Message from President Robbins

Winter 2023
President Robbins speaking at podium

/ Chris Richards photo

Dear Wildcats,

As you may know, our community experienced a devastating loss Oct. 5, 2022, when our beloved colleague and alumnus, Dr. Thomas Meixner, was shot on campus, just weeks before the 20th anniversary of a shooting at the College of Nursing in which three clinical professors, Robin E. Rogers, Barbara S. Monroe and Cheryl M. McGaffic, were killed. 

I share in the grief and anger surrounding this senseless loss, and I have commissioned an independent review of campus security, including how the university handled matters involving the shooter, a former student. I expect the first results of that study in early 2023. 

Our community gathered for a candlelight vigil after the shooting, to comfort each other and the Meixner family. I have been heartened and humbled by the outpouring of support to the family’s GoFundMe and to the memorial fund established in his honor.

Our purpose as a university is to work together to expand human potential, explore new horizons and enrich life for all, which Dr. Meixner embodied. One of the last things he retweeted was a quote: “Hope is not optimism, which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth working for.” 

When I think about what’s behind the “A,” I think of kind and compassionate people like Dr. Meixner, who bring dedication to the good that comes with discovery through research, using this knowledge to teach the next generation of graduates.  

The story of the University of Arizona is the story of its people. Arizona Alumni Magazine is now in its 100th year of documenting and celebrating our history and telling the stories of our incredible Wildcats. In this issue, you also will be able to read about a vision for the future of health care, both in the state of Arizona and around the world. The Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies, or CAMI, recently received a $150 million investment from the state of Arizona. This center will place the university at the forefront of what I believe to be the future of medical research as we address the grand challenges of cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune conditions by advancing our knowledge of the immunology of these serious health issues. 

You also can read about a $10 million gift from the Steele Foundation, which includes $2 million for CAMI. The Steele Foundation has supported pediatrics research at the university for more than three decades, and this new gift not only honors alumnus Daniel Cracchiolo but also will ensure that CAMI’s transformative progress in medicine is applied in pediatric health care. 

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