As you read this, the fall semester has already wrapped up. For the first time — at least in recent memory — most students left campus after the Thanksgiving break and are completing the semester remotely. It is just one of many adaptations we made at the recommendation of the Campus Reentry Task Force. Over the summer and through much of this semester the task force was led by Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States and Distinguished Professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, who continues to serve as senior adviser in our pandemic response.
I know that the student experience this year looks much different than it did when you were on campus, even if you graduated as recently as 2019. In the feature section of this magazine, you will find stories about Wildcats who are pushing forward with their studies and ambitions during a global pandemic that affects every aspect of our lives.
Their resilience is inspirational. 2020 has been a year like no other, marked by a national reckoning with racial injustice and the pain and anxiety of an international health crisis. In spite of these challenges, I am proud of what the Wildcat community has accomplished this year. In the summer issue, we told you about our wastewater epidemiology program, which has received national media attention and inspired similar efforts at many other universities. In October, I joined members of the OSIRIS-REx team to watch live as the spacecraft successfully retrieved a sample from asteroid Bennu, a goal years in the making that may further our understanding of the origins of life on Earth.
You will find stories about this research and more in this issue. This kind of innovation is one of the reasons why we made it to the top 100 universities in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, moving up 20 spots from last year’s ranking to No. 97 overall, and No. 40 among public universities. I hope you take as much pride as I do in this shared accomplishment.
Finally, if you missed our first-ever virtual Homecoming experience, you can still explore campus online at homecoming.arizonaalumni.com.
I hope you will come home, from the safety of your home, because we are all Wildcats for Life.
Bear Down and Mask Up,
Robert C. Robbins, M.D.
The University of Arizona