Spring 2017

Reimagining the Campus Core

A place with Silicon Valley technology built into historic locations. Where health and wellness support academic outcomes dedicated to student success.

Relentlessly Future Focused — Be a part of the Launch Pad initiative by optimizing the University of Arizona campus for student success. Twenty million dollars in philanthropic support is needed to help bring this important project to life. To learn more, visit launchpad.arizona.edu.

Launch Pad is a fundraising initiative designed to power student success. By transforming iconic campus landmarks into spaces designed for cutting-edge teaching and learning strategies, the UA will move to the forefront of education. The reimagined campus core will include: 

  • Flexible collaboration spaces
  • Quiet study areas and outdoor seating
  • Food, wellness and student services
  • The most modern technology available

The Main Library, the Science-Engineering Library and Bear Down Gymnasium are at the center of the plan to redevelop the campus core based on how students best live, work and play. The project is focused on a comprehensive student approach that wraps intellectual, emotional and physical well-being into a single, unbroken experience. As on modern corporate campuses, students will be able to move from group meetings in expanded collaboration spaces to tutoring sessions to a favorite workout class with ease in this reinvented campus region. 

“Data consistently tell us that student experiences don’t exist in isolation,” says Melissa Vito, senior vice president for student affairs and enrollment management and senior vice provost for academic initiatives and student success. “So we plan to create this unique circle of resources that mutually reinforce one another and contribute to a student’s likelihood to graduate.”

Building off the UA’s leading-edge work with student data, an assessment and research team will be embedded within the campus core to measure effectiveness and implement best practices in the project’s suite of programs while bringing a start-up culture to campus.


The Launch Pad initiative starts with a fundamentally different understanding of students. When a university approaches its student experience as a dynamic, never- static lifestyle, new possibilities emerge. A university becomes a place where students are connected — from the second they set foot on campus — to the services, programs and places proven to help them graduate and develop career readiness. A place with Silicon Valley technology built into historic locations. Where health and wellness support academic outcomes. 

“I like to ask myself, what does today’s college student need? And what will third graders need when they eventually enroll?” says Vito. “The scope of this project is unparalleled in its chance to touch nearly every current and future UA student.”   

Karen Williams, vice president for information strategies and university libraries, agrees. “The way we teach students is changing, just as chalkboards have given way to visualization walls. The workplaces they are entering are also rapidly changing, requiring us to anticipate and meet new student needs.”