top of page

Our History in Pictures


University of Arizona


It was in 1885 that the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature founded The University of Arizona with an appropriation of $25,000 -- but no land. This appropriation was not welcomed by many residents of Tucson and Pima County, as they were looking for either the state capitol, a prison, or even an asylum for the insane -- but definitely not a University.

The money was conditional on the community providing a suitable site. Just before the $25,000 was to be returned to the Legislature, two gamblers and a saloon-keeper donated 40 acres of land "way out east of town," and thus the University could become a reality. Classes began in 1891 with 32 students and six teachers, all accommodated in one building. The original building, Old Main, is still in use, housing student services. The first class graduated in 1895 when three students received their degrees.

The University South Foundation, Inc. was formed in 1988 as The University Foundation of Sierra Vista, Inc.


The Foundation's initial campaign, "Project First Step", culminated in the dedication and official opening of The University of Arizona Sierra Vista Campus on August 12, 1993. The multi-purpose 12,600 square-foot, $1 million building, located on a 13-acre campus behind Cochise College, was entirely funded with private funds. This building, which currently houses The University of Arizona South Administration, is still owned by the Foundation. 

Additional Buildings


The University South Foundation, Inc. successfully raised funds to build the Arizona Folklore Building, which opened in 2002, located in Ramsey Canyon and the Patterson Observatory, which opened in 2004, located on The University of Arizona South, Sierra Vista Campus.

In 2003, the University Foundation of Sierra Vista, Inc. became the University South Foundation, Inc. to reflect the expanded geographic service area of The University of Arizona South. The presence of The University of Arizona South in Pima County, Nogales, Douglas, Pinal County and future locations throughout the state makes the University South Foundation, Inc. an integral part to the continued growth and development of The University of Arizona South today.

Please reload

Slide 8a.JPG

Patterson Observatory


With the support of David Patterson, the University South Foundation constructed the Patterson Observatory to offer the community a place to observe the night skies in Cochise County. The Observatory houses a Ritchey-Chretien telescope of 20” aperture.  This telescope, with its sophisticated detectors, is capable of observing objects one million times fainter than the human eye can detect. In 2019 the Foundation completed a remodel to include a kitchenette and bathrooms adjacent to the Patterson Classroom. 

School field trips and monthly Public Viewing nights open up the Patterson Observatory on a regular basis. 

bottom of page