More Arizona residents are opting to attend the University of Arizona, whose incoming class this fall also features ethnic diversity, high academic performance and an increase in international transfer students. The UA began its new semester on Aug. 22.

Fall enrollment figures indicate that the UA will welcome more than 10,000 new students including more than 8,000 new freshmen and more than 2,000 transfer students — not including students returning after a break in their education.

Overall, 56 percent of freshmen are Arizona residents, up from 53 percent last year.

It’s good to be a Wildcat.

That’s the conclusion The Princeton Review reached in its annual survey of American college students, as it listed the University of Arizona in “The 381 Best Colleges: 2017 Edition.” 

The Princeton Review assigns scores ranging from a low of 60 to a high of 99 in a variety of categories, based on the opinions of more than 143,000 students.

The UA excelled in campus sustainability or “green” initiatives (93), quality of life (92) and fire safety (91).

The University of Arizona Health Sciences and Banner Health have been awarded a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative® (PMI) Cohort Program, which aims to enroll one million U.S. participants to improve the prevention and treatment of disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics. The award, which totals $43.3 million over five years, is the largest NIH peer-reviewed grant in Arizona history.

At a dinner recognizing Arizona Assurance Scholars a few years back, the room got quiet when a young student stood up to speak. 

Amer Taleb ’15 had thought he wouldn’t be able to go to the University of Arizona, he told the gathering. His family couldn’t afford it. Yet the aspiring journalist did attend — with the help of the Arizona Assurance Scholarship. 

It’s nearly impossible to imagine the University of Arizona without Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat, “A” Mountain and the “Bear Down” rallying cry. If not for the 101 years of Greek life that have helped to shape the University and its traditions and symbols, the UA might be a different place altogether. 

The new Geraldo Rivera Greek Heritage Park recognizes the contributions of 50,000 alumni from 90 Greek organizations and provides a dedicated venue for fraternity and sorority activities as well as outdoor space for everyone to enjoy.

As Arizona Football fans drive toward the stadium on Enke Drive for home games this fall, they will notice a new 15,000-square-foot building south of McKale Center, near completion in October.  

The new C.A.T.S. Academic Center, dedicated to providing academic and life skills for student-athletes, was made possible by several donations, including a $2.5 million leadership gift from University of Arizona alumni Andrew and Kirsten Braccia and a $1 million gift from David Lapan and his family. 

It is a promise for the future — a hub for finding dream jobs — the Karl and Stevie Eller Professional Development Center. 

Students will meet there with recruiters from companies like Microsoft, Macy’s and Goldman Sachs. Alumni will mentor students on how to succeed in a highly competitive job market. Career coaches will help students discover their strengths and align with career goals.   

Physics student Alexander Knowles, now a senior, started his job as a planetarium operator at the most eventful time in Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium history. It was 2014, and Hector Vector the Star Projector was going into retirement. 

Hector had illuminated the theater dome unfailingly since the planetarium’s opening in 1975. But changes in technology had created an ever-widening gap between the University of Arizona’s achievement in space sciences and its ability to share the wonders of exploration.

Kara Aquilano Forney’s connection to the University of Arizona began when she was just 8 months old. 

That was when her father, Nicholas Aquilano, earned a UCLA doctorate and took a teaching position at the UA’s Eller College of Management. 

Aquilano Forney grew up attending UA holiday parties and football and basketball games with family and enjoying Spring Fling with friends. When the time came for her to choose a college, the UA was, for her, the natural choice. 

It is almost midnight when a flight from the East Coast finally brings me back to Tucson. A familiar half-conscious routine follows — shuffling off the plane, rushing through the airport, finding my car and starting the drive home. Then, while I am waiting for a traffic light at the intersection of Tucson and Valencia, an unmistakable sight jolts me back to reality. 


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