UANews: Top 10 Stories of 2011-12

As commencement approaches, UANews looks back at a school year full of appointments, discoveries, awards and groundbreakings.
May 10, 2012

From medical gains and scientific discoveries to a changing of the guard within administration and Arizona Athletics, the University of Arizona had a busy – and productive – 2011-12 school year.

As the spring semester comes to a close, UANews reflects on its top 10 stories of the academic year.

1. Ann Weaver Hart Named 21st President of the UA: In February, the Arizona Board of Regents announced its selection of Ann Weaver Hart as the next president of the UA. The news followed a national search and the departure of Robert N. Shelton, who now heads up the Fiesta Bowl. Current President Eugene G. Sander is retiring at the end of June. Hart will begin her term July 1.

2. Thousands Attend Jan. 8 Vigil, Memorial Service: The UA hosted former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other victims of the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting in northwest Tucson on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. Thousands of people gathered on campus for an event that fostered community healing and pride.

3. Freshman Class Largest, Most Diverse in UA History: In August, the UA welcomed a freshman class that was the largest, most diverse and most prepared academically in University history. About 7,300 students made up the freshman class, up about 300 students from last year.

4. UA Scorpion Antivenom Collaborations Gains FDA Approval: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Anascorp®, an antivenom produced in Mexico and tested in clinical trials conducted through the UA, for use in treating patients suffering the effects of a scorpion sting.

5. Rich Rodriguez Named Arizona Wildcats Football Coach: In November, the UA welcomed Rich Rodriguez, the new head coach of the Arizona football team. Rodriguez became Arizona's 30th head coach, succeeding Tim Kish, who took over for eight-year head coach Mike Stoops in October.

6. New UA Residence Halls Earn Highest Sustainability Award: The two newest UA resdence halls, Arbol de la Vida and Likins, achieved LEED Platinum certification for sustainability. These residence halls provided 1,088 new beds for students in the 2011-12 academic year.

7. UA Alumnus Wins Nobel Prize: Brian P. Schmidt, who graduated from the UA in 1989 with a double major in astronomy and physics, shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with two colleages for a discovery that rocked our understanding of the cosmos: The universe is expanding at an ever-faster rate.

8. New Center to Advance Movement of Ideas to Market: In November, TLA-Tech Launch Arizona was formed to consolidate efforts toward moving UA knowledge and inventions to the market. The center represented a restructuring of the University's technology commercialization efforts.

9. UA Makes Mirrors for World's Largest Telescope: The second of seven 28-food diameter mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope was cast in January inside a rotating furnace at the UA Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The telescope is scheduled to begin operating in 2020 in Chile.

10. Modern Streetcar Dedication: The Modern Streetcar, named Sun Link, broke ground in April and now is under construction. The 3.9-mile rail line will connect the UA with the Fourth Avenue District and downtown.