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Notable Alumni

Wildcats are global citizens with the knowledge, skills, and desire to engage in a global society. Engaged leaders who design and lead the future of their communities and their world. Fulfilled individuals who engage in productive lives and personally satisfying work — and all of whom embody competitive excellence.

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Public Service
  • Sports/Olympics
    Abdi Abdirahman is a Somali-American long-distance runner. He was a four-time Olympian competing for the United States in the 10,000 meters and the marathon. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Abdirahman graduated from Tucson High School in 1995 and attended Pima Community College before transferring to the University of Arizona for his junior and senior years. He became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
    Photo by David J. Phillip/Associated Press
  • Sciences
    Joseph M. “Joe” Acaba is an educator, hydro geologist, and NASA astronaut. In May 2004 he became the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to be named as a NASA astronaut candidate, when he was selected as a member of NASA Astronaut Training Group 19. Acaba served as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station, having launched on May 15, 2012. He arrived at the space station on May 17 and returned to Earth on Sept. 17, 2012
  • Sports/Olympics
    Arenas is former University of Arizona basketball player who led his team to the Final Four.  He later became a three-time NBA All-Star, three-time member of the All-NBA Teams, and was voted the NBA Most Improved Player in the 2002–03 season.
    Photo by Keith Allison
  • Sports/Olympics
    Deandre Ayton played one season at the University of Arizona before foregoing his remaining eligibility to enter the NBA Draft. He was the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2018. The Phoenix Suns selected Ayton with the first overall pick in June 2018.
  • Sports/Olympics
    Robert A. "Bob" Baffert is a two-time Triple Crown-winning horse trainer. His horse, American Pharoah, won the Triple Crown in 2015. Justify won the Triple Crown in 2018.
    Photo: Source — 2015 Preakness Stakes. Author — Maryland GovPics
  • Public Service
    Ron Barber is an American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 2012-15. Barber, a Democrat from Arizona, served as district director for U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords before Giffords resigned her seat due to the severe injuries she sustained in an assassination attempt, in which Barber was also injured.
  • Sports/Olympics
    Adia Barnes was introduced as Arizona's head women's basketball coach on April 4, 2016. The leading scorer in Arizona women’s basketball history and a WNBA Champion, Barnes came to Tucson after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Washington for five seasons.
    During her third season, Barnes led the Wildcats on a historic run to a WNIT title. Arizona finished the season with 24 wins, the most since the 2003-04 season to complete the largest turnaround in school history as well as the largest turnaround of any school in the 2018-19 season.
  • Sports/Olympics
    Barrett is a former high-jump athlete and a 2013 graduate from the University of Arizona. Becoming pro in 2011, Barrett won the national championships and World University Games in Shenzen, China, jumping 1.96m.  In 2012 she was awarded a silver medal in the U.S. Olympics by jumping 2.03m, in addition to winning the 2013 indoor and outdoor NCAA Championship.
  • Sports/Olympics
    Bates is both a former University of Arizona track star and football player. He was voted the Pac-10's most outstanding male performer at the conference track championships in 1989 and 1990, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes. He was also a member of the Wildcats 400-meter relay team that finished second in the 1989 NCAA Championships.  In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, his time of 20.38 from the inside lane, put him 0.37 seconds behind gold medal winner. In addition to his track accomplishments, he was also a kick returner in the NFL teams from 1993 to 2003.
  • Public Service
    Betsey Bayless earned a bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish from the University of Arizona, where, as a Phi Beta Kappa, she received the Freeman Medal as outstanding graduate in 1966.  Bayless became the Republican Secretary of State of Arizona from Sept. 5, 1997 until Jan. 6, 2003.  In 2005, Bayless was hired as the chief executive officer for the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS), the public hospital and health care system of Maricopa County. Bayless has been credited with restoring the MIHS to financial viability and expansion of hospital facilities.
  • Sports/Olympics
    Amanda Beard attended the University of Arizona, where she competed for the Arizona Wildcats swimming and diving team, where she won an individual NCAA Division I championship in 2001.  She is an American swimmer and a seven-time Olympic medalist (two gold, four silver, one bronze), in addition to becoming a former world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke (long course).  Beard's success has earned her the American Swimmer of the Year Award twice. She has won a total of 21 medals in major international competition, five gold, 13 silver, and three bronze spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Summer Universiade.
  • Sports/Olympics
    As a freshman at the University of Arizona, Bibby helped lead the Wildcats to the NCAA championship in 1997. Bibby was selected to the 1997 All-Final Four Team, after also being named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.  His sophomore year was just as impressive, as he was named Pac-10 Player of the Year (1997–98). He started all 69 games during his Wildcat career and earned First-Team All-America honors after his sophomore campaign. Following his sophomore season, Bibby entered the 1998 NBA Draft and was selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies with the second overall pick.