ASU freshman class breaks records for enrollment, diversity and honors students

August 20, 2013

Class includes nearly 10,700 academically distinguished, diverse Sun Devils from 50 states and 63 countries 

Arizona State University is welcoming an academically strong and remarkably diverse freshman class that includes many students who have distinguished themselves both inside and outside the classroom.
The new class of Sun Devils rises from the largest pool of freshman applicants in the university’s history, and among its ranks are a 16-year-old with four associate’s degrees, a retired Marine Corps sergeant, a first-generation college student from the top of her high school class, and twin sisters who perform with the Thailand Youth Orchestra.
“The more than 46,000 applications we received from aspiring freshman is a testament to ASU’s reputation as a premier university, and the quality of the students who are joining our community of higher learning signals great things for ASU’s future,” said Provost Robert Page.
The number of students applying for admission as first-time freshmen represented a 25 percent increase over the previous academic year. The Fall 2014 freshman class is an academically strong group, with an average high school GPA 3.4 and average SAT score of 1113. More than half, 54 percent, are New American University Scholars at the Dean, Provost and President Scholarship levels, the most prestigious scholarships for first-time freshmen.
Kevin Davies, from Kingman, is a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Scholar. A sergeant in the Marine Corp infantry who served in the Middle East and Asia, he is a psychology major who has his sights set on being a doctor. Download Full Image

Davies said he is looking forward to “being around people again and challenging myself in a different way.”

Among this year's class are 6,236 Arizona residents – some 450 students more than last year’s in-state freshman class. 62 percent of these students graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school class.

Barrett, the Honors College celebrates a new record of 1,647 high-achieving first-time freshmen. The majority, 1,206, are Arizona residents. Among these honors students is 16-year-old Alexander (AJ) Gilman from Paradise Valley. A business and legal studies major in W. P. Carey School of Business, he enters ASU with 111 college credits and associate’s degrees in business, arts, science and general studies.

Gilman comes from a Sun Devil family and his mom has an accounting degree from W. P. Carey and a law degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Hoping to follow in his mother’s foot steps, with his eyes set on law school, he chose Barrett “because it offered an individualized experience and a feeling of community,” which is important to him.

ASU continues to honor its longstanding commitment to socioeconomic diversity and access to education with more than 42 percent of enrolled Arizona residents reporting they will be the first in their family to go to a four-year college, and 39 percent coming from low-income families.

Sarah Rutkowski, from Chandler, is a first-generation college student who was awarded an APS scholarship. Also a first-generation immigrant whose parents came from Poland, Rutkowski overcame a challenging childhood and graduated in the top 4 percent of her class from Corona High School.

A record number of non-resident students also have made ASU their school of choice. 4,399 students representing all 50 states and 63 countries are members of this year’s class with the largest number – 1,173 – coming from California. ASU has increasingly becoming a school of choice for students from the Golden State.

Collectively, this year’s freshmen make up ASU's most diverse class to date, in terms of their racial and ethnic backgrounds - 39.4 percent of the class.

Xochil Rina Goretsky, a Yaqui-Chicano-Jewish American from Mendocino, Calif., is a Barrett Honors student majoring in public health at the College of Health Solutions on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Her path to college has been a personal challenge after suffering a severe concussion in junior high school. She had to re-learn how to read, among other things, and said what kept her going was a desire to change the world.

After being accepted to ASU, the University of Arizona and Drexel University she chose ASU. “I felt ASU said, ‘We believe in you and are willing to invest in you because we know you are going to put in 110 percent,” said Goretsky. “I want to explore and I think this is the place to do it.”

More than 900 new international students will call ASU and the Phoenix-area home. Twin sisters Rittika and Ruchika Gambhir made a long journey from Bangkok, Thailand to attend ASU, and it was their only choice due to the “dedicated faculty,” “diversity of culture,” and “amazing atmosphere.”

Both students in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, Ruchika is a double major in oboe performance and music education and Rittika is a double major in bassoon and music education. Their goal is to become professional musicians working in a symphony orchestra in the U.S.

Many incoming freshmen have selected ASU due to the variety of academic environments it provides students across its five Arizona locations. Students choose from more than 300 academic majors and select the campus environment that is best fit for their academic, social and cultural needs. Students seeking a small campus experience with big university are part of the West campus environment with 385 new freshmen, the Polytechnic Campus with 579 new freshmen, or the ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City with 33 new freshmen.

In addition, the Downtown Phoenix campus will welcome 1,318 new freshmen and Tempe Campus will be home for 8,320 first-time freshmen.

“No other university in the United States offers students these types of educational and campus environment experiences under one university name,” said Kent Hopkins, vice provost for enrollment services. “There is no place quite like Arizona State.”

Sharon Keeler

associate director, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


News21 investigation into voting rights wins national award

August 20, 2013

A Carnegie-Knight News21 investigation into voting rights produced at Arizona State University was honored as the top online news project of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

The multimedia investigation, 'Who Can Vote?' was one of three finalists in NABJ’s Salute to Excellence National Media Awards competition in the Digital Media Online News Project category. It won against another project on voting rights produced by The Nation magazine, and an investigation into housing in America published by the nonprofit news organization ProPublica. Download Full Image

The NABJ annual awards competition recognizes journalism that best covers the black experience or addresses issues affecting the worldwide black community.

“The significance of this award is a testament to the quality of students you have and it’s got to be a testament to the quality of education they’re receiving to be able to put up something as fine as this,” said Bob Butler, NABJ incoming president, who has been an investigative reporter for the George Washington Williams Center for Independent Journalism and worked on the award-winning Chauncey Bailey Project in Oakland.

'Who Can Vote?' was produced as part of the News21 multimedia investigative reporting initiative, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Twenty-four students from 11 universities across the country worked on the project under the direction of journalism professionals that included Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post and the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School.

The project, launched just before the 2012 political conventions, consists of more than 20 in-depth reports, including a comprehensive database of all cases of election fraud in the U.S. since 2000. Other multimedia content includes data visualizations, video profiles, photo galleries and a voting history timeline. In part, the project examines how various groups are affected by laws that require voters to produce government-issued photo IDs to vote. Among these are elderly African-Americans who often don’t have access to documents, such as birth certificates required to obtain the photo identification.

The project was distributed nationally through dozens of professional media outlets, including The Washington Post,, The Philadelphia Inquirer and National Public Radio. The project was recently recognized with a 2012 EPPY Award from Editor & Publisher magazine.  

Previous News21 investigations have focused on food safety and transportation safety in America. The 2013 project, which will be released Aug. 25, explores the return to civilian life of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The NABJ award is recognition of the stellar work the News21 fellows do each year,” said Retha Hill, director of the Cronkite School’s New Media Innovation Lab and one of the editors on the project. “These university students, drawn from the top journalism programs across the nation, represent the best of the new breed of journalists who are both multimedia savvy and super-sharp investigative reporters.

“That News21 was competitive against professional news operations again speaks to the hard work the fellows put into the Who Can Vote package.”

News21 is supported by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, as well as The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Peter Kiewit Foundation, and Women and Philanthropy, part of ASU’s Foundation for a New American University.

Reporter , ASU Now