Today I photographed President Robert Shelton’s annual State of the University address at the University of Arizona. Despite major budget cuts he remains a proud and optimistic advocate for his institution.
He voiced his concerns about the results of some of the propositions in the election yesterday, but assured the community that the University will not change its policy of non-bias and diversity, despite the repeal of affirmative action.
Dr. Shelton is determined to strengthen (through community funding) the Arizona Assurance program he started three years ago, which gives educational opportunities to those low-income students (of all ethnicities) accepted to the UofA, but who cannot afford to attend. Through this program, four years of housing, books and tuition is paid for the qualifying students, if they maintain a certain grade point average and meet regularly with mentors and advisors, as well as show ethical and behavioral standards.
Dr. Shelton also voiced his committment in advancing the University of Arizona as a major research institution, with the goal of leaving this world a better place through discoveries in science and technology. We in Tucson and southern Arizona are fortunate to have a man of such passion and vision at the helm.
Our school’s catch phrase “Bear Down Arizona” is quite apropos in this period of poor economic conditions. We might have major challenges, but we can make it through because we are fighters. Dr. Shelton ended his speech with that phrase and I think everyone left the room feeling a little better knowing that despite the fact that our state does not give education a high priority, those involved will continue to make it their top priority.
Image copyrighted Martha Lochert. Licensing required for any use.