By the time he helped propel UA men’s basketball to the Final Four in 1988, Steve Kerr ’87 had already become a favorite with Wildcat fans. More than 20 years later, the former NBA player and UA Sports Hall of Fame inductee keeps on returning the favor, bringing fellow Wildcats along as he ascends into the sports stratosphere.

In May, Kerr was named head coach for Oakland’s Golden State Warriors — and it’s no surprise that his staff now includes several Wildcats.

Water is one of the simplest molecules: two humble hydrogen atoms (the most common in the universe) bonded to one workaday oxygen atom (itself the third-most abundant of the elements). 

For such a modest molecule, it’s indispensable. We can go just days without drinking some, though we can go without food for weeks. It’s essential to our electricity, fabrics, plastics, and fuels. And that coffee you had this morning? It took nearly 40 gallons of water to bring you one cup. In fact, the American lifestyle uses more than 2,000 gallons of water a day per person.

On a farm 30 minutes south of the UA campus, dust billows behind a big blue tractor on tawny fields stretching to miles of raw desert. At first glance, there is no clue that this is part of a groundbreaking student-run program that promises to revamp the way Tucson handles its food waste. But the UA’s Compost Cats are doing just that. 

Prickly pear fruits were the first wild food I ever gathered. I was a youngster, about 10 or 11 years old, and my parents were Midwestern transplants to northern Arizona. One beautiful autumn day they took the family exploring in our Jeep on a cactus quest. We used tongs to pick the stickery cactus fruits, licking the sweet juice off our fingers when the fruit was punctured. 

For me, the fragrance of those sun-warmed prickly pear fruits has become the defining memory of fall. It also sent me on a lifelong quest for edible wild plants. 

10. The ’Cats won at San Diego State. After the UA’s win in crazy-loud Viejas Arena (where Arizona should play its first two NCAA games), San Diego State went on a 20-game winning streak.

9. The unfocused Wildcats fell behind NIT semi-final opponent Drexel by 19 points at Madison Square Garden, but didn’t panic. They came back to win by six to set up a Duke final.

8. Arizona beat Duke. That’s one of the greatest three-word sentences of all time. 

When James Anaya stepped off a helicopter onto a tiny airstrip deep in the Amazon rainforest in Peru in December 2013, more than 100 local indigenous leaders and villagers were there to greet him. 

Such receptions are common for Anaya on his visits around the globe as United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. Acting as an independent expert for the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, he has traveled to dozens of countries on fact-finding missions to examine and report on alleged human rights violations. 

Hidden rocks can spell disaster for even the most skilled snowboarder. For Alana Nichols, an icon of courage and excellence in Paralympic sports, that disaster came not just once, but twice.

Twice torn apart. Twice fighting her way back to Olympic-level competition. 

If there’s a gold medal for heart, Alana Nichols, 31, has earned it, along with the five gold medals she has won in sports she always acknowledged carry high risks.

For a new UA student with a disability, something is instantly obvious. Wherever you look, most everything accommodates access. Lectures. Doors. Ramps. Policies. Entire buildings. It all reflects the UA’s goal of “universal design.” 

“Students with a disability should have a similar experience as their nondisabled peers,” says Sue Kroeger, the UA’s top advocate for this concept. “You should have access without having to ask for something.”

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