University of Arizona

university of arizonaThe University of Arizona, which is known by some as U of A, and to others UA, or just plain Arizona.  It was the first university founded in the Arizona territory back in 1885.  It is a pubic research university and is located in Tucson, Arizona.  It also includes Banner University Medical Center in Tucson, which is a separate 4-year M.D. college in downtown Phoenix.   Arizona is also known by their Arizona Wildcats, a name that originated in 1914 after a football game where the L.A. times commented “The Arizona men showed the fight of wildcats”.  Not many people know, but up until that time they were referred to as “Varsity”.   They are also part of the Pac-12 Conference in the NCAA.  

Symbols of the University

The official colors of the university are UA Red and Arizona Blue.   The Arizona’s marching band, named the Pride of Arizona was most recently named one of the top five marching bands in the nation.  The University’s mascots are a pair of wildcats whose names are Wilbur and Wilma.  They keep the identities of them both secret through the years as the mascots only appear in costume.  Arizona’s first mascot was actually a real life desert bobcat named Rufus Arizona before the pair of wildcats were created.   At the beginning of each year the freshmen repaint the white colored “A” on the mountain which is both a Tucson and Wildcat landmark.

Campus layout

The University of Arizona offers 334 fields of study leading to Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and professional degrees.  Their academic departments and programs are organized into colleges and schools.  The main campus is located in Central Tucson and consists of 179 buildings.  The campus is divided into quadrants.  The science and mathematics buildings are towards the southwest side while the intercollegiate athletics facilities are to the southeast.  The arts and humanities buildings are in the northwest, the dance department, optical and spaces sciences are to the east, and engineering buildings in the north central area.   The University of Arizona campus provides a space for over 4,500 students that give them a small community feel.  The University of Arizona’s mission is “To improve the prospects and enrich the lives of the people of Arizona and the world through education, research, creative expression, and community and business partnerships.”

Organizations of the University  

The University’s Student Union building is the largest student union in the U.S. That is not affiliated with a hotel.  U of A is home to more than 500 philanthropic, multicultural, social, athletic, academic, and student clubs and campus organizations.  Arizona is the home of the Arizona Blue Chip Program which is one of the largest collegiate-level leadership programs in the United States.   They also provide 49 fraternity and sorority chapters.

UofA Going Green

This article would not be complete without mentioning that the University has an arboretum throughout the main campus in which you can view plants from all over the world.  Each one is labeled for those who want to do a self-guided plant walk.  Their Krutch Cactus Garden includes the tallest Boojum tree in the entire state of Arizona.   The campus also includes hundreds of olive trees some as hundreds of years old. If you have any questions about U of A, please contact me here. This post was brought to you by the University of Arizona.

Northern Arizona University

norther arizona universityNorthern Arizona University, also known as NAU, was established back in 1899 and is located in Flagstaff, Arizona, surrounded by the largest contiguous ponderosa forest in North America. NAU enjoys a four season climate, including snow during their winter season. This allows winter skiing just seven miles north of Flagstaff at an alpine ski resort.  NAU has 36 different campuses in the State of Arizona. They offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education classifies NAU as a research university with high research activity where students and faculty work together to solve issues that impact our region, nation, and world, offering solutions like alternative energy and minority healthcare.   

Programs Offered

NAU offers more than 150 degree programs. These include 91 Bachelor’s degree programs, 49 Master’s degree programs and 11 Doctoral degree programs, along with 38 undergraduate and 26 graduate certificates.   NAU’s extended Campuses offer 99 online accredited degree programs between their 36 campuses throughout the state. NAU is the first public university to offer a competency-based online degree program that allows students to earn credit for experience.   NAU has established a powerful legacy of educating students to help them make a difference in the world. Many of their programs include education, biology, engineering, forestry, physical therapy, hotel and restaurant management, nursing, environmental sustainability, criminology and criminal justice.


Northern Arizona is a member of the Big Sky Conference (except for swimming and diving which is part of the Western Athletic Conference), and is Part of the 15 NCAA Division I programs. Student athletes complete at a national, international, and professional level in football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, track and field, tennis and swimming and diving. Other sports offered are cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, Golf, Soccer, lacrosse, weight lifting, and volleyball. They have a Walk-up Sky Dome, a multipurpose building providing facilities for various sports, student recreation, major concert events, commencements, intramurals, and variety of other university and community activities.  Since their campus is 6,950 feet above sea level, their facilities are sometimes used for training by Olympic athletes. Their mascot is Louie the Lumberjack and their school colors are Blue and Sage green.

Campus Traditions

Northern Arizona University has a wide variety of traditions that they preserve.  One of these include a family weekend.  This allows families of the students to come visit and experience life at the university.  They participate in activities such as live entertainment, a pre-game barbeque, football game, casino night, and a Sunday brunch.  Another of these traditions is known as Greek Week.  Greek Week is filled with activities and philanthropy projects. The fraternities and sororities raise money during the week that is given to local and national charities.   And during their Homecoming week, they welcome back alumni to the campus to enjoy a week of activities ranging from a bonfire and pep rally, alumni awards, Homecoming day parade, and the Mr. Lumberjack pageant where male students compete in a mock beauty pageant to show their Homecoming pride.   They also provide Cultural traditions such as Native American, Asian-Pacific American, African-American, and Hispanic Heritage Celebrations.