fraternity and sorority chapters that are recognized by the University of Arizona. The fraternities and sororities are governed by 3 governing councils. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) represents 20 fraternities, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) represents 6 historically African-American fraternities and sororities, and the Panhellenic Association (PHC) represents 18 sororities. The university maintains a full list of recognized fraternities and sororities as well as a map that highlights the locations of fraternity and sorority houses at

Recognized clubs and organizations

A very impressive Student Union building [4] (, one of the largest in the nation, opened in 2003. The University of Arizona is home to more than 500 philanthropic, multi-cultural, social, atheltic, academic, and elite student clubs and campus organizations. A listing is found at Center For Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) (, through the Student Union.

The large size of the university and a generally student-friendly administration provides for an environment where many diverse and unique clubs can thrive. Through funding from the CSIL and the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, clubs are given the resources and encouragement to explore unsual interests.

Student representation

The students at the University of Arizona have, since 1917, been represented by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, or ASUA. Representation is elected by the students every year (usually in March).


The University of Arizona is called Arizona nałtsoos ízisgo baa ótad in Western Apache, a language spoken in Arizona.

On April 24, 2005, an article by John Merrow entitled The Undergraduate Experience: Survival of the Fittest appeared in the New York Times. The article presented the disadvantages that some freshman and poorly performing students face at large educational institutions such as the University of Arizona. The University of Arizona administration has responded to the negative publicity of the article on the basis of facts and on the grounds that the article does not accurately depict the typical experience of most university students. The article takes exception to the University's size and population by criticizing the admission of 83% of applicants to the University. The article also criticizes large class sizes and resulting virtual anonymity of the students in these classes. In contrast to the picture presented by the New York Times article, the University of Arizona admissions office website reports that less than 4% of classes are larger than 100 students and the average class size is 29.[5] (

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

Notable faculty and staff

Notable alumni

External links

Template:Pacific Ten Conferenceja:アリゾナ大学 sv:University of Arizona


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