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From mud fun to music, spring's key dates at ASU

These are the dates you're going want to know at ASU this spring.
From a Hunter Hayes concert to Broadway's "Annie," a list of key dates at ASU.
January 15, 2016

There are a little more than 100 days in the spring semester. Each of these days are important. But some of the dates between the start of classes on Jan. 11 and the commencement ceremonies on May 9 are more interesting or unique than the others. Here's a collection of some of these glamour dates. Enjoy.



Kids marching.

MLK day performance at West Campus — Jan. 20

A collection of Valley sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders will gather to emulate the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom — you know, the march that included Martin Luther King Jr.'s famed "I Have a Dream" speech. ASU faculty member Charles St. Clair will handle the speech. The event is free and begins at 11 a.m.



Women playing basketball.

Women's basketball team hosts University of Arizona — Jan. 22

A scheduling fluke meant our men's basketball team hosted the Wildcats over holiday break. Boo. So get your rivalry action here with the women's hoops squad, which is currently the 10th-ranked team in nation. That has to bode well for this matchup, which starts at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.



People in a classroom.

ASU Startup Summitt — Jan. 30

Entrepreneurs, here's an opportunity to turn your idea into reality. The summit provides workshops and networking opportunities for startups or other ventures built on creative dreams.

The journey begins at 11 a.m. in the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. Register here.



People in graduation attire.

Deadline to apply for graduation — Feb. 15

It's not reserving your gown, but you need to fill out the appropriate paperwork to wear your gown. Then you can transition to the world and show everyone how well ASU prepared you to succeed.



A fun poster.

Night of the Open Door

Here's your chance to get a glimpse of some of those cool things happening at ASU that you hear about every time we tout our greatness. Basically a series of open-house events at each of ASU's campuses, the Night of the Open Door invites students and the public into corners of ASU creating art, exploring science or striving for innovation. You can participate in a 12-bar blues workshop or learn to program arduinos or create your own Rubik's Cube. These nights are more than just showing off ASU's achievements — they're opportunities to have some enlightenment mixed into your fun Friday or Saturday nights. Here's a list of the dates for each campus.

West: 4-8 p.m. Feb. 6
Downtown: 4-8 p.m. Feb. 12
Polytechnic: 5-9 Feb. 19
Thunderbird: 4-8 p.m. Feb. 20
Tempe: 4-9 p.m. Feb. 27

Visit the Night of the Open Door website for more information.



Hunter Hayes

Devilpalooza featuring Hunter Hayes — Feb. 26

Hunter Hayes has been Nashville's Wunderkind for what feels like 10 years. That he's only 24 says everything you need to know about his ability to dazzle on the guitar or write country-pop songs that compel people to turn up the volume. He'll be bringing his charismatic stage presence to ASU for this 9 p.m. concert event that's free for students, faculty and staff. Register here.



People in a crime scene lab.

Forensics Day at West Campus — March 3

We've all watched enough TV cop procedurals to know that forensics are fascinating. Take that interest to the West Campus' forensics program and discover how ASU students are trained to do what mesmerizes us on TV.



Men playing basketball.

ASU men's basketball team hosts California and ESPN2 — March 5

It's always a little more interesting when ESPN comes to campus. The sports network returns to broadcast this 6 p.m. game at Wells Fargo Arena that we hope will have postseason implications for these Pac-12 teams.



People on a college campus.

Spring break — March 6-13

Last one out turn the lights off, right?



ASU baseball.

ASU baseball plays Meiji University — March 15

For all the talk about baseball being "America's pastime," this game against the Tokyo university feels like a fine example of global synergy. The first pitch flies at 6:30 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.



Muddy volleyball.

Oozeball — April 2

Not familiar with oozeball? It's essentially volleyball in a mud pit. More importantly, the annual event is popular at ASU. You'll want to see it happen, or get in on the action.



Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith at ASU — April 12

Literature enthusiasts have to be excited about this. Smith is one of contemporary literature's bright lights, a voice that can be poignant and humorous with topics like immigration — which was at the heart of her award-winning first novel "White Teeth." Her talk starts at 7 p.m. in the Tempe Center for the Arts. RSVP here.



An ASU class in progress.

Final exams — May 2-7

Is it too early to start studying?



"Annie" on Broadway.

"Annie" at ASU Gammage — May 4-8

There might not be a limit to how many times you can hear a pack of orphans sing "Hard Knock Life." With that in mind, listen to the song again during this touring Broadway production of that little, red-haired orphan. Get tickets here.



People graduating.

Commencement — May 9

As master learners, the educational journey doesn't end for ASU students once they toss their caps into the air. But the rite of passage does mark a new beginning, and the close of another school year.


Photos courtesy press materials and ASU Now.

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Trash talking at the wrestling meet

Sun Devils wrestling meet to highlight ASU's Zero Waste initiative.
January 15, 2016

Athletics event will use power of the fans to drive Zero Waste initiative

Wrestling is a minimalist sport, with no elaborate uniforms or equipment.

And the fans at Friday night's Sun Devils wrestling meetThe Sun Devils will host Iowa State at 8 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. will be asked to keep that sentiment in mind by keeping their trash to a minimum.

Arizona State University’s Zero Waste Initiative is partnering with the Sun Devils Athletic Department on a marketing campaign aimed at fans. Signs will remind them to “think before you throw” and volunteers will staff the bins for people who really aren’t sure where to toss that plastic fork.

Lucas Mariacher, program manager for Zero Waste at ASU and an alumnus of the wrestling team, said the meet is a big event and the partnership will raise the profile of both organizations.

Zero Waste has been working for years behind the scenes to cut ASU’s landfill stream two ways, according to Alana Levine, assistant director for Zero Waste. Aversion means the institution tries to produce less waste by buying items that can be reused, recycled or composted. Diversion means actually recycling or composting everything that can be.

The process is a loop, Levine said.

“We look at the life cycle of materials. If we’re going to be recycling our paper, we have to make sure we are buying back recycled paper so we have closed that economic loop,” she said.

One major way that trash is reduced at athletic events is by working with the concessionaire, Sodexo.

“A few years ago we really analyzed the packaging around the hot dog you’re going to buy,” Levine said. “Can they serve chips in a tray that’s recyclable instead of a bag that’s not recyclable?”

She said the Athletics Department has been eager to participate. “We stand side by side with Athletics; we’re not pulling them along,” she said.

Sparky visited the ASU staff barbeque in December, where waste diversion was more than 99 percent.

The initiative has been very successful. Mariacher said that waste is separated and weighed after events. More than 99 percent of the waste produced at the ASU staff barbeque in December was diverted, he said. The record for Wells Fargo Arena was a men’s basketball game last year in which 90 percent of the trash was diverted.

But now the fans are being invited to do their part.

“One of the shifts in our thinking in how we’re approaching Zero Waste is we really want the individual to be activated,” Levine said.

Each ASU team will feature the Zero Waste marketing campaign at one of its signature events this semester. Friday is the wrestling team’s “MMA Night,” featuring wrestling alumni who now participate in the Ultimate Fighting Championship competition.

“Our number one goal is that the behavior transfers to other venues and even to the fans’ personal lives,” Mariacher said. “Maybe you shouldn’t throw away all those recyclable things.”

The other Zero Waste promotional events this spring will be: women’s basketball, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. the University of Arizona; gymnastics, 7 p.m. Feb. 22 vs. the University of Arizona; wrestling PAC-12 championship, 6 p.m. Feb. 27; men’s basketball, 6:30 p.m. March 5 vs. California; baseball, 7 p.m. April 12 vs. the University of Arizona; and softball, 7 p.m. April 23 vs. Oregon.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


Setting the stage for academic conversation

ASU theater experts help bridge gulf between theory, practice

January 14, 2016

Academic writing gets a bad rap.

The journals, books and periodicals of colleges and universities are often viewed as divorced from the real world; there is a large gulf separating theory from practice and academic research from everyday life. The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other Photo by Tim Trumble, courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

But that gulf is slowly diminishing as academic discourse opens up to a larger audience, thanks to the Internet. Websites and blogging platforms are helping to bring both theoretical and practical discussions to a larger community, creating a space for discovery and innovation.

In the realm of theater, HowlRound is that space. The online journal and blogging platform was established four years ago as “a place for artists to provide feedback, learning, expertise, frustration, and vision — in an effort to enliven the fields of theater and performance to the aspiring and established artist alike.”

Just this year, Arizona State University was named No. 1 in innovation by U.S. News and World Report 2016 college rankings. It comes as no surprise, then, that the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre is at the cutting edge of innovative discussions, both in the classroom and online. Since HowlRound’s founding, nearly a dozen ASU-affiliated students, alumni and faculty have contributed to the site on topics ranging from stage combat to immersive theater.

"ASU faculty and students are bringing artists, scholars and theatermakers of all kinds into conversation with one another,” said Jamie Gahlon, senior creative producer of HowlRound. “Their contributions to HowlRound are helping to bridge the gulf between theory and practice for the advancement of theatrical form and discourse."

Julie Rada, an alumna of the MFA in Theatre (concentration in performance) program at ASU, who now works at the University of Utah as a Raymond C. Morales Fellow, has written for the blog on three separate occasions, covering such topics as casting practices in devised theater. She said she writes for HowlRound both because it is speedier than writing for an academic journal and because of the ethics of the site (it’s free to users, unlike journals, which are only free to people with academic institutional affiliations). 

“It really is a kind of ‘melting pot’ of academic, scholarly, interrogative publishing, practical how-to’s and idealistic musings from emerging artists,” Rada said. “There’s space for everyone at the table, particularly with the three possibilities for submission (blog, article or series). There are some heavy-hitters in the field who contribute: heads of academic departments, founders of seminal theater companies and ensembles, published playwrights, etc. There’s always the possibility that someone you admire and respect will read and comment on your writing. That’s very exciting.”

Dan Fine is an alumnus of the MFA in Theatre (concentration in interdisciplinary digital media) program, a joint degree of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. He’s teaching a graduate class on performance technology in the theater department at ASU. He was encouraged to write by Lance Gharavi, assistant director of theater in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, and he ultimately decided to share that writing (a series of instructives on media design) on HowlRound because he felt it would reach a larger audience. 

“What I find with a lot of practitioners is that we are just too busy to write about what we’re doing — because we are constantly doing things,” said Fine. “So there tends to be a lot of information that’s not shared because of that.” 

Fine said the online format of HowlRound seemed like the best way to get that information out to people, especially in a field like media design, which is digitally based to begin with.

“It’s something that feels less physically tangible, because you can’t pick it up and touch it, like a book or a journal,” he said of online writing. “But in a different way it feels more tangible because it’s active, it feels like it has more life.”

"HowlRound and similar outlets are opening up new ground for discourse in the theater profession,” said Jacob Pinholster, director of ASU’s School of Film, Dance and Theatre. “Where previously we had a ‘never the twain shall meet’ gulf between popular websites and academic journals, we now have an amazing new field for true interplay between ideas and practice. It is an eloquent statement about both HowlRound's and ASU's relevance to emerging practices and trends in theater that so many of our students, faculty and alumni are consistent contributors."

And the dialogue can only expand further. HowlRound is always open to pitches for essays, blog posts, series and criticism.

“Better thinking makes better art,” Rada said. “The ability to organize your thoughts can make the ephemeral and often evocative work of the theater more tangible and communicative to a wider audience. This requires agile, flexible thinking. And thinking is made better by writing.”

Communications Program Coordinator, ASU Art Museum


From tribal law to concussion conference: ASU Law highlights achievements

Graduates dominate bar exam results; faculty receive international attention

January 13, 2016

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has highlighted the achievements of its students, faculty and alumni over the past three months, including providing assistance to tribes, being named among the brightest law graduates of 2016, and being asked to speak on climate change, solar energy, Islamic State funding and the concussion epidemic.

  Professor Robert Miller ASU Law Robert Miller is a professor of law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He is also the faculty director of the Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program at ASU Law. Download Full Image


Simon Gertler (JD Candidate) will clerk for the Indian Law Resource Center in Montana. The center provides legal assistance to indigenous peoples of the Americas to combat racism and oppression, to protect their lands and environment, to protect their cultures and ways of life, to achieve sustainable economic development and genuine self-government, and to realize their other human rights.

Simon Goldenberg (JD Candidate) was selected as a law clerk for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). The fund has provided legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide who may have otherwise gone without adequate representation. NARF has successfully asserted and defended the most important rights of Indians and tribes in hundreds of major cases, and has achieved significant results in such critical areas as tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, and Indian education. Goldenberg will be clerking in NARF’s Colorado office.

Eun Hyung “Thomas” Kim (JD Candidate) was profiled on his undergraduate school’s website. Pacific Lutheran University asked Kim about meeting Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and life at ASU Law. 

Chase Milea (JD Candidate) has been named among "The Best-and-Brightest Law School Graduates of 2016" by Tipping the Scales, a website founded by John Byrne, former editor-in-chief of Fast Company and, that focuses on helping prospective students get into law school.

Racheal White Hawk (JD Candidate) has been named among "The Best-and-Brightest Law School Graduates of 2016" by Tipping the Scales, a website founded by John Byrne, former editor-in-chief of Fast Company and, that focuses on helping prospective students get into law school.  



Professor Kenneth Abbott contributed a piece to the November 2015 issue of Global Policy, "Reinvigorating International Climate Policy: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Nonstate Action." Free access to the article is available through February. 

Professor Dan Bodansky was quoted in a USA Today article highlighting Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change. On Nov. 17, he also took part in a panel at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The panel discussed the climate talks in Paris.

Professor Laura Napoli Coordes was quoted in the Arizona Republic regarding the financial situation of Arizona's Solana Generating Station’s parent company.  The Spanish company, Abengoa, is facing a possible liquidation of its assets through bankruptcy in its home country.

Professor Adam Chodorow was quoted in Le Monde about the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous vote for a binding resolution aimed at drying up funding sources of the Islamic State. The article is in French, but Google Translate will help you read. Professor Chodorow also brought his perspective to an article in Foreign Policy Magazine looking at how long the Islamic State can continue to govern based on the people they are taxing. In addition, he analyzed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's tax plan based in an article in Slate.

Professor Emeritus Dale Furnish published an article comparing two different judicial doctrines, forum non conveniens and lis alibi pendens, in the journal XIV-XV ANUARIO ESPANOL DE DERECHO INTERNACIONAL PRIVADO 321-358 (2015). He presented the article at conference at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid in May 2015. He also published a book chapter, “Globalization and Crisis: How is International Insolvency Managed?,” for Cursos de Derecho Internacional y Relaciones Internacionales de Vitoria-Gasteiz 231-304 (Universidad del País Vasco, 2014).  

Professors Betsy Grey and Gary Marchant co-wrote the op-ed, "Facing Concussion Epidemic Head-On," for the Arizona Republic as part of ASU Law’s conference, Safeguarding Brains: The Law, Science & Ethics of the Concussive Injury Epidemic.

Professor Erik Luna discussed the need to reform criminal sentencing laws at a panel at the justice summit hosted by the Charles Koch Institute. The summit was called “Advancing Justice: An Agenda for Human Dignity and Public Safety.”

Regents’ Law Professor Gary Marchant gave the prestigious 2015 Dr. Leroy Burney Lecture at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in November. His presentation was called, "Who Wants Your Genetic Information and Why?" His video presentation is available here.

Professor Robert Miller was the keynote speaker at the annual Collins Lecture conference, “The Gospel of Conquest," put on by the Ecumenical Council of Oregon on Nov. 19. He spoke about American Indians and the international law called the Doctrine of Discovery, which was used to legally claim North America for Europeans and then the United Sates. Professor Miller also had two papers in the 2015 Top Social Sciences Research Network Papers in American Indian Law. "Consultation or Consent: The United States Duty to Confer with American Indian Governments" and "The Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, and American Indians" were ranked Nos. 4 and 12, respectively. You can read both selections here. Professor Miller also discussed the Dollar General case on Native America Calling.

Professor Troy Rule was quoted in Scientific American, where he helped outline the laws (and lack thereof) for drone activity.

Professor James Weinstein helped define the difference between protected speech and hate speech in this Associated Press article looking at the rise of incendiary language.




Judge Elizabeth Finn (JD ’70), who presides over Glendale City Court, was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association’s Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. She has been a judge for 36 years and is Arizona’s most senior judge. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen for their contributions and impact on the history of the county bar and legal profession, their community involvement, and their tenure in the industry.

Van O’Steen (JD ’72), a founding partner of O'Steen & Harrison, PLC, was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association’s Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. He has had a general civil practice, emphasizing personal injury, defective products, and nursing-home abuse and neglect. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen for their contributions and impact on the history of the county bar and legal profession, their community involvement, and their tenure in the industry.

Joe Sims (JD ’70) has stepped down as a partner at Jones Day after 45 years. He is now formally of counsel at the firm. Sims took part in many high-profile antitrust cases, including AOL-Time Warner in 2000, Sirius-XM in 2008, and AMR Corp.-US Airways in 2013. In honoring Sims, The National Law Journal described him as an M&A and antitrust “trailblazer” and noted that, “no lawyer in modern times has had more impact on the antitrust agencies’ relationship with the modern bar.” After graduating from ASU Law, Sims started in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, witnessing the breakup of AT&T and ultimately becoming deputy assistant attorney general within the division before joining Jones Day in 1978.


Shawn K. Aiken (JD ’83), a shareholder at Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi in Phoenix, has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. His practice focuses in complex commercial litigation, mediation and arbitration.

Booker T. Evans Jr. (JD ’89), a white-collar criminal defense attorney and commercial litigator at Ballard Spahr in Phoenix, has been honored by the Arizona Diversity Council as one of the 2015 DiversityFIRST individual award winners. The DiversityFIRST Award honors individuals, community groups, nonprofits, and businesses within the legal, academic, corporate, or health community that have demonstrated outstanding achievements and sustained commitment to the pursuit of cultural diversity and inclusion in the community and workplace.

Kevin O'Malley (JD ’80), a shareholder with Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix, was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association's Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. O'Malley is a member of the Gallagher & Kennedy board of directors and head of the firm’s litigation and public bidding and procurement departments. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen for their contributions and impact on the history of the county bar and legal profession, their community involvement and their tenure in the industry.


Kelly Kral (JD ’98) of Dyer & Ferris LLC, was honored as member of the year by the Maricopa County Bar Association. Her areas of practice include family law, wills, trusts, conservatorships, guardianships, elder law, mental-health law, and other areas of law pertinent to such cases and special matters.


Christopher R. Houk (JD ’00) has joined the Law Firm of Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb to lead the firm’s Employment Law group. Prior to joining the firm, Houk served for more than six years as a federal trial attorney for the EEOC, preceded by four years as assistant Attorney General for the Arizona Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division.

Andrea “Andy” Landeen (JD ’06) has joined Quarles & Brady’s Phoenix office. She focuses primarily on the representation of lenders and other creditors in pre- and post-judgment litigation. Her practice emphasizes litigation including commercial contracts, deeds of trust, enforcement of promissory notes, and security agreements.

Lindsay A.M. Olivarez (JD ’09), a family-law attorney at Udall Shumway in Phoenix, joined the board of directors of the Association of Supportive Child Care, a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing quality of care for children in Arizona. She has represented clients in an array of family-law issues including divorce, custody, relocation and modification actions.

K Royal (JD ’04) was honored with the Association of Corporate Counsel's Robert I. Townsend Jr. Member of the Year Award. She was selected from more than 40,000 fellow members of the association worldwide for her contributions to the Association of Corporate Counsel. She is vice president, assistant general counsel and privacy officer at CellTrust Corp. in Scottsdale.


Blake Atkinson (JD ’13) joined Fennemore Craig in Phoenix as an associate. He practices intellectual property, including patent prosecution and litigation, trademark registration and litigation, and copyrights. He concurrently earned his MBA while earning his JD.

Chase A. Bales (JD ’12) joined Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix as an associate in commercial litigation. He is experienced in the representation of managed-care plans and providers in complex litigation involving health-law issues. Prior to joining Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, Bales worked at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as an associate, focusing his practice on health care and political law litigation.

Philip Brailsford (JD ’14) joined Fennemore Craig in Phoenix. Brailsford focuses in business litigation. Before practicing law, he served in the Mesa Police Department for more than 19 years.

Mike Bercovici (MSLB ’15) was named the 2015 Pac-12 football Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The former ASU Football redshirt senior quarterback was also the recipient of the Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award, which recognizes athletes who go above the call of a student, amateur or professional athlete by demonstrating a deep care for others and their community. 

Robert Clarke (JD ’15) tied for the second-highest score on the July 2015 Arizona Uniform Bar Exam. He tied with another ASU Law graduate, with the top scorer also hailing from ASU Law. According to data from the Committee on Examinations in Arizona, ASU Law is the only law school in the state to have taken the top three spots on the bar exam since 1991.

Mark DeLuca (JD ’15) joined Foster Swift Collins & Smith in Michigan as an associate. He is part of the firms Trusts & Estates practice group. DeLuca is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Kyle Orne (JD ’15) had the highest score on the July 2015 Arizona Uniform Bar Exam. A passing score is 273. The average score in July was 279.23, and Orne earned 360. Two other ASU Law graduates tied for second-highest. According to data from the Committee on Examinations in Arizona, ASU Law is the only law school in the state to have taken the top three spots on the bar exam since 1991.

Christopher Waznik (JD ’15) tied for the second-highest score on the July 2015 Arizona Uniform Bar Exam. He tied with another ASU Law graduate, with the top scorer also hailing from ASU Law. According to data from the Committee on Examinations in Arizona, ASU Law is the only law school in the state to have taken the top three spots on the bar exam since 1991.

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


Yellowstone supervolcano talk kicks off 2016 New Discoveries Lecture Series

ASU geologist to discuss "When Will the Yellowstone Supervolcano Erupt Again?"

January 13, 2016

A talk on the Yellowstone supervolcano by Christy Till, a geologist and assistant professor with Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), will kick off the Spring 2016 New Discoveries Lecture Series. Till’s talk, “When Will the Yellowstone Supervolcano Erupt Again?” is at 7:30 p.m., Jan 21 in the ISTB4 building on the Tempe campus.

Till will explore the history of the Yellowstone supervolcano, the new tools scientists use to uncover events leading to past eruptions, how much magma resides below the volcano today and its likely future behavior. ASU geologist and assistant professor Christy Till. Photo credit: Abigail Weibel Download Full Image

“Thousands of years ago, the continental U.S. was blanketed by a layer of ash from the eruption of a supervolcano that now lies dormant beneath Yellowstone National Park. A logical question is, when will it erupt again?” Till said

The SESE New Discoveries Lecture Series brings exciting scientific work to the general public in a series of informative evening lectures, which are free and open to the public and each given by a member of the SESE faculty once a month throughout the spring.

Additional lectures in this spring series will be presented on Feb. 18, by Laurence Garvie, research professor and curator for the Center for Meteorite Studies; on March 17, by Hilairy Hartnett, associate professor and biochemist; and on April 28 by Ariel Anbar, President’s Professor and astrobiologist.

Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Marston Exploration Theater, located on the first floor of ASU's Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB4) on the Tempe campus. RSVP to reserve a seat. Parking is available at the Rural Road parking structure just east of ISTB 4.

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration


ASU Alumni Association honors 130 years of excellence at Founders’ Day event

January 11, 2016

The Arizona State University Alumni Association will honor alumni, faculty and university supporters who have fostered 130 years of growth, innovation and excellence at ASU, and the evolution of the institution into the New American University, at its annual Founders’ Day Awards Dinner, slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix.

The award ceremony has been a signature event for the university for decades, and honors 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. As part of the celebration, ASU President Michael M. Crow will provide an update on the university.
 The ASU Alumni Association is celebrating 130 years of growth, innovation and excellence at ASU at its annual Founders' Day Awards Dinner, Feb. 3. Download Full Image

The following individuals will be honored by the Alumni Association at the Founders’ Day event.

Faculty Achievement Awards

Faculty Achievement Research Award
Charles Arntzen, Regents’ Professor, Biodesign Institute Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology; Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Chair, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Charles Arntzen is being honored at Founders’ Day for his revolutionary work in the use of plant-made pharmaceuticals, particularly vaccines. His leadership role in developing ZMapp, a therapeutic vaccine produced in tobacco to fight Ebola, led to him being chosen last year as the No. 1 honoree among Fast Company’s annual list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. His primary research interests are in plant molecular biology and protein engineering, as well as the utilization of plant biotechnology for enhancement of food quality and value, and for overcoming health and agricultural constraints in the developing world. Arntzen has been recognized as a pioneer in the development of plant-based vaccines for human disease prevention (with special emphasis on the needs of poor countries) and for disease prevention in animal agriculture.

After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plant physiology from the University of Minnesota, Arntzen received his doctoral degree in cell physiology from Purdue University. In addition to holding academic/research positions at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University, he also worked for DuPont in biotechnology research and was appointed dean and deputy chancellor for agriculture at Texas A&M University. From 1995 to 2000, Arntzen served as president and CEO of the Boyce Thompson Institute, a nonprofit corporation affiliated with Cornell University. He arrived at Arizona State University in 2000, and in 2004 was named a Regents’ Professor.

Arntzen was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1983 and to the National Academy of Sciences in India the following year. He is a fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science and also of the American Society of Plant Biologists. In 2001, he was appointed as a member of President George W. Bush's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and in 2004, he was appointed by the president to serve on the National Nanotechnology Oversight Board.

Faculty Achievement Service Award
Josephine Peyton Marsh, associate professor, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College; professor-in-residence, Arizona State University Preparatory Academy – Phoenix

Josephine Peyton Marsh is being honored at Founders’ Day for her service work to ASU, her contributions to the field of literacy education, and her work at ASU Preparatory Academy. For the past five years, Marsh has served as the professor-in-residence at ASU Preparatory Academy (ASU Prep), a K-12 public charter school district sponsored by ASU. In this role, she works with ASU Prep administrators, teachers, and students to create supportive literacy and learning environments that also are rigorous academically for K-12 students from a wide range of backgrounds. She conducts ‘just-in-time” literacy professional development with teachers, and uses ethnographic and action research methods to build knowledge about instructional methods and about the school transformation process.  

Her work at ASU Prep informs her graduate literacy education teaching, and supervision of graduate students. As part of her work in the teachers college, she has supervised a number of graduate research assistants who work with her to investigate the processes, initiatives, and social interactions that transform learning at ASU Prep. She also has chaired the dissertation committees of numerous students.

Marsh has been published in professional journals and in books, and served on editorial boards for a variety of professional journals, including the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Reading Research Quarterly, and the Journal of Literacy Research. She has presented at conferences held by the Literacy Research Association and the International Literacy Association, among others. At ASU, she has served as a college administrator and has taken on many service activities, including chairing the Learning, Literacies, and Technology Ph.D. Program Committee, a secondary education task force, and faculty search committees. She served as the faculty advisor for the college’s language and literacy conference, and participated in the college personnel committee and the college grievance committee.

In recognition for her efforts, Marsh received the Outstanding Integration of Scholarship with Teaching Award from the teachers college in 2014. She has been honored with the Golden Bell Award from the Arizona School Boards Association and the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award from the teachers college.

She received a bachelor’s degree in education-psychology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, then earned master’s and doctoral degrees in reading education from the University of West Florida and the University of Georgia, respectively. She joined the faculty of ASU in 1998 in the curriculum and instruction division of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Faculty Achievement Teaching Award
Wendy Hultsman, director of undergraduate programs and associate professor, School of Community Resources and Development, College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Wendy Hultsman is being honored at Founders’ Day for her innovative contributions as a teacher in the School of Community Resources and Development. Hultsman has been on the Arizona State University faculty for more than 20 years. She has been an instructor for classes on special event management, recreation planning and facilities management, commercial recreation, team building strategies for recreation programming, and many others. She has been instrumental in the development of a minor/concentration and an undergraduate certificate in special events management.

Her students frequently praise Hultsman’s hands-on approach to learning, and she describes herself as someone who avidly goes beyond being a “4 x 2” teacher (four walls of the classroom and two covers of a book). Her special event management students have played key roles in the execution of the city of Glendale's Sinister Sinema (haunted house) event, and have been producers of the ASU Holiday village that is part of the city of Phoenix APS Fiesta of Light Parade's Friday night festivities.

She has served as editor and associate editor of Schole Journal, the official refereed publication of the National Recreation and Park Association. She also has been president of the Arizona Festivals and Events Association. She is the co-author of the textbook “Planning Parks for People,” and author of the books “Woodall’s Guide to Recreation Activities” and “Outside the Classroom Window.”

In 2012, she received the Outstanding Partnership Award from the Arizona Festivals and Events Association, and in 2011, she was honored with an Outstanding Teaching Award from the School of Community Resources and Development. That same year, she received a Silver Medal Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals and Events Association for the development of ASU’s certificate in special events management. She also received the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service from Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. 

Hultsman received her bachelor’s degree in physical education from the State University of New York at Cortland, then earned a master’s degree in parks and recreation administration from Indiana University, and a doctoral degree in recreation and parks from Pennsylvania State University.

Alumni Achievement Awards

Young Alumni Achievement Award
Courtney Klein ’05 B.I.S., ’10 M.Np.S., co-founder and CEO, SEED SPOT

Courtney Klein is being honored at Founders’ Day for her work facilitating the ventures of individuals, located in the Valley of the Sun as well as around the globe, who desire to resolve social challenges with innovative ideas and approaches.

Klein received her bachelor’s degree at ASU in 2005, and shortly thereafter launched New Global Citizens, a nonprofit that empowers young people to create social change. The organization has partnered with organizations in 33 countries and served more than 10,000 young people. She also served as the director of strategic planning and development at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and completed a course with the United Nations UPEACE Centre for Executive Education in designing for social innovation and leadership. She created SEED SPOT in 2012 to educate, accelerate, and invest in entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to social problems. The nonprofit focuses on creating a community around social entrepreneurs and equipping them with the funding, mentorship and training to successfully launch and sustain their organizations. To date, it has accelerated the dreams of more than 160 social entrepreneurs, and has been named one of the top three social impact incubators in the United States by UBI Global and Cisco.

Klein has been profiled by Forbes, the Huffington Post and other national news outlets for her work supporting the dreams of entrepreneurs. She recently was named a finalist in the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2015 Businessperson of the Year contest. She has spoken to corporate, academic, and entrepreneurial audiences around the world about her journey as an entrepreneur, including the SXSW Conference in 2015. In 2013, the Phoenix Business Journal named Ms. Klein as one of its “25 Most Dynamic Women in Business” and Splashlife Magazine recognized her in 2011 as one of the nation’s top 30 civic leaders under 30. BizAZ Magazine named her to its list of top 35 local entrepreneurs under the age of 35 in 2008. She has served on the boards of directors for many nonprofit organizations.

Alumni Achievement Award
Derrick Hall '91 B.S., president and CEO, Arizona Diamondbacks

Derrick Hall is being honored at Founders' Day for his leadership role in building the Valley's Major League Baseball team into a strong and vibrant franchise, as well as his contributions to the Phoenix community and Arizona State University.

Hall received a bachelor's degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1991. He spent parts of 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, joining the organization's minor-league affiliate in Vero Beach, Fla., as an intern in 1992 and departing as the club's senior vice president for communications in 2004.

The unique corporate culture of the Diamondbacks, which was created by Hall after arriving in 2004, led Yahoo! to deem the club as "the best workplace in sports.” The company has accumulated a number of honors under his leadership, including Make-A-Wish Foundation's Chris Greicius Award (2014), the Phoenix Indian Center's Leon Grant Spirit of the Community Award (2014), Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce IMPACT Award — Community Champion (2013), and the City of Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department Excellence Award.

Hall’s leadership has guided the Diamondbacks to two National League West Championships in 2007 and 2011, and one National League Championship Series Championship in 2007. He oversaw development of the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, a 140-acre training facility shared with the Colorado Rockies. He also hired baseball veteran Tony La Russa in 2014 as the team’s first-ever Chief Baseball Officer.

In 2002, he was inducted into the Cronkite School Alumni Hall of Fame, and the following year, he was honored with the Young Alumni Achievement Award at the ASU Alumni Association's Founders' Day Awards. He serves on the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees and is a member of the W. P. Carey School of Business Dean's Council of 100.

Hall currently is associated with many boards in the Valley, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. He has chaired capital campaigns for the YMCA and the Phoenix Zoo, and is a lifetime member of The Thunderbirds.

His community contributions have led to his receiving the APS Peacemaker Award at Valle del Sol's Profiles of Success, the Bill Shover Leadership Award from United Blood Services and the Phoenix Award by the Phoenix Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 2013. He was the inaugural recipient of the Active 20-30 Club of Phoenix’s Goldwater Community Service Award in 2012.

The Philanthropists of the Year Award, presented by the ASU Foundation For A New American University

Cindy and Mike Watts, co-owners/co-founders, Sunstate Equipment

Cindy and Mike Watts are being honored at Founders' Day for their generous civic involvement and investment, a passion that began with their west Phoenix neighborhood of Maryvale and now extends to the Arizona State University community.

The Watts are co-founders and co-owners of Sunstate Equipment, a highly successful equipment rental company that began in 1977 in Arizona and has expanded to eight other states. They both grew up in Maryvale, where they met during a high school graduation ceremony. At the time, Maryvale was a newly developed suburb. However, like many ‘inner-ring’ suburbs, Maryvale began experiencing urban decline in the 1980s and '90s. To reverse this, the Watts made leadership gifts to the Maryvale YMCA and endowed the Center for Violence and Community Safety, an initiative of the university’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions, commissioning a study of the Maryvale Community. More recently they have gifted a generous amount to the Jewish Family & Children’s Services’ new Catalina Health Center, in their ongoing commitment to the community they grew up in.

At ASU, the couple has been engaged with the university since 1988 and are lifetime members of the ASU President's Club.  In October 2015, they made a transformative investment to name the Watts Center for Academic Excellence and Championship Life, an initiative within Sun Devil Athletics dedicated to the success of the university’s student-athletes. In addition to these ASU commitments, Cindy also has served as co-chair of the Women & Philanthropy program at the ASU Foundation for A New American University and currently serves as vice-chair of the Trustees of ASU, an advisory body for the university and ASU President Michael M. Crow.

The Watts are dedicated to using their resources, both financial and personal, to elevate the quality of life for all in our community and state.

Tickets to the Founders’ Day event are $150 for Alumni Association members and $200 for nonmembers. Table and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. For additional information about Founders’ Day, or to RSVP, visit

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Digital Culture grads: Life after ASU

ASU's first digital culture grads feel comfortable in ever-changing world.
What's an ASU digital culture degree? A license to succeed.
January 7, 2016

First batch of program's undergrads launch into the world having learned how to adapt

Four years ago, ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering launched the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Culture program, one of the first proficiency-based digital media degrees in the United States.

The digital culture undergraduate degree, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, is housed in a facility that gives students access to cutting-edge tools and technology. The innovative program is a collaboration among not only the schools in the Herberger Institute — Art; Arts, Media and Engineering; Design; Film, Dance and Theatre; and Music — but also numerous partnering academic units across ASU, from electrical engineering, journalism and mass communications to computer science, education and human evolution and social change.

So how are the first, newly minted digital culture alums doing?

If Elizabeth Vegh is any indication, they’re doing very well.

Girl with green streak in her hair

Vegh (pictured left) graduated from ASU last year as a digital culture major specializing in art and almost immediately landed a job as a graphic designer for CBS 5 News in Phoenix.

“I never took any graphic design courses (in college),” Vegh said, “but I had developed my skills with timing and storytelling (for animation), which my supervisor later told me is what put me ahead of the other applicants. I also had a lot of chances to go over how to create the best pitch and portfolio possible. I don't think I would have been as successful with my current line of work without that practice.”

Sha Xin Wei, director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, said Vegh’s success is one example of the digital culture program’s many achievements.

“We are creating experience entrepreneurs,” Sha said. “Students are learning to use digital technology to create, customize and enrich the way we experience the world. Many argue that we are living in an ‘experience economy’ and that companies that can create compelling experiences will thrive. We are preparing graduates to drive this new economy.”

The big question students hear, according to Sha and the students themselves, is, “What is digital culture?” Sha said part of the answer comes from the students themselves, and from the projects they’re working on with faculty. Through the program, students are able to define the paths they take, both at ASU and beyond.

“Whenever I get asked about digital culture, the first description that comes to mind is ‘art fused with technology,’ " said Vegh, who started out in film and then switched to digital culture because of her interest in animation. “To me, it's all about how to use both mediums to create some sort of experience for the public, whether if it's for research or entertainment purposes.”

While in college, Vegh, who graduated in May 2014, worked with ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination as its videographer, editor and events specialist. Working closely with Ed Finn, the center’s director and an arts, media and engineering faculty member, she went on to create podcasts, posters and animations that have been featured in the online magazine Slate, Future Tense and Valley TV affiliates.

“Digital culture gave me a lot of experience pitching ideas for an audience and networking with really important figures in both the science and entertainment industry,” Vegh said. “I also had access to a lot of technology and programs that I wouldn't have had access to without being in the digital culture program.”

Man with a beard.
Matthew Briggs began his career at ASU studying business but segued to a digital culture degree program at the urging of his adviser. Courtesy photos.


Matthew Briggs’ current line of work grew directly out of his experience as a digital culture major, but he started out even farther outside the field than Vegh did. He was in the business school, thinking about going into accounting, when he realized that wasn’t what he wanted to do. Based on his interests, including music and digital technology, his adviser suggested he check out “this new program that just came online” — digital culture.

Briggs said it was a perfect fit.

“I didn’t have a goal to be a specific job type or position. I was just interested in gaining some skills and knowledge and exposure,” he said. “That exploration aspect of digital culture was really key for me.”

After graduating in May 2015, he ended up with a double major in digital culture, with a focus on design, and graphic information technology, as well as a double minor in film and media production and music. Today he works as a specialist in ASU’s digital culture fabrication lab, a job the multimedia artist discovered as a student. 

Briggs said that the faculty in the digital culture program prepare students for life after college “in the most important way” — by teaching them how to become resourceful.

“They give you principles and theories and skills,” Briggs said. “They teach you the tools, too, but it really helps you gain that mentality of how to find and learn and become fluent in these technologies, tools and techniques. Because the industry will change, but your ability to change with it doesn’t. You’re a lot more adaptable, I think. You learn how to learn.”

Data shows that students who take at least one creative class are more likely to succeed, and that creative thinking is highly sought after by employers. Moheeb Zara, who took numerous digital culture classes while he was a student at ASU, was recently awarded a Top Innovator award at the 2015 Intel Innovation Summit for his work with Octoblu, an “Internet of Everything” company that runs on Intel’s platforms and whose ambitious mission is “to connect anything with everything.” A co-founder of the Southwest Maker Festival, Zara describes himself as a hardware hacker, an activist, a maker, an artist, a robotics mentor, a technological dilettante and a promoter of science education, among other things.

Learning how to learn is what the Steven J. Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute, calls “a core 21st-century competency.”

“For most college graduates these days, the future of work is unpredictable, non-linear and constantly evolving,” Tepper said. “In fact, a recent study found that almost half of the current occupations probably won’t exist in the next few decades. A program such as digital culture allows our faculty, students and graduates to help invent the jobs and the businesses of the future, and to come up with new platforms and technology for the exchange of culture and the enrichment of the human experience.”

Plus, alums like Vegh and Briggs say it’s a lot more interesting and rewarding than what they were doing before they entered the world of digital culture.

To learn more about the program, visit the Digital Culture website ( or come in person to the Digital Culture Showcase, which takes place the first Friday of May and December every year and is free and open to the public.

Deborah Sussman Susser

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Futurist Brian David Johnson leaves Intel, joins ASU

January 4, 2016

Renowned futurist, technologist and author Brian David Johnson, who left his position at the Intel Corporation in January, will be joining Arizona State University as Futurist in Residence for spring 2016 at the Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI) and as a Professor of Practice in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Johnson has worked at Intel and collaborated with a variety of private-sector partners since 2002, and was named the corporation’s first futurist in 2009.

“I’m so excited about the future and what we’ll be able to accomplish,” Johnson said. “ASU is one of the world’s most innovative and forward-looking institutions. It’s the perfect place to collaborate with a broad, diverse set of people and to explore the future in exciting, intellectually rigorous and surprising ways.” Brian David Johnson talking with students about futurism and robotics at Mater Christi School in Burlington, Vermont. Brian David Johnson talks with students about futurism and robotics at Mater Christi School in Burlington, Vermont. Photo by Sarah Lavoie/Courtesy of Mater Christi School. Download Full Image

Johnson will use his appointment at ASU to lead two exciting projects of great public interest designed to ignite new conversations about the future we’re building together:

The Future of the American Dream Project takes the methods and perspectives Johnson has honed as a technological futurist and applies them to an issue that everyone has a strong opinion about. He asks: What’s the future of the American Dream? How are our definitions of the American Dream changing? How do diverse groups of people imagine the American Dream, and how can we reimagine it as a more inclusive concept? How will changes in economics, education and technology lead to new American Dreams? Johnson will tap into ASU’s expansive global network, deep community connections, talented student population and interdisciplinary research enterprise to explore these and other questions through interviews, field trips, town halls, videos, podcasts and more.

21st Century Robot aspires to get a programmable, humanoid, 3-D-printed, custom-built robot into the hands of every kid. Based on Johnson’s 2014 book "21st Century Robot," the project is built on open-source hardware and software and features an easy-to-use app system, so kids and less experienced users can create robots who sing, tell jokes and run away from loud noises — in short, robots with personalities, and robots who reflect the personalities of their creators.

“We’re tremendously excited to have Brian in residence at CSI this spring. In joining our community, he will help create meaningful connections with collaborators across the technology sector and add new dimensions to the center’s mission of creating ambitious, compelling visions of the future,” said Ed Finn, director of CSI. “We are also thrilled to provide a platform for Brian to take his work as a futurist in new directions: exploring the possibilities of crowdsourced technological and artistic imagination with the 21st Century Robot Project, and delving into economic, political and cultural futures with The Future of the American Dream.”

Johnson will design and lead a graduate studio course for the School for the Future of Innovation in Society on the Future of the American Dream, together with Michael Bennett, an associate research professor at the school and CSI, and Lauren Withycombe Keeler, a postdoctoral scholar at ASU’s Center for Nanotechnology and Society. He will also participate in a variety of ASU research initiatives, public events and workshops, and help develop actionable visions for the future of the school, CSI and other innovative ASU programs.

“Brian’s presence on campus, and particularly his role in delivering a practice-oriented graduate course, will be a great opportunity for students to both learn various techniques used in the private sector to grapple with futurecasting and to hone their skills on real-world problems. Having been a pupil of Brian’s in his workshop on science fiction prototyping at the first Emerge event in 2012, I can’t imagine a more gifted leader for the students in this class,” said Dave Guston, founding director of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Johnson has been an active supporter of ASU’s science and society endeavors since 2012, where he was one of the featured speakers at the launch of the Center for Science and the Imagination. He is the leader of The Tomorrow Project, which has collaborated with the center and the Society for Science and the Public to publish five books of science fiction stories, essays, interviews and artwork with contributions from K-12 and college students worldwide along with top authors, scientists, technologists and journalists. He was also a contributor to the center’s Sprint Beyond the Book project, a series of experiments in rapid digital publishing that unfolded at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Stanford University and ASU in 2013 and 2014. In 2012, Johnson led a workshop at ASU’s Emerge festival on prototyping the future with science fiction, and presented an exhibit of design fiction costumes, sets and story fragments exploring a range of possible futures, titled “Powered by Fiction: Artists, Makers, Tinkerers, and the Backstories That Inspire Them to Create.” Last fall, he gave a public lecture at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society on robotics, emotion, and relationships between humans and technology.

Johnson is a Futurist and Fellow at Frost and Sullivan, a visionary innovation company that’s focused on growth. He also works with governments, militaries, trade organizations and start-ups to help them envision their future. He has more than 30 patents and is the author of a number of books of fiction and nonfiction, including "Science Fiction Prototyping"; "Screen Future: The Future of Entertainment, Computing and the Devices We Love"; "Humanity and the Machine: What Comes After Greed?"; and "Vintage Tomorrows: A Historian and a Futurist Journey Through Steampunk Into the Future of Technology." His writing has appeared in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and Slate to IEEE Computer and Successful Farming, and he appears regularly on Bloomberg TV, PBS, Fox News and the Discovery Channel. He has directed two feature films and is an illustrator and commissioned painter.

Joey Eschrich

program manager, Center for Science and the Imagination


Lifting the veil: ASU historian receives national recognition

December 31, 2015

Discovering the rich tapestry of history can open our eyes to the connections between past and present, and how people and circumstances have shaped and continue to influence todays’ complex world.

Few people understand the wider world of countries, religions, time periods and peoples of the past as well as preeminent historian Asuncion Lavrin, professor emeritus at Arizona State University. She has recently been honored by the highly prestigious American Historical Association Distinguished Scholarship Award for lifetime contributions. Asuncion Lavrin, ASU professor emeritus A Cuban national who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s on a scholarship to Radcliffe College, Asuncion Lavrin has gone on to lift the veil on lives formerly disregarded, starting with women and the church in colonial Latin America. She receives the highly prestigious American Historical Association Distinguished Scholarship Award for lifetime contributions in January.

“Very few historians receive this award. It honors a lifetime of remarkable contributions,” said Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost. “Professor Lavrin’s work and teaching have been innovative and of the highest caliber. We are fortunate that she called ASU home and touched the lives of so many of our students.”

“It is the crowning event in my life as a historian,” Lavrin said. “It means that not just my own personal work but the field it represents has been recognized at a national level, and that makes me very happy.”

A Cuban national who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s on a scholarship to Radcliffe College, Lavrin has gone on to lift the veil on lives formerly disregarded, starting with women and the church in colonial Latin America.

Why history? Lavrin said that she was “continually fascinated by the motivations behind human behavior and also by the way people relate to each other and impinge upon each other’s lives. I also liked to study the ideas behind movements and nourishing human behavior.”  

Lavrin’s career path was unconventional. She received a doctorate from Harvard in 1963, as one of the first women there to receive doctorates. Harvard lacked experts in her field, so she worked with a mentor at the University of California, Berkeley to pursue her interests.

Her postgraduate work was undertaken without a permanent university position. She taught part time, traveled to archives to develop her research and read Confucius, the Quran and the basic books of Buddhism and Hinduism. She studied the cultures and religions of Europe, pre-Columbian America and Asia. Ultimately, she was tenured at Howard University in Washington, D.C., moving to ASU in 1995.

Lavrin was attracted to ASU because the department of history (now part of the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies) was “expanding its intellectual boundaries and building in women’s and gender history.” She found she could devote her entire time to teaching Latin American history. She recalls that “given its size and stature, I could get ASU’s support to apply for National Endowment of the Humanities Institutes.” Her two awards, one in conjunction with the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, brought 55 high school and college teachers to campus. She went on to receive a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship to begin developing the field of masculinity in the universe of men in religion.

“My curiosity about women’s history has ranged from the church and women in colonial 18th-century Mexico to women, social change and feminism in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay in the 20th century. But I am also interested in men’s history and life of mendicant friars — the counter side of my published work that offers a complementary and more complete view of the past in human terms,” Lavrin said.

Her first published article on the importance of nunneries in the economy won the James Alexander Robertson Memorial Prize from the Conference of Latin American History. She has now authored more than 100 articles and book chapters, and nine books, including “Brides of Christ: Conventual Life in Colonial Mexico.” This award-winning book lifted the veil, literally, on the social, religious and organizational lives of women in nunneries in three centuries of Mexican colonial history. Published in English in 2008 by Stanford University Press, this work is being released in Spanish for the first time in 2016, making it more accessible to her large readership in Mexico, Central and South America.

In addition to her lifetime award from the American Historical Association, Lavrin is also being recognized by the Rocky Mountain Council on Latin American Studies. The council has created the Bandelier-Lavrin Prize for Best Work on Colonial Latin American History, which will be awarded for the first time in 2016. This prize takes the name of Lavrin, to honor her as a woman who successfully opened up the field of women’s history, and pairs it with that of Fanny Bandelier, an accomplished historian whose work went unrecognized because of the closed nature of academia and hostility to women in the past.

Opening new paths to discovery and forging a successful career are only two of Lavrin’s legacies. Perhaps even more importantly, she has added weight to the understanding that “all voices need to be represented, not just in the past, but in the totality of the world in the present.” 

Lavrin receives her award on Jan. 7 at the 130th annual meeting of the American Historical Association. To learn more about ASU faculty excellence and other highly prestigious awards, visit

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


ASU's Naval ROTC program produces highly-qualified officers for the military

December 8, 2015

For five years, the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Arizona State University has been turning midshipmen into successful leaders, earning a reputation for producing the highest qualified commissioned officers in the armed forces.  

The program’s success continues to flourish as a distinguished alumna and a currently serving student instructor achieved prestigious milestones in their respective fields in the Navy and Marine Corps. Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden awards Ensign Rachelle Edwards her surface warfare officer pin. Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden awards Ensign Rachelle Edwards (left) her surface warfare officer pin. Download Full Image

“I am so proud of both of them — and all the folks in my program — because they stood up and volunteered to serve their country and are excelling,” said Capt. Philip Roos, commanding officer of ASU’s Naval ROTC program. “They’re pursuing opportunity and advancing their careers tremendously.”

Recent graduate Ensign Rachelle Edwards was a member of the first class of four-year commissionees produced by the university’s Naval ROTC program in 2014. After graduation, Edwards was assigned to the USS Iwo Jima to pursue her surface warfare officer qualification.

This past October, she successfully completed the qualification and earned her SWO pin, a gold device worn on her uniform similar to a pilot’s “wings.” This specialized milestone allows her to oversee shipboard engineering processes, routine opperations and the overall navigation and safety of the ship on behalf of the captain. It can take up to 18 months to complete the trainings required for qualification, but Edwards completed them in just 11 months.

The pinning ceremony made Edwards the first warfare-qualified officer ASU’s four-year Naval ROTC program has produced, a significant milestone in her career. 

“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Edwards. “ASU (Naval) ROTC gave me the opportunity to come in as a scared freshman and leave a confident adult … who is competent and capable enough to run a US war ship.”

The success of ASU’s Naval ROTC midshipmen relies heavily on the program’s experienced faculty and staff. The team collectively represents more than 160 years of military service and has the capability to develop confident leaders.

With 11 years of service and multiple promotions throughout his career, Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Garcia has been a tremendous asset to the university’s Naval ROTC program as the assistant marine officer instructor and student advisor, Roos said.

Garcia was recently selected for the Marine Corps’ enlisted to warrant officer program, a very competitive process to find the best qualified individuals for each military occupational specialty. The program allows for highly skilled enlisted non-commissioned officers to transition to the officer ranks and become technical experts in their field.

“That’s a huge testament to his leadership and his skill in developing subordinates … I think it is a wonderful statement for his abilities as a Marine,” Roos said. “He will make a superb officer.”

Garcia will be promoted to warrant officer on Feb. 1 in Quantico, Virginia. He said his dedication to achieving his goals was one of the key factors for his success, and he wants to pass along his determination and resiliency to his midshipmen and subordinates as he continues to grow as a leader in the Marine Corps.

“I believe my accomplishments are a direct reflection of the Marines who have served under me,” said Garcia. “Without extraordinary Marines, above and below me, I would not be where I am today.”

Arizona State University’s Naval ROTC program, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, serves as one of the largest commissioning programs in the nation. Upon completion of the program, the students, commissioned as ensigns or second lieutenants, leave with a strong sense of discipline, camaraderie, confidence and leadership — crucial skills for success in a civilian or military career. 

Amanda Stoneman

Science Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering