Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is an institution of higher learning located in Tucson, Arizona.
Academically, the U of A is strong in many areas (especially the sciences), and is particularly well known in the areas of optical science, management information science, and astronomical research. It also has the oldest and arguably strongest garbology program in the US. Additionally, the university is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.
The current and 18th University President is Peter Likins; his term began in 1997.
The University of Arizona was approved by the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1885. Ironically, the city of Tucson had hoped to receive the appropriation for the state's mental hospital, which carried a sum of money slightly larger than the $25,000 allotted to the state's only university (Arizona State University was founded at the same time, but it was created as the state's normal school). The citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the territory until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land necessary to build the school.
Arizona's sports teams are called the Wildcats. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Pacific Ten Conference; the men's basketball team is often a contender in the NCAA championships.
The University mascot is named Wilbur the Wildcat. The identity of Wilbur is kept secret through the year as the mascot appears only in costume. In 1986 Wilbur married his longtime wildcat girlfriend, Wilma. Together Wilbur and Wilma appear along with the cheerleading squad at most Wildcat sporting events.
The basketball team has been one of the Nation's most successful programs since Lute Olson was hired as head coach in 1983. Since then, the team has had 18 consecutive 20-win seasons, and reached the NCAA Tournament 21 years in a row, which is the longest active and second-longest streak in NCAA history (University of North Carolina, 27). The Wildcats have been ranked in the top 25 (regular season only) since 1987. Lute has taken the Wildcats to the Final Four 4 times. In 1997, Arizona beat the defending-champion University of Kentucky to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
The football team was somewhat successful in the 90's under head coach Dick Tomey and his "Desert Swarm defense" that was characterized by tough, hard-nosed tactics. In 1998, the team posted a school-record 12-1 season and made the Holiday Bowl in which they defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Arizona ended the season ranked #3 nationally and #2 in several publications.
The baseball team won several national championships in the 80's (1976, 1980, and 1986) and the softball team is typically ranked as one of the best in the nation. The softball team has won six Women's College World Series titles, in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, and 2001.
The University of Arizona's academic departments and programs are organized into colleges and schools. Typically, schools are largely independent or separately important from their parent college. In addition, not all schools are a part of a college. The university maintains a current list of colleges and schools at http://www.arizona.edu/home/colleges.shtml.
For current museum hours, fees, and directions see "campus visitor's guide" in the external links.
- Much of the main campus has been designated an arboretum. Plants from around the world are labeled along a self-guided plant walk. The Krutch Cactus Garden includes the tallest Boojum tree in the state of Arizona. (The university also manages Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, located c. 85 miles north of the main campus.)
- Two herbaria are located on the University campus and both are referred to as "ARIZ" in the Index Herbariorum
- The University of Arizona Herbarium - contains roughly 400,000 specimens of plants.
- The Robert L. Gilbertson Mycological Herbarium - contains more than 40,000 specimens of fungi.
- The Arizona State Museum is the oldest anthropology museum in the American Southwest.
- The Center for Creative Photography features rotating exhibits. The permanent collection includes over 70,000 photos.
- UA Museum of Art.
- The Arizona Historical Society is located one block west of campus.
Current state of the university
- Current funding considerations have led to a State-wide reorganization of the programs offered at each of Arizona's Universities. Known as "Focused Excellence," this reorganization aims to focus the mission of the University of Arizona upon research through eliminating and merging less popular and low-revenue academic departments.
- Other state higher education re-alignment plans call for the University of Arizona and Arizona State University to remain academically elite, research oriented universities while creating several "regional" university systems from Northern Arizona University, UA South  in Sierra Vista, and ASU West  in Phoenix.
- Additionally, the University of Arizona is the only remaining PAC-10 conference school to not award plus and minus grades for courses. Currently, grades are given on a strict 4-point scale with "A" worth 4, "B" worth 3, "C" worth 2, "D" worth 1 and "E" worth zero points. Discussions with students and faculty may lead the U of A towards using a plus-minus grading system in the future. Administrators say that the change could occur as early as Fall 2006. 
- Uncertainty currently surrounds the future of common commencement ceremonies for the entire student body. Critics of the large ceremony argue that the event has become marred by misbehavior of graduates; the administration has vowed to cancel undergraduate commencement in favor of individual college convocations if behavior does not improve. Partially at issue is the tradition in which graduates fling tortillas into the air (in a manner similar to throwing mortarboards) during the ceremony. Critics of this behavior argue it is disruptive, potentially dangerous, offensive to Mexican Americans, and insensitive to the plight of the hungry and needy. Proponents of tortilla throwing argue it is a harmless and fun tradition. The future of commencement ceremonies at the University of Arizona will remain uncertain pending the decision of the university administration. Behavior at the December, 2004 ceremony will likely be the deciding factor.
Recognized fraternities and sororities
There are currently (2005) 44 fraternity and sorority chapters that are recognized by the University of Arizona. The fraternities and sororities are governed by 3 governing councils. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) represents 20 fraternities, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) represents 6 historically African-American fraternities and sororities, and the Panhellenic Association (PHC) represents 18 sororities. The university maintains a full list of recognized fraternities and sororities as well as a map that highlights the locations of fraternity and sorority houses at http://www.union.arizona.edu/csil/greek/chapters/index.php
The University of Arizona is called Arizona nałtsoos ízisgo baa ótad in Western Apache, a language spoken in Arizona.
- Mike Candrea - head softball coach, head coach for the 2004 gold medal U.S. Women's Olympic softball team
- Andy Lopez - head baseball coach
- Lute Olson - head basketball coach
- Aurelie Sheehan - author/novelist, creative writing professor
- Jon Solomon - author, classics professor
- Mike Stoops - head football coach
- Gerard Swanson - author, economics professor
- George Arias - former MLB player
- Tedy Bruschi - three-time Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots
- Richard Carmona - U.S. Surgeon General
- Joan Ganz Cooney - Creator of Sesame Street
- Bob Dole - former U.S. Senator
- Sean Elliot - former NBA player. Only professional Arizona Wildcat athlete to have his number retired (San Antonio Spurs - March 4, 2005 ). Graduated from Cholla High School in Tucson, AZ.
- Jennie Finch (2002) - Olympic Gold Medal winning professional women's softball pitcher.
- David Fitzsimmons (1977) - Political Cartoonist
- Terry Francona - manager of the 2004 World Series Champions Boston Red Sox
- Barry Goldwater - former U.S. Senator
- Jack Howell - former MLB player
- Andre Igoudala - NBA player (Philadelphia 76ers) left after two years for NBA
- Thomas Jones (Ph.D., 1988) - astronaut
- Steve Kerr - five-time NBA Champion (Chicago Bulls - 3, San Antonio Spurs - 2)
- Barbara Kingsolver - author
- Greg Kinnear - actor
- Jon Kyl (BA 1964, JD 1966) - U.S. Senator
- Don Lee - former MLB player
- Kenny Lofton - MLB player (played basketball for the Wildcats)
- Linda McCartney - photographer
- John Moses - former MLB player
- Craig T. Nelson - actor
- William Rathje (1967) - archaeologist & garbologist
- Geraldo Rivera (1965) - talk show host, television journalist
- Dick Scobee (1965) - astronaut
- Garry Shandling - actor & comedian
- Cliff Stoll (Ph.D., 1980) - astronomer & Klein bottle manufacturer
- Damon Stoudamire NBA player
- Dwight Taylor - former MLB player
- Morris K. Udall (JD 1949) - former U.S. Congressman, professional basketball player
- David Foster Wallace - author
- Todd Walsh - sports broadcaster (Fox Sports Net Arizona)
- Luke Walton - NBA player, son of former NBA great Bill Walton
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