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April 27, 2017

Kenneth Shropshire to create international sports center that 'will use the unifying power of sport to make positive impact in the world'

Kenneth L. Shropshire, an international expert in the intersection of sports, business, law and society and director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, is joining Arizona State University to design and lead a new international sports center.

Shropshire, an author, attorney, consultant and professor at the Wharton School of Business and Department of Africana Studies for the past 30 years, is the founder and faculty director of the school’s sports business initiative and holder of the David W. Hauck Endowed Professorship. He will join ASU on July 1 and become a professor emeritus at Wharton.

The author of 12 books and co-host of a national sports business show on SiriusXM radio, Shropshire will become the first Adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport at ASU, a newly endowed faculty position created with a generous contribution from the global manufacturer of sports apparel and athletic equipment. Adidas, based in Germany, has more than 55,000 employees worldwide and $18 billion in annual sales.

At ASU, Shropshire will hold a joint faculty appointment at the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with affiliate faculty appointments at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the School of Social Transformation’s African and African American Studies program.

He will be charged with designing, building and leading a new global sport institute, which is expected to be launched later this year. Shropshire will be the center’s CEO.

“The role and impact of sports on the world is growing rapidly in both scale and complexity,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “Professor Shropshire and our exciting new sports center will be able to explore the many dimensions of sports and illuminate athletics’ impact and influences on all of us.”

The new center will create, support and encourage collaborative, multidisciplinary inquiry and translate complex sports-related research to wide audiences through multiple media platforms, forums and global convenings, reaching audiences “where they live, work and play,” Shropshire said.

“This innovative approach will use the unifying power of sport to make a positive impact in the world,” he said.

Mark Searle, the university’s provost and executive vice president, said the new sports center exemplifies ASU’s commitment to multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to create impactful research, teaching and service.

Shropshire was recruited to ASU by Ray Anderson, the former NFL executive who is ASU’s athletic director. Anderson and Shropshire are longtime friends who played on the Stanford University football team in the mid-1970s.

"I have known Ken since becoming teammates on the Stanford football team in 1973,” Anderson said. “His intelligence and tenacity for the tasks at hand have always been extraordinarily impressive. I have no doubt he will bring dynamic energy to this exciting initiative."

After earning an economics degree from Stanford, Shropshire enrolled in Columbia Law School, graduating in 1980.

He practiced law in Los Angeles and served for three years as an executive with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee before joining the Wharton faculty in 1986.

In 2000, then-Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street appointed Shropshire to chair Philadelphia’s stadium site selection committee. His consulting clients have included the NFL, the Miami Dolphins and the U.S. Olympic Committee. He also served on MLB’s On Field Diversity Task Force.

Shropshire is a member of the board of directors of Moelis & Company and the nonprofit boards of USA Volleyball and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. He also is a former president of the Sports Lawyers Association.

His books include the foundational works “In Black and White: Race and Sports in America,” “The Business of Sports” and “The Business of Sports Agents.” His current book project, “The Mis-Education of the Student-Athlete,” focuses on athlete degree completion.

“From podcasts and documentaries to hosting events globally, this presented an extraordinary opportunity to make the work going on in the academy more impactful by broadly disseminating it in journalistic form,” Shropshire said. “At this point in my career my focus is to make a difference with sport. I cannot wait to get underway.”

Sports play a central role in the Shropshire family. His wife, Dr. Diane Shropshire, a Philadelphia anesthesiologist, is a former collegiate and professional doubles tennis champion at Stanford; their daughter, Theresa, played varsity squash at Stanford University; and their son, Sam, is a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection on the Northwestern University tennis team with plans to play professionally.

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April 27, 2017

'Science Exposed' event at Biodesign Institute pairs scientists and artists to explore research; watch it here

An Arizona State University semesterlong fusion experiment that paired artists from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts with scientists from the Biodesign Institute culminated in a one-night-only performance of “Science Exposed: Bringing Science to Life through the Arts.”

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

The evening kicked off with a chamber musical alchemy from two compositions by graduate students Zachary Bush and Stephen Mitton, as they interpreted the daily struggles of Alzheimer’s patients, caregivers and the scientists searching for a cure.

With neuroscientists Paul Coleman and Diego Mastroeni serving as personal guides to visits to brain banks and research labs, Bush’s “Cycles” explored the research cycle, where according to Bush “months or years of methodical effort to try and prove a hypothesis” all too often result in setbacks. “However,” he said, “the experiments eventually are complete and the triumph of discovery prevails” — but for only a short time, when scientists must confront the next challenge and start the whole process once again. Listen to it below.

Mitton’s “Stages” captured “the daily struggles of Alzheimer’s sufferers and their caregivers as the disease progresses through various stages over time.” Mitton’s evocative work focused on the emotional and physical toll on all affected, with a 12-note theme, representing the personality of an Alzheimer’s victim, undergoing subtle variations over the course of the performance and ending on a bittersweet note. Listen to it below.

Next, Herberger Professor Liz Lerman’s “Animating Research” project combined contemporary movement, dance and theater into a multimedia, immersive extravaganza. A dozen artists were paired with molecular virologists, evolutionary biologists and engineers to create expressive pieces that utilized and fully explored the Biodesign building space for both the audience and performers. 

Lerman, a choreographer and MacArthur Fellow, led the group to create a dance collaboration, engaging tools of movement, performance and media with her students in her semesterlong “Animating Research” class. The expressive pieces evoked the science behind X-ray lasers and protein molecules, the role of cancer cells and our bodies, the spread of viruses throughout our ecosystem, the accumulation and environmental damage caused by microplastics, and using the leading cause of food poisoning, salmonella, as a “warrior” in the fight against cancer. Everything from classical ballet and modern hip-hop to interpretive dance and multimedia performance art installations were used in a creative expression to explain and engage the science.

The energy level and audience engagement steadily rose, and the evening culminated in an audience participatory dance, with groups acting out the roles of molecules to create an early diagnostic for cancer.

Written by Joe Caspermeyer/Biodesign Institute


Top photo: An "atom" dances around the circle as it goes through a "red laser" during the "Science Exposed" performance at the Biodesign Institute on Wednesday. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now