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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's MBA, education graduate programs jump in US News rankings.
W. P. Carey, Thunderbird programs rank among top five in their fields.
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College ranked 11th out of 256 schools
ASU's full-time MBA program ranked 25th out of 129 schools
March 14, 2017

U.S. News & World Report rankings show business programs in top five, significant jump for Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Two of the largest graduate schools at Arizona State University jumped significantly in the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report, with two business programs ranked among the best in the country.

The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College ranked No. 11 out of 256 schools evaluated by U.S. News, climbing three spots from last year. The college's graduate program moved up 24 spots since 2012 in the news magazine’s "Best Graduate Schools" annual survey for 2018. ASU's Teachers College was tied with the education school at the University of Texas at Austin and was ahead of those at New York University, Ohio State University and the University of California at Berkeley.

The supply-chain management program in the W. P. Carey School of Business was ranked thirdMichigan State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were ranked first and second in supply-chain management. in the country, ahead of Stanford University, while the full-time MBA program ranked 25th out of the 129 schools U.S. News evaluated, improving 10 spots.

The Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU was ranked fourth in the country among internationalThe top seven were the University of South Carolina, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Thunderbird, Stanford, Berkeley and the University of Michigan. Columbia, Georgetown and New York University tied for eighth place, followed by the University of Southern California. programs, higher than Stanford, Columbia and Georgetown.

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, meanwhile, retained its ranking of 25th place from last year. That's out of 197 law schools ranked by U.S. News. It is the 8th highest ranked law school at a public university, ahead of the law schools at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Ohio State University.

The widely touted set of annual rankings was released Tuesday by the news magazine, which compared hundreds of graduate programs on a variety of metrics.

Carole Basile, dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, said that rankings are only one indicator of quality and progress.

“But our trend line makes a strong case that our college has done outstanding work for a considerable period of time. A trend line like that is signal, not noise. It’s worth recognizing and celebrating,” she said.

Melissa Woodward, a graduate student in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, said she chose the higher and postsecondary education program because she knew she wanted an immersive experience and saw the rankings improving every year.

“It’s been a great fit for me, and the faculty associates who teach the courses work in all different areas of the university, so I’ve really seen how higher education functions,” said Woodward, who also is the communications director for ASU’s Graduate and Professional Student Association.

Woodward is enjoying her position as an intern in ASU’s Education Outreach and Student Services department and is interested in student services as a career, possibly as an administrator.

“The rankings place a value on our degrees, are a great way to recruit students and show ASU’s commitment to academic excellence,” she said. “And it’s great to be part of a college that continues to do so well.”

One measure used by U.S. News & World Report to rank the education colleges was research funding, and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College tied with Columbia for second-highest research funding at $60.1 million — behind only the University of Wisconsin, which spent $78.6 million.

This year’s full-time MBA students are the first cohort in W. P. Carey’s Forward Focus MBA — an initiative to draw highly qualified students who might not otherwise seek an advanced degree, such as entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders.

Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business, said it’s an honor to be in the top 25.

“This ranking confirms the quality of our full-time MBA, but it also reinforces the access to a great education we’re providing with our Forward Focus curriculum and scholarship,” she said.

“By opening the door to talented students from so many different backgrounds and with so many different goals, we’re not only elevating the program and the W. P. Carey School, we’re elevating the future of business.”

Among the top 25 full-time MBA programs, ASU was in the top five for highest percentage of graduates employed three months after graduation — 95.1 percent, good for fourth place.

Douglas Sylvester, dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, said the school’s ranking is a testament to the quality of the students and the support from the community.

“Despite the tremendous challenges facing legal education, ASU Law continues to thrive and we are honored to be recognized for this achievement,” he said.

U.S. News & World Report did not rank grad schools in public affairs or fine arts this year. Last year, ASU’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions ranked 13th overall, and its city management program was rated fourth in the country. The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts ranked 20th overall, with the print-making program rated fifth.

The magazineThe top five education graduation programs were Harvard, Stanford, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin. The top five full-time MBA programs were Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania and MIT. evaluated the graduate programs on measures including surveys of deans and hiring recruiters; student selectivity; faculty resources, including the ratio of full-time doctoral students to faculty, for education programs; research activity, including expenditures; overall rank and specialty rankings.

U.S. News & World Report releases several higher education rankings throughout the year, most recently rating ASU’s online bachelor’s degree program fourth in the nation. In 2016, ASU was named the most innovative university for the second year in a row.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now

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