Dynasties are built by sustained success and their greatness is measured in decades. Some require no introduction: The New York Yankees. The Rockefellers. MGM. 

The UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, or LPL, falls into its own category as a science dynasty. It has had a hand in nearly every interplanetary spacecraft sent from Earth. Among its accomplishments since its founding in 1960:

Rudy Molina can’t help but smile as he talks about the ongoing renovations at the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center. 

For the director of the SALT Center, the expansion of the 15-year-old building could not come at a better time, as enrollment has climbed to more than 550 students in recent years and the need for updated technology has grown. 

On the west end of the UA campus students make their way to a small foundry in the School of Art. Here, they learn to make bronze and aluminum sculptures in a hands-on 3-D class.

“A lot of kids, they don’t do anything with their hands anymore, except punch buttons on their phone or computer. They don’t have tactile hand-eye coordination skills,” says Carlton Bradford ’86, associate professor of sculpture in the UA School of Art’s 3-D and extended media program. 

Timeless stories, woven into the daily trappings of Native American life, are beautifully depicted in basket weavings and rugged sandals that protected ancient feet. They are part of a collection of indigenous fiber arts to be showcased at the Arizona State Museum.

The ambitious new exhibit, tentatively titled “Woven from the Center,” requires careful preparation and is set to open in early 2017. It will present revolving elements from an inventory that surpasses 20,000 pieces, from brawny burden baskets — once strapped across the foreheads of women — to yucca-fiber plaques.  

Professors and students appear in the curving corridors of the ENR2 building to listen to a classical guitar session. The harmony wafts toward the sky. 

Jose Luis Puerta practices the same composition for an hour, wiggling his fingers after missing a tough string of notes. He takes a deep breath and smiles at strangers as they get a closer look. 

“You definitely feed off the crowd when you perform,” Puerta says. “You can tell if they are paying attention. You connect with them.”

When donors Alan ’74 and Janice Levin met Dr. Clara Curiel and learned about the UA associate professor of dermatology’s work studying and treating skin cancer, they were moved to endow a chair for excellence in cancer research.

“Alan was so impressed with her and what she was doing at the UA Cancer Center, and I felt the same,” Janice Levin says. “We hope the endowment makes a difference in finding a cure or treatment for skin cancer.”  

Dana Menser ’14 graduated from the UA with bachelor’s degrees in studio art and environmental and water resource economics. You might expect to see her dabbing at a paint-dotted canvas or charting the costs of climate change. Instead, she’s a business operations manager and lead recruiter for a technology services company with roots in the UA’s Management Information Systems (MIS) program.

Menser is surrounded by Wildcats at the Tucson office of Mural’s MaaXcloud. A majority of its 60 employees, including Customer Operations VP Paul Soto ’11, are UA students or alumni. 

Back-to-back victories over Pomona College in 1914 and 1915 inspired football player and civil engineering student Albert H. Condron. He went to one of his professors and suggested building an “A” in rocks on the side of Sentinel Peak as a class assignment.

Construction began on Nov. 13, 1915, and was completed on March 4, 1916.

The land was cleared and rocks were hauled up the mountain by multiple six-horse teams. Students worked week after week and the “A” was finally white-washed nearly four months after construction began. Total cost of the project? $397.

In Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, everyone knew the precocious 8-year-old at the family hardware store who counted change for customers. Back then, he beamed with pride giving back 75 pesos for a 100 peso bill that had paid for a 25 peso wrench. He was helping out his hero and inspiration — his grandfather.

Today, that youngster is Manuel Felix, the ASUA student body president. He credits his grandfather, Joaquin Manuel Felix Castro, for showing him how to embrace the world. 


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