Much More Than Athletics
The newly named Pac-12 is perhaps known primarily as one of the country's elite collegiate athletic conferences with a storied history of on-field excellence. Before its name change, the Pac-10 led the nation in NCAA Championships in 44 of the last 50 years, and if the Pac-12 as it now stands were its own nation, its athletes would have placed 5th in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games medal count.
But the Pac-12 represents much more than schools with impressive athletic pedigrees; its universities are among the most recognizable higher educational brands in the world and comprise THE flagship research universities of the West—with a combination of over 130 Nobel Laureates, over 40 Pulitzer Prize winners, and an impressive number of technological patents and businesses generated from the commercialization of home-grown innovation. Visit the Pac-12 Conference Website
"If not for the U's performance in the classrooms and laboratories, this partnership would not have formed. I know from my years at the helm of the California system of higher education that Pac-10 schools place a great deal of emphasis on broad-based academic excellence, just as Utah does. The invitation extended to the (University of Utah) to join the Pac-10 is the most recent evidence of...a tangible expression of regard by other distinguished universities of the successes and accomplishments of the state's flagship public university. The U's Pac-10 affiliation is based on more than athletic prowess; it is also an affirmation by the Pac-10 universities of the University of Utah's standing as a leading American university, also a condition for Pac-10 membership and without which judgment the invitation would never have been extended."
—David P. Gardner, president emeritus of both the University of Utah and the University of California educational system