It was the summer of 1963 when Dick and June Scobee and their 2-year-old daughter Kathie arrived at a red-brick rental house on Mountain Avenue. The location was convenient: Dick could walk the five blocks to his aerospace engineering classes. From those classes, Scobee embarked on a long trajectory into space, where the United States needed him to help catch up with the Russians. 

It’s no secret that planet Earth has a trash problem. What’s less well-known is the man-made debris orbiting our planet — discarded rocket parts, satellite antennas and other metal scraps hurtling through space at 17,500 mph. These objects are missiles in the making, and a collision could jeopardize everything from GPS satellites to the International Space Station. 

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy famously declared that Americans would walk on the moon by the end of the decade. But at the time, scientists couldn’t say for sure whether the moon’s surface was solid or just a thick layer of dust. While NASA engineers focused on building rockets, scientists scrambled to map the moon, send robotic probes to its surface and select astronaut landing sites.

The first museum that painter Joe Forkan ’89 ever visited was the University of Arizona Museum of Art — the UAMA.

He was a teenager at the time, a high school student in a rough part of Tucson. But he liked art, and one day he took himself to the museum. 

“There was a beautiful Hopper on the wall,” Forkan reminisced recently, just before the museum opened a major solo exhibit of his work. “There was a Pollock, a Rothko.” 

The panels along the north wall of Hillenbrand Aquatic Center tell the distinguished history — in names, events, times and years — of the Arizona swimming and diving program.

When we catch up with Bryan Carter, he’s in Paris.

In real life.

In talking about Carter, UA assistant professor of Africana Studies and intrepid trekker of the digital universe, that’s a critical distinction.

Dark clouds kept Staff Sgt. Travis Baldwin on the alert in Iraq. As a military weather forecaster, he had to help Army helicopters stay safe, and dark clouds could mean deadly conditions.

“A lot of dust storms,” he recalls. “It was nasty.”
In Afghanistan and Germany, he had more time to watch storms — and make plans for his future. He set himself a goal: get a university degree in meteorology by age 30.

On a sunny afternoon in late February, three dozen dancers careened across the floor in the airy upstairs studio of the UA’s Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. 

“You’re floating here, like dust,” Yaniv Abraham called out in a soft Israeli accent as he spun across the room with the students, leaping, twisting, and turning. “It’s like flying in the air.” 

His co-teacher, Guy Shomroni, gave his own instructions to the soaring students. “Soft, but physical,” he said. “Even in the biggest jump you’re going to remain soft.” 

When W. James Burns ’92 switched his major to history as an undergrad at the University of Arizona, his adviser wanted to know what the young man planned to do after college.  

Burns wasn’t sure. The adviser, history professor Jack Marietta, now retired, pointed to a chart on his office wall that he kept for just such occasions.  

“It was titled, ‘Careers in History,’” recalls Burns. “I read down the list and saw ‘museum curator.’ I liked that idea.”

So Marietta dispatched Burns to the Arizona State Museum across the grassy UA Mall from the history department.  


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