It is often through adversity that our best innovation arises. It is no surprise, then, that our core values of exploration and adaptation were as much a feature of the pandemic as compassion and determination.
In this issue of Arizona Alumni Magazine, you will find many stories about ways in which our innovative Wildcat community embodies these values. You might have seen “Rutherford Falls,” a new show created by our alumna Sierra Teller Ornelas. If you streamed any original films on Netflix during the pandemic, you likely experienced our alumnus Scott Stuber’s keen eye for good storytelling. And, on campus, university researchers are bringing their lab discoveries into the world — from implantable cataract replacement lenses to sustainable microalgae products.
The work of these incredible faculty is just scratching the surface of our research and development enterprise. We just achieved our Arizona Board of Regents goal of $750 million in R&D expenditures five years ahead of schedule, and we have no intention of slowing down. We are moving to invest in research support for larger and more complex proposals and creating new modes of interacting with companies, engaging more students, increasing research dollars and focusing on Arizona economic development.
Our mission of service and commitment to students provides context for these plans. The University of Arizona is among 11 universities in the country that are both top-20 public universities in R&D and top-20 public in number of students. What separates us from the other 10 is opportunity, accessibility and inclusion. We are the only Hispanic Serving Institution in that cohort, and, on average, those universities admit fewer than half of their applicants, while we admit 17 out of every 20 applicants. That means we are keeping up with the most high-achieving public universities in the nation without keeping out the citizens of Arizona we serve — we have all the excellence, without the exclusion, a critical part of our land-grant mission.
Finally, I would like to share my excitement about Arizona Athletics. From the return of fans to the start of new eras in football, men’s basketball, baseball and softball, we have an incredible year ahead of us. I hope you will join me in the stands if you can, and, wherever you are, be sure to help me cheer on our Wildcats!
Bear Down and Go, Cats!
Robert C. Robbins, M.D.
The University of Arizona