Agriculture, Life and Environment: It’s what we do

Sept. 7, 2023
a group of students stands atop a mountain at sunset looking down over the Tucson valley

What we do touches every aspect of life. From devising novel technologies to nourish a growing population, to cultivating and connecting communities to foods that optimize lifelong wellness.  Our dedication extends to promoting sustainable consumer behavior, bridging social and financial disparities, and supporting natural ecosystems and wildlife in the face of a hotter, drier future.

Throughout our history, we have evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of our students, communities, and economies. Our roots run deep, beginning with the founding of the University of Arizona in 1885. Then the School of Agriculture, we were the first academic unit to welcome students to our campus—providing courses in soil science, chemistry, zoology, horticulture, botany, irrigation, and agricultural law.  

We are committed to deliver on the promise of our land-grant mission. Our research helped identify the role of fluoride in dental health in 1930 and predict COVID-19 mortality in 2021. We revolutionized the long-staple cotton industry in 1952 and eradicated the pink bollworm from the United States and Mexico in 2018. We established the first plant molecular biology laboratory in the world in 1960 and led an international team in mapping the genome of rice in 2004.

We put science to work, empowering students to be the next change agents in their communities through our five departments, five schools, and 21 majors – spanning biosystems engineering to nutrition and human performance, personal and family financial planning to agribusiness economics and management.

As we welcome the largest and most diverse class in university history and in keeping with our tradition to evolve to meet our students’ interests and career goals, as well as the state and region’s needs of our graduates, we are proud to announce our new name—we are now the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences.

The change was proposed by our world-class faculty and was met with overwhelming support by college appointed and University shared governance leaders, “as it better recognizes what we do,” said Shane Burgess, Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension and the Charles-Sander Dean of the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences.

“Environment is and always has been inseparably a part of all our agriculture Extension, teaching, and research,” Burgess said.

The name change is only the second in our 130-year history and “I know our new name will serve us all well for many years to come,” he said. “It reflects what we have done in the past, do now and will be even more important to society in the future.”