By Darin Stone
Arizona Daily Wildcat August 22, 1996
The new Arizona International Campus of the UA opens its doors and gets the ball rolling today for 45 students and seven professors after months of preparation.
The first class of AIC students will begin classes at approximately 11 a.m. this morning. Prior to classes, at 9:30 a.m., are AIC's Inaugural Ceremonies, and at 10 a.m. is a "meet the students" session and a tour of the campus.
Mike Celaya, AIC director of enrollment services, said that excitement is high as the new school year approaches.
"It's like a shot in the arm. It's really happening," Celaya said.
Celaya said the most exciting part of the AIC's opening will be seeing the students actually set foot on campus and begin their classes.
"Seeing the students here on campus and engaging in the learning experience excites me far above everything else," Celaya said.
Celaya said the enthusiasm has spread to the students' parents as well.
"At the orientation sessions, the parents were saying, 'What can we do?'" Celaya said. "It's hard to tell who's more excited - the students, the faculty or the parents."
Businesses surrounding AIC are looking forward to working with their new neighbor.
A memorandum issued by Hughes Missile Systems Co. stated, "We believe that students moving into the 21st century will need to be articulate communicators in an increasingly interdependent, technologically-oriented and global society. AIC's mission to ensu re their graduates have these skills fits smoothly into a society that must be agile and innovative."
One concern in preparation of AIC's opening was the availability of high-quality food service on the campus.
Food Service operates a cafeteria for AIC and the companies in the complex. A soup and salad bar, along with a hamburger restaurant and other eating options, will be available at AIC's food service facility.
Celaya said having good food service is important because it influences a student's decision to attend AIC, and also because employees of the neighboring IBM, Microsoft Corp. and Hughes Missile Systems Company will be potential customers.
"The professional people at IBM and Hughes have an expectation of high quality food," Celaya said.
AIC opens amid some controversy over the campus' distant location from midtown Tucson. The campus is located at Interstate 10 and South Rita Road, southeast of the city.
"The issue of location is less now that the students and parents have arrived," Celaya said.
The campus is also pushing for a long-term solution, such as city transportation to the area surrounding AIC. In the meantime, a shuttle will be available for students arriving and leaving the campus. Celaya also said AIC has enough parking.
As AIC grows, housing for prospective new students is something administrators at the new campus are looking into. Currently, students desiring to live in on-campus housing facilities are residing on the UA campus.
"Our current location may or may not be permanent. We're about three years away from working on residence halls," Celaya said.
Celaya said southeast Tucson is expected to grow over the coming years, and that while it is too early to determine AIC's permanent effect on the community, it should have some immediate visible impact.
"AIC has a capped enrollment of 5,000 students, so we could have a trickle-down effect on this area," Celaya said.