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ASU honors alumni, staff innovators for Founders’ Day

This year's Founders' Day honors innovators who are helping shape the future.
March 14, 2017

Alumni Association's traditional event honors individuals who exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School

Update: Friday, March 17

Even at the country’s most innovative university you can find innovation in places you might not expect.

Take Sun Devil Stadium, for example. Conceptually, stadiums haven’t changed all that much since the Romans built the Coliseum. But the future of Sun Devil Stadium may change the way we think about stadiums and their role in the community.

And when that happens, it will be in large part due to Jack Furst.

Thanks to Furst’s involvement as a lead donor on what will be called Sun Devil Stadium 365, more than $80 million has been raised toward the stadium reinvention project, which aims to create a “community union” to make use of the stadium every day of the year. For his contribution he was named ASU’s Philanthropist of the Year at a ceremony Thursday. 

Furst took the opportunity to focus on the future of Sun Devil Stadium 365.

“I’m so excited to be a part of this team and the work that we’ve done since 2014 to really rethink what you can do with a football stadium…” Furst told the crowd at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. “We’re going to go where no other university has gone.”

Renovations on the stadium are underway and conceptualization and planning for the space is in place. Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU’s vice president for cultural affairs and executive director of ASU Gammage, will manage Sun Devil Stadium 365 going forward, utilizing her years of work connecting ASU to the communities it serves.

Along with Furst, the following individuals were honored: ASU alumnus Michael Burns, for his role in building Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. into a multi-billion dollar global content leader; ASU faculty members Joshua LaBaer, for his groundbreaking work in the emerging field of personalized medicine; Manfred Laubichler, for his multi-faceted research in tracing the role of gene regulatory networks in development and evolution; and Sharon Hall, for her commitment to teaching, particularly as it relates to incorporating innovative pedagogical methods and championing the education of underrepresented groups in science.

Read the full preview story below the slideshow.

 

When renovations are complete, Sun Devil Stadium will be a year-round cultural hub for the surrounding community, and W. P. Carey School of Business alumnus Jack D. Furst can say he had a guiding hand in it.

Thanks to Furst’s involvement as a lead donor, more than $80 million has been raised toward the stadium reinvention project. His vision, leadership and philanthropy embody just the sort of character that ASU praises on Founders’ Day.

For fostering innovation, excellence and the evolution of Arizona State as the New American University, the ASU Alumni Association will honor Furst and other alumni, faculty and university supporters at its annual Founders’ Day Awards Dinner, which will take place at 6 p.m. March 16, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.

Alissa Serignese, vice president of programs and constituent relations for the Alumni Association, said Furst and the others being honored “go above and beyond.”

“Furst is spearheading this effort and even enlisting others,” she said, “which is really unique.”

Along with Furst, the following individuals will be honored this year: ASU alumnus Michael Burns, for his role in building Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. into a multi-billion dollar global content leader; ASU faculty members Joshua LaBaer, for his groundbreaking work in the emerging field of personalized medicine; Manfred Laubichler, for his multi-faceted research in tracing the role of gene regulatory networks in development and evolution; and Sharon Hall, for her commitment to teaching, particularly as it relates to incorporating innovative pedagogical methods and championing the education of underrepresented groups in science.

The award ceremony has been a signature event for the university for decades, and calls attention to individuals who “exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School of Arizona,” ASU’s predecessor institution, which received its charter from the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature on March 7, 1885.

“Founders’ Day is an opportunity to celebrate the best of the best as far as ASU alumni, faculty and philanthropists,” while also paying homage those who “put ASU on the map” in the first place, Serignese said. “If it wasn’t for those people, ASU would not exist.”

The celebration is also a chance to reflect on ASU’s history as an institution founded by and for the people of the community it serves. At Thursday’s dinner, ASU President Michael M. Crow will provide an update on the university, which has progressed with that intention in mind and expanded considerably.

When Hiram Bradford Farmer, John Samuel Armstrong, Charles Trumbull Hayden, Joseph Campbell, T.J. Butler, A.C. Baker and R.L. Long proposed the establishment of the Tempe Normal School in 1885, they envisioned a school that provided “instruction of persons ... in the art of teaching and in all the various branches that pertain to good common school education.” Under subsequent leaders in the more than hundred years that followed, ASU has become a highly regarded prototype of the New American University and a leading research institution.

The journey from simple schoolhouse to revered university is a testament to the vision, tenacity and hard work of its founders, leaders, faculty, students and alumni through the years, according to the alumni association.

“Without a doubt, ASU helped me achieve my dream,” Furst said.

Tickets to the Founders’ Day event are $150 for Alumni Association members at the Sparky, Maroon or Gold contribution levels and $200 for other alumni and guests. Table and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. For additional information about Founders’ Day, or to RSVP, visit alumni.asu.edu/foundersday

The following individuals will be honored by the Alumni Association at the Founders’ Day event. (Read their full bios via the links below.)

Faculty Achievement Awards

Faculty Research Achievement Award
Joshua L. LaBaer
, interim executive director, Biodesign Institute at ASU; director, Biodesign Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics; Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine; professor, School of Molecular Sciences; adjunct professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

LaBaer is being honored at Founders’ Day for his groundbreaking work in the emerging field of personalized medicine. His efforts involve the discovery and validation of biomarkers — unique molecular fingerprints of disease — that can provide early warning for those at risk of major illnesses, including cancer and diabetes. Much of his work concerns proteomics, a branch of biotechnology concerned with analyzing the structure, function and interactions of the proteins produced by the genes of cells, tissues or organisms. His research is recognized as extremely relevant and impactful for a number of chronic health conditions, with direct application from bench to bedside. 

Gitta Honegger, professor in ASU's Herberger Institute’s School of Theatre and F

Faculty Service Achievement Award
Manfred D. Laubichler
, distinguished sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; President's Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; director, ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems; director, ASU-Leuphana Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation; director, Global Biosocial Complexity Initiative, associate director, Origins Project; professor, Santa Fe Institute.

Laubichler, a theoretical biologist and historian of science, is being honored for his service to Arizona State University and to his profession. Laubichler's multi-faceted research involves tracing the role of gene regulatory networks in development and evolution, as well as studying the conceptual structure of modern and historical biology. He also studies the theory of Complex Adaptive Systems, focusing on complexity as a unifying principle in the social and life sciences, including applications in biomedicine, sustainability and the study of innovations. He is recognized as a positive “disrupter” in his work, identifying scientific and intellectual trends years before others do and working with others in a transdisciplinary manner to translate these insights into use-inspired solutions and collaborations. 

portrait of woman

Faculty Teaching Achievement Award
Sharon J. Hall
, senior sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; associate professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Hall is being honored at Founders’ Day for her commitment to teaching, particularly as it relates to incorporating innovative pedagogical methods and championing the education of underrepresented groups in science. As an ecosystem scientist, she and her students are exploring the many ways that people are changing the natural world – and in turn how nature changes us. She shares the results of her work in the many courses she teaches to undergraduate and graduate students. The topics she explores with her students focus on the intersection of nature and society, ranging from classes on the conservation of biodiversity, to  courses on ecosystem ecology, “grand challenges” in environmental science, and peer mentoring for environmental majors.

Alumni Achievement Awards

portrait of michael burns

Alumni Achievement Award
Michael R. Burns
, ‘80 BS, vice chairman, Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.

Burns is being honored at Founders’ Day for his role in building Lionsgate into a multi-billion dollar global content leader. Since becoming vice chairman of Lionsgate in March 2000, he has played an integral role in building the company into a $6 billion operation with a reputation for innovation. He recently helped spearhead Lionsgate’s $4.4 billion acquisition of Starz, the biggest deal in the company’s history, as the studio continues to grow into a diversified global content platform.

portrait of Jack Furst

Philanthropist of the Year Award, presented by the ASU Foundation For A New American University
Jack D. Furst
, ‘81 BS, founder, Oak Stream Investors

Furst is being honored as the 2017 Founder's Day Philanthropist of the Year for his vision, leadership and philanthropy at Arizona State University. Due to his noteworthy and strategic involvement as a lead donor in the Sun Devil Stadium reinvention project, ASU has raised more than $80 million dollars toward that effort. In addition to enlisting others to support the project, Furst has contributed significantly to fulfill his passion and commitment to the role of athletics in higher education.

 

Top photo: Jack Furst accepts his Philanthropist of the Year award at the ASU Founders' Day dinner. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

 
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ASU techies create 3-D model of mysterious, metal asteroid Psyche

Ahead of NASA mission, ASU 3-D print lab makes model of Psyche metal asteroid.
March 15, 2017

NASA mission seeks to explore what scientists believe is the core of a failed planet

Exploring new worlds requires vision and some well-educated guesses; visual cues are nice, too.

The asteroid Psyche is a new world that will be explored by a group of space scientists led by Arizona State University. The project, which received funding from NASA in January, is underway and one of the early steps in the process has been to build a model of the target asteroid. In this case, the model is 3-D print of what Psyche might look like.

The model will fill an educational role, said Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the principal investigator of the Psyche mission and the director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.

“It is really helpful to have visuals for people to interact with when we are talking about the mission,” she said. “It will be easier to have people look at this while we try to explain what we might find when we get there.” 

2030 rendezvous

Getting there won’t begin until 2023, when the mission is scheduled to launch. It will take seven years for the spacecraft to reach Psyche, which is located in the outer part of the main asteroid belt roughly 280 million miles from the sun. Psyche is large for an asteroid, about 130 miles in diameter, roughly the size of Massachusetts, and is thought to be the stripped core of a failed planet. That fact makes Psyche an intriguing piece of planetary debris to inspect.

“This is the first time humans will be able to explore a planetary core,” Elkins-Tanton said. “The mission will help us gain insights into the metal interior of all rocky planets in our solar system, including Earth.”

Beyond that, little is known about the mysterious Psyche. So how did they come up with a shape for it and its surface features to be incorporated into this model?

Elkins-Tanton said the fundamental shape of the model “is based on previously obtained radar returns. Its surface features, like how the craters look, are based on scientific hypotheses, because there are no images of its surface.”

 

A 28-pound birthday cake

In 3D Alley, a portion of the makerspace in the Technology Center on the Polytechnic campus, engineering associate Eddie Fernandez sets up the Objet 350 3-D printer for the Psyche job.

The Objet 350 is not the largest printer there, but it’s the most accurate with a resolution of 0.004 inches.

“This is a cool project,” he said. “It’s definitely different from what I usually get to print, and it has a greater amount of detail.”

Once everything is set, he begins the process, a continuous print that will run for 86 hours and 43 minutes. It will print the asteroid and its exterior supporting material horizontally, slice by slice. The printer head will traverse the printing table 6,619 times, stopping only periodically to clean its heads, laying down a layer of print material and immediately curing it.

“It’s going to be about as big as a basketball but as heavy as a bowling ball,” Fernandez said.

Sure enough, when the print completes, it yields what basically looks like a 28-pound birthday cake.

After the print, Fernandez takes the model to a cleaning station where he removes outer support material and uses water jets to clean the intricate surface of the miniature Psyche. After that a three-hour sonic bath removes any remaining support material, yielding a pristine asteroid.

The model matches artist renditions, Elkins-Tanton said. She and artist Peter Rubin worked for a couple of years on the computer animation. Plans are to paint the model, bringing it to another level of realism.

“The look of the model is based on science, based on scientific hypotheses of what it might look like and the radar returns we have,” Elkins-Tanton said, anticipating the first close-up inspection of the real thing.

“It’s going to surprise us,” she added. “I’m pretty darn sure of that.” 

A time-lapse of the 3-D printing process, which took over 4 days. Shown here in 24 seconds.

Associate Director , Media Relations & Strategic Communications

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