ASU Gammage celebrates renovations with ribbon cutting ceremony

March 15, 2017

Now, the longest lines at ASU Gammage are reserved for the actors.

After years of fundraising, planning and construction, the newest additions to ASU’s iconic auditorium — 88 women’s restroom stalls and two elevators — opened March 14, allowing patrons to enjoy greater access and comfort in the venue. Ribbon Cutting Donors help cut the ribbon, marking the grand opening of the new elevators and restrooms at ASU Gammage. Download Full Image

“Good afternoon and welcome to the beginning of a new era at ASU Gammage,” began Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director for ASU Gammage and associate vice president of cultural affairs for ASU during her speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “So many people have come together to make this day possible ... As a result, we are able to fulfill a longtime dream to give this glorious building the restrooms and elevators it has needed.”

As part of the organization’s Elevate and Alleviate Campaign to upgrade the auditorium and sustain it for future generations, ASU Gammage, its donors and the community raised over $9 million.

Compared to the original structure built in 1964, the renovations are barely detectable from the outside.

Beau Dromiack, design director with RSP Architects, carefully studied the building before designing the new components, he said. He hoped to highlight the upgrades while staying true to legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s original design.

On each side, framed by the building’s two long arms, brick structures enclose the venue’s new bathroom facilities. Although the bricks match those originally used to construct the auditorium, they are arranged in a rippling pattern to create a shifting maze of shadows as the sun moves throughout the day.

Although beautiful, ASU Gammage’s key objective for the renovations was functionality. The women's restrooms are designed to maximize efficiency, minimize sound disturbances and decrease patrons’ wait-times.

Each sink is equipped with a handbag hanger and paper towel dispensers are peppered between each pair of sinks. Also, extra mirror space is available between sinks for those who are not washing their hands. Each vanity is equipped with state-of-the-art, custom lighting, and the toilets and ceiling are optimized for sound reduction.

Previously, patrons could only access the auditorium’s orchestra, grand tier and balcony via ramps or stairs. Now, two elevators complete with ASU Gammage elevator attendants will help increase accessibility.

Thanks to contributions from over 1,500 donors, including significant investments from ASU Gammage, the classic auditorium is revitalized for many more years of world-class performances.

“I am happy to see so many faces of friends and people with whom we have made a family at ASU Gammage and happy that we have been able to forge a new future for ASU Gammage-- a future where we are able to better meet the needs our patrons,” continued Jennings-Roggensack.

Donors, VIPs and ASU staff celebrated the completion of the project with tours of the renovated areas, and a VIP dinner on the auditorium’s promenade before opening night of "Finding Neverland."

“For more than two decades I’ve had this dream of making sure ASU Gammage was around for future generations and these building additions along with our continued investment into the facility will assure that for many years to come,” Jennings-Roggensack said.

Marketing and Communications Assistant, ASU Gammage


Fresh and Local Market now open on ASU's Tempe campus

March 13, 2017

For Arizona State University students, faculty and staff, fresh, local food is now easy to eat on the go. Each Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., five to nine local vendors sell locally grown, harvested and produced organic products on the Tempe campus. 

“The Fresh and Local market encourages people to think about where food comes from,” said Susan Norton, ASU Sustainability Practices program manager. “The market provides an easy opportunity to purchase and enjoy the fruits of local businesses.” Fresh and Local event tempe sdfc produce for sale Fresh, local and organic produce sold every Thursday on the Tempe campus in front of the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. The Fresh and Local Market replaces the old farmer's market at ASU. Download Full Image

The market is located at the intersection of Lemon Mall and Palm Walk, right outside the Tempe Sun Devil Fitness Complex main entrance. All vendors accept cash and cards, and items at the market sell from $5 to $20.

The following vendors participate in the market, and some provide free samples.

  • Bakers Bees sells honey from Chandler, Arizona.
  • Dr. Hummus sells 10 different varieties of hummus and homemade pita chips.
  • Kelpies Chips sells chipotle- or pizza-flavored seaweed chips.
  • Simple Blossoms sells small-batch fresh lotions, scrubs and soap not tested on animals with no petroleum ingredients.
  • Squarz Pies sells savory baked croissants and pies.

ASU alumnus Nick Baker, a biologist and beekeeper at Baker’s Bees, sells local honey at the Fresh and Local Market. He also recommends purchasing the produce, especially the dates.

“I pollinate crops like almonds, citrus, cotton, alfalfa and pumpkins. I produce delicious Arizona honey with a distinct taste from our beautiful desert flowers,” he said. “The produce does not look like the grocery store, but they make up in the fantastic flavors they hold.”

Popular vendors include Dr. Hummus and Bakers Bees, which sells about 30 jars of honey each week.

Additional ASU participating organizations include the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Mail Services, Parking and Transit, Sun Devil Dining and ASU Wellness. 

Peter Northfelt

Editor assistant, Business and Finance Support – Communications


Annual staff BBQ promotes sustainable socialization, employee engagement

March 13, 2017

On behalf of Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow, ASU Staff Council hosts annual staff barbecues on four ASU campuses. The barbecues set aside time for staff to get to know each other and learn about resources. 

The event began when Crow asked that a barbecue be held to honor staff achievements. The first barbecue outgrew the original Old Main area, and since 2011 it is the largest zero waste event each year. Large crowd at West Two-hundred fifty staff members enjoy their lunch at the West campus Staff Appreciation BBQ Wednesday, March 2. Download Full Image

This year’s barbecues drew more than 3,800 attendees, including: 

  • Downtown Phoenix campus: 435
  • Polytechnic campus: 175
  • Tempe campus: 3,000
  • West campus: 250

“The picnic allows us to appreciate staff for their achievements,” said Stephen Potter, Staff Council president. “We also take this time to educate staff on the many opportunities Staff Council and ASU provide to staff year-round.”

The event not only celebrates staff, but educates them about landfill waste diversion. Katie Schumacher, Zero Waste program coordinator, said despite the large attendance, the 2017 events diverted 94.3 percent of all event waste from a landfill.

“This event was one of the first large-scale university events to incorporate zero waste,” she said.

Vendors, like MidFirst Bank and BC Graphics, provided information. Resources like ASU Employee Wellness, ASU Police Department and Zero Waste at ASU were also in attendance. One group that is always proud to be part of the experience is the ASU Retirees Association (ASURA).

“Not many ASU staff are aware of the ASURA and what it does,” said Barry McNeil, ASURA president. “These barbecues give us an incredible opportunity to alert people to the lasting legacy of Sun Devils.”

Sign up for Staff Council monthly updates for information on upcoming events and news.

Upcoming Staff Council events:

Peter Northfelt

Editor assistant, Business and Finance Support – Communications


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Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz to speak at ASU commencement

March 13, 2017

Arizona State University has selected Howard Schultz, Starbucks current chairman and CEO, as the official speaker at the May 8 undergraduate commencement, set to address an expected crowd of nearly 20,000 graduating students and their guests at Sun Devil Stadium. As part of his first commencement speech, Schultz will also be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremony.

Recognized for his passion, leadership and efforts to strengthen communities, Schultz has been a transformative leader for Starbucks. From the beginning, Schultz set out to build a different kind of company, one that brings a sense of humanity and demonstrates respect and dignity for the partners (employees), customers and communities Starbucks serves. Through his vision, Starbucks has been on Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list for the past 14 years, coming in at No. 3 this year.

“We take great pride in having Howard Schultz speak at this year’s commencement,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Howard has been an energetic advocate for expanding opportunity. And I am personally grateful that our personal partnership — and the partnership between Starbucks and ASU — has made it possible for many thousands to complete their college degrees and pursue a path toward lifelong learning and success.”

Schultz first joined Starbucks in 1982 when the coffee company had only four stores. Today, Starbucks has more than 25,000 stores in 75 countries, with more than 300,000 partners (employees) wearing the green apron globally. He demonstrated early on that you can balance profitability with shared success through foundational initiatives including comprehensive health coverage for eligible full- and part-time workers, and offering partners equity in the company in the form of stock.

A graduate of Northern Michigan University, Schultz is a strong proponent of access to and excellence in education, helping create pathways for Starbucks partners to achieve economic and social mobility through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), introduced in 2014. Developed in alliance with Crow, SCAP enables partners to pursue and complete their college education tuition-free through ASU Online. To date, more than 6,500 Starbucks partners have gained admission, and nearly 1,000 are expected to graduate from ASU by the end of this year. The goal is 25,000 graduates by 2025.    

Efforts like SCAP have positioned Starbucks as a leading employer of choice, building on a strong history of putting partners first and focusing on the biggest challenges facing the communities the company serves. Starbucks has also committed to supporting and hiring veterans and military spouses and engaging and hiring Opportunity Youth, which focuses on 16- to 24-year-olds who are unemployed and not in school. Additionally, the company has recently pledged to hire 10,000 refugees globally over the next five years.

On April 3, Howard will transition from CEO to executive chairman and shift his focus to innovation, design and development of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries around the world, expansion of the Starbucks Reserve retail store format and the company’s social impact initiatives.

Along with his wife Sheri, Schultz is co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. He is also the best-selling author of "For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice" (2014), "Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul" (2011) and "Pour Your Heart Into It" (1997).

Top photo: Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. Photo courtesy of Starbucks

ASU Gammage restroom, elevator construction complete

March 10, 2017

The lines to the women’s restrooms at ASU Gammage will be much shorter starting next week for the opening night of "Finding Neverland." ASU Gammage, its donors and the community raised more than $9 million during the Elevate and Alleviate Campaign, constructing 88 new restroom stalls and two elevators which provide access to all levels of the venue.

The ASU Gammage team spearheaded the Elevate and Alleviate Campaign as part of the 50th Anniversary Golden Gammage Initiative. The improvements were meant to sustain the performing arts center for future generations and enhance patrons’ show experience. ASU Gammage restrooms ASU Gammage Elevate and Alleviate contributions helped fund the renovation and expansion of the venue's restrooms, which will open March 14. Download Full Image

More than 1,500 donors contributed to the project, including significant investments from ASU Gammage as a result of the success of its last two seasons.

"Finding Neverland" opens at ASU Gammage March 14 and runs through March 18.

Marketing and Communications Assistant, ASU Gammage


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ASU launches initiative to support next generation of leaders

Initiative's 1st cohort getting chance to step back, see how parts work together
March 1, 2017

Advanced Leadership Initiative immerses 9 fellows in innovative thinking

Arizona State University is a massive engine that runs at warp speed, and a new initiative is inviting a group of campus leaders to look under the hood so they can keep it going decades into the future.

The Advanced Leadership Initiative is a six-month immersive experience to cultivate a new pool of leaders to keep ASU on a trajectory of innovation and achievement.

“What we’re trying to do is really embed them in the ASU context,” said Minu IpeIpe leads the ASU Design Accelerator and also is a clinical professor with the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship in the W. P. Carey School of Business. She also has helped run the Leadership Academy, which has trained mid-level faculty and staff members since 2012., Senior Knowledge Enterprise Architect and senior fellow for leadership and institutional design, and one of the heads of the new program.

“We want them to understand what the whole of ASU is about and really think about the question of what does it mean to lead ASU into the future and how can we engage the whole institution?”

The team will focus on five leadership competencies:

  • “Think big,” which is thinking about what is being worked on today in its future iterations.
  • “Lead innovation,” which is the ability to understand what innovation looks like at ASU and the ability to challenge the status quo in an empowering way.
  • “Execute with influence,” which emphasizes a proactive approach.
  • “Develop talent,” which is the ability to build and nurture a strong team.
  • “Deploy Yourself,” which is the ability to take chances and be resilient.

Bryan Brayboy is in the pilot cohort. BrayboyBrayboy also is associate director of the School of Social Transformation and serves as affiliate faculty with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, American Indian Studies and the Department of English., Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice in the School of Social Transformation, said it’s nice to be able to take a step back from the sometimes overwhelming day-to-day responsibilities.

“In some ways, we’re all hanging on for dear life with the rate at which this place moves,” he said. “We’re all part of engineering that, but we don’t always get a chance to see how the engine works. This gives us a chance to see how the moving parts work together.”

The nine faculty and staff members in the first cohort of ALI Fellows come from across the university and have already attended the first of three intensive retreats. At the workshops, they met with ASU leaders who have already succeeded at large-scale projects, including Wellington “Duke” Reiter, who developed the Downtown Phoenix campus, and Phil Regier, who launched ASU Online at EdPlus.

“As it turns out, it’s not an accident that ASU continues to do so many things well,” said Brayboy, who is special adviser to the president on American Indian Affairs and director of the Center for Indian Education.

“There’s a brilliance to how this is working, and I had a chance to see some of that.”

Besides the retreats, the fellows will have several hours with an executive coach, who will help them assess a 360-degree review, in which supervisors, peers and subordinates give feedback.

Program manager Chelsea Chamberlain said that after this session, the cohort will provide feedback and then work with the next group.

“As much as they are participants, they are collaborators as well,” she said.

Cynthia Lietz, senior associate dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, said that the camaraderie among the group is meaningful as they share fears and dreams.

“There’s so much work to be done to make the world a better place, and at ASU there’s so much going on that you could feel like how could I, as one person, make a difference?

“But this program has done a great job of highlighting people who have done big things and made a difference and shown that it’s not ever just one person. It’s the ability to coalesce a group of people around an idea and execute it,” said Lietz, a professor in the School of Social Work. “The sense that you’re in it alone is debunked through this process.”

The Advanced Fellowship Initiative Fellows are (front row from left) Matt Delmont, Jen Haughn and Nadya Bliss; (middle row, from left) Ji Mi Choi, Bryan Brayboy and Nina Berman; and (back row, from left) Tiffany Lopez, Cynthia Lietz and Jake Pinholster. Contributed photo

Besides Brayboy and Lietz, the other fellows in the Advanced Leadership Initiative are:

  • Nina Berman, director and professor at the School of International Letters and Culture, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Nadya Bliss, director of the Global Security Initiative, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development
  • Ji Mi Choi, associate vice president for strategic partnerships and programs, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development
  • Matt Delmont, professor and director of the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Jen Haughn, director of client services, Office of Human Resources
  • Tiffany Lopez, director and professor at the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
  • Jake Pinholster, associate professor and associate dean for policy initiatives, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

ASU President Michael Crow recognized the need to sustainably cultivate a pool of leaders who can advance innovation at ASU, and at his request, the Advanced Leadership Initiative was created, designed and executed by Ipe and May Busch, executive in residence in the Office of the President and senior adviser to the president, along with Chamberlain and Maggie Dellow, program coordinator, both in the Office of University Affairs.

For more information, visit

Celebrate Women’s HERstory Month at ASU

March 1, 2017

Join in the celebration of women at Arizona State University and beyond this March for HERstory Month. Events includes film screenings, panels, networking mixers and discussion forums for all Sun Devils to learn about the history of women, current issues impacting women at ASU and around the globe, practices for creating equity and equality, and methods for empowering self and others.  

Use the hashtag #YourStoryforHERstory to share your story of empowerment and tell the ASU community about the issues that concern you, the causes you support and stories that will motive and inspire fellow Sun Devils. The Womyn’s Coalition will re-share select stories via social media and at HERstory events throughout the month of March. HERstory poster Download Full Image

Learn more at

ASU women’s basketball hosts final home series this weekend

February 20, 2017

Make it a family affair Friday night with a purchase of the Family Four Pack as the ASU women's basketball team hosts its final home series this weekend at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.

For only $60, enjoy four reserved-seating tickets and $10 food vouchers to the game Feb. 24 against USC at 8 p.m. Young fans are encouraged to wear their favorite royal attire for Prince & Princess Day! Princess Belle, Cinderella, Elsa and Anna will be in attendance for pictures, storytime and a halftime performance. ASU womens basketball Download Full Image

The team will then finish up regular-season play when the Sun Devils host No. 18 UCLA on Sunday, Feb. 26, at noon. Senior Sun Devils Sophie Brunner, Quinn Dornstauder, Sara Hattis and Kelsey Moos will be honored in a ceremony following the game. Senior citizens attending the game have the opportunity to purchase $5 discounted tickets at the box office for Senior Day. It’s also the last “Sunday Funday” of the season with all kids 12 and younger receiving free admission to the game. Purchase your tickets online today. See you there at the arena!

Territorial Cup Series returns to Tempe with women's basketball

February 14, 2017

The Territorial Cup Series returns to Tempe. Sun Devil Women’s Basketball will battle Arizona at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19.

It’s the "Gold Out" game and the first 1,000 fans will receive a rally towel giveaway. We are also celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the 2006-2007 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball NCCA Elite 8 team. Former players will be in the building to help us celebrate their accomplishments. Download Full Image

Tickets are still available, so purchase your $5 discounted tickets with promo code GOLD at and come wearing gold!

Sun Devil Wrestling home finale

February 7, 2017

Don’t miss your last chance to see No. 21 Sun Devil Wrestling at home, and watch as No. 1 ranked Zahid Valencia looks to stay undefeated on the season. The Sun Devils take on Pac-12 opponent Cal State Bakersfield in the home finale at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 inside Wells Fargo Arena. It will be another opportunity for the Sun Devils to add to this historic season that includes the following accomplishments:

  • a top 10 finish at the Cliff Keen Invitational; best finish since 2006
  • third place at Midlands Championships, including two individual championships; best finish since 1989
  • defeated Iowa State in Ames, Iowa for first the time since 1989
  • third place at the Virginia Duals; best finish since 1997

Be the advantage the Sun Devils need to make it 2-0 at home against Pac-12 competition this season. Get your tickets online or by calling 480-965-5812. Download Full Image