Cronkite School celebrates opening of new building


November 21, 2008

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication celebrated the official grand opening of its new home in the hub of downtown Phoenix on Thursday.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, members of the Phoenix City Council, state legislators, ASU President Michael M. Crow and members of the Arizona Board of Regents were all on hand to dedicate the state-of-the-art building, described as the most technologically advanced journalism school in the country. Download Full Image

Only five years ago, Gordon and Crow envisioned a journalism school of the 21st century in the center of the country’s fifth largest city. In 2006, Phoenix voters approved a $223 million bond by a 2-1 margin, with $71 million allocated for the Cronkite building.

Under a unique partnership between the city of Phoenix and ASU, the six-story, 235,733 square foot building was completed in just 18 months from groundbreaking to move-in. The building, featuring two television studios, seven digital computer labs and a 150-seat auditorium, is primed for journalism students to learn and work with new forms of media in the digital age.

“What would you imagine the school of journalism for the 21st century American democracy to look like, feel like and be like?” Crow said. “You’re sitting in it right now.”

Gordon said the building was “unprecedented” in the country. “We really think this is going to be the most important catalyst for our city in the Valley,” he said.

Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan thanked Gordon and Crow Thursday for their passion and support of the project and recognized the design team – Steven Ehrlich Architects, Sundt construction company and HDR, an architectural, engineering and consulting firm.

The celebration took place in the building’s central space, The First Amendment Forum, which Callahan called the most important part of the building. It’s a place, he said, “where we practice and celebrate our freedom of speech and freedom of the press each and every day.”

Arizona state legislators, members of the Phoenix City Council and the Arizona Board of Regents attended the standing-room-only event, as did Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil, the PBS news team and recipients of the 25th annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Callahan said it was fitting to have Lehrer and MacNeil present because Eight/KAET, Arizona’s PBS affiliate will occupy the fifth and part of the sixth floors of the building. The two will be formally honored at the Cronkite Awards Luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore on Friday.

Regent Robert Bulla of the Arizona Board of Regents called it a great day for the school, ASU and the city of Phoenix, saying what the country needs most is factual, truthful and ethical reporting. “Walter Cronkite was the man America trusted. And his school will produce those cycles of trust,” he said.

Callahan read a letter from former CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, who was unable to make the trip. With the new building, Cronkite wrote, “Everyone else knows what I always knew: Arizona State University has become the finest journalism school in the land.”

BMI faculty and students attend American Medical Informatics Association conference


November 21, 2008

Faculty and graduate students from the Department of Biomedical Informatics attended the 2008 American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) conference held in Washington, D.C. AMIA is the largest organization devoted to biomedical and health informatics with a membership base of about 4,000 members. The conference, also the nation’s largest, provides a professional platform to, “promote the effective organization, analysis, management and use of information in health care in support of patient care, public health, teaching, research, administration and related policy.”

The six-day conference, held November 8-13, featured several exhibits from different academic departments as well as research exhibits of on-going projects. Two BMI faculty received recognition for their research and service to the organization. SCI Professor Robert Greenes received one of the highest honors in the field of biomedical informatics, as the recipient of the 2008 Morris F. Collen Award of Excellence for his distinguished lifetime service to the field of biomedical informatics. SCI Professor Edward Shortliffe, a founding member of AMIA and one of the five AMIA Fellows who created the American College of Medical Informatics, was voted the new President and CEO of AMIA. Download Full Image

Shortliffe wants to see AMIA “become a major force in the evolution and improvement of our health system and the quality of care in the United States.” He added, “A closer relationship with AMIA will draw more recognition for our educational and research programs. That will help us recruit new faculty and graduate students of the highest quality.”

Program Coordinator Kaitlin Yacob attended the conference to promote both the pending undergraduate program and the new graduate program. She was also present to recruit potential graduate and post-doctorate applicants and answer questions about BMI degree programs.

This year was the first time that BMI provided travel funding for the first year graduate students to attend the conference. Graduate student William Wilkinson was one of the students who attended the conference for the first time this year.

He said, “I learned a lot about medical error research and about BMI health policy. I also saw or met many interesting people who work in and enjoy BMI research.” Xuan Feng also attended the conference. He said, “I learned some new CPOE/EMR implementation cases, translational research trends, and qualitative evaluation of CIS.” He added, “I was so proud to tell any other attendees that I'm from ASU BMI program. You cannot imagine how well our program is recognized and expected.”