Innovators awarded at Founders' Day event

February 25, 2010

The ASU Alumni Association honored several faculty members and alumni, involved in solving challenges with world-changing consequences, at its Founders’ Day Awards Dinner, Feb. 24.

The award ceremony honors individuals who exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School of Arizona, ASU’s predecessor institution, who received their charter from the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature on March 7, 1885.

Here are the honorees:

James W. Creasman Award of Excellence
About the award: The Creasman award is presented to an individual or group whose contributions to the Alumni Association, the university, and the community illustrate qualities exemplified by James W. Creasman, a key contributor to the success of the ASU Alumni Association over his six decades of service to Arizona State.  Download Full Image

Honoree: Craig Weatherup ’67 B.S., former CEO/chairman, PepsiCo" alt="" width="150" height="150" />Craig Weatherup is being honored for his leadership and his philanthropic service to Arizona State University.
Weatherup spent 24 years in leadership positions with PepsiCo, Inc., including four years as the company’s CEO and chairman of the board. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Federated Department Stores, Starbucks Coffee Company and The Arizona Nature Conservancy. 

Weatherup has contributed to the university in many capacities. He served for five years as the chairman of the board of directors for the ASU Foundation, and stepped into the role of interim president/CEO of the foundation to ensure continuity of leadership.

His philanthropic focus at ASU has included revitalizing the university’s athletic infrastructure. He and his wife Connie led the Sun Devil Legacy Campaign and provided a $5 million lead gift to create the Weatherup Center, a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility and training center for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Weatherup was nominated for the award by William Kavan ’92 B.A., advancement product owner, SunGard Higher Education, and chair of the ASU Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Philanthropist of the Year
About the award: Making its debut at the 2010 Founders’ Day celebration, the ASU Foundation’s Philanthropist of the Year Award gives the foundation and the university the opportunity to thank community-minded citizens who make a difference by providing support to community organizations and institutions.  Those recognized by this prestigious honor are shining examples of how individuals can have a major impact on people’s lives and on social issues.

Honorees: Gregory and Emma Melikian" alt="" width="150" height="150" />Gregory and Emma Melikian are Phoenix civic leaders whose commitment to urban development, historic preservation, culture and the arts has made a profound impact upon the quality of life in Arizona.  They represent the values of civic engagement and excellence that rest at the heart of the New American University. 

Gregory Melikian was born in New York City, the son of parents who had fled the Armenian massacres during World War I. Following military service during World War II, he practiced real estate law before assuming a position as a civil judge in the New York City municipal court system.

Emma Melikian was born in Persia (modern-day Iran) to an Armenian family that had earlier fled the Soviet Union. She eventually settled in New York City. She became founding president of Thank You America, a charitable organization of immigrant Americans offering educational support to needy children.

The Melikians moved to Phoenix during a period of unprecedented development for the metro area. Mr. Melikian, who worked for the commercial real estate firm Great Western Realty, was integral to the restoration of more than a dozen historic properties in the state during the 1960s, including the landmark Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix.

The couple has four children—Robert, Richard, James, and Ramona—all of whom attended Arizona State University.  Beginning in the 1970s, the Melikian family began a pattern of support for ASU that includes endowment of the Melikian Center and its Critical Languages Institute, one of the nation’s leading international research and training centers for regional study of Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe.

Alumni Achievement Award
About the award: The Alumni Achievement Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who has excelled in his or her profession and has contributed to Arizona State University and/or the ASU Alumni Association and the community.

Honoree: His Excellency Sultan Saeed Nasser Al Mansoori ’88 B.S.E." alt="" width="150" height="150" />Currently Minister of Economy for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), H.E. Al Mansoori is being honored for his work advancing Arizona State University’s mission and goals at the highest levels.

H.E. Al Mansoori was appointed to the UAE’s federal government in 2004, and served as the Minister of Development for Government Sector and as Minister of Communications before assuming his present position in 2008. Prior to his work for the federal government, H.E. Al Mansoori was employed for many years in the fields of commerce and banking in the Emirate of Dubai. He is chairman and founder of the Al Mansoori Group of Companies.

Since graduating from ASU in 1988 with a degree in industrial engineering and management systems, H.E. Al Mansoori has pursued a number of initiatives with ASU, including the ASU SkySong Innovation Alliance, the Global Decision Network and the Education Technology Platform project.

H.E. Al Mansoori was nominated for the award by James O’Brien, vice president and chief of staff for ASU’s Office of the President.

Young Alumni Achievement Award
About the award: 
Awarded annually since 1989, the Young Alumni Achievement Award is presented to an outstanding alumnus or alumna who attended Arizona State University within the last 15 years.

Honoree: Cody Friesen ’00 B.S.E., associate professor, School of Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical and Materials Engineering, and co-founder, Fluidic Energy" alt="" width="150" height="150" />Cody Friesen – alumnus, faculty member and entrepreneur – is rapidly making his mark in the world of energy research. Friesen recently was selected to receive a $5.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore advances in battery technology. His research centers on the development of ultra-high-energy metal-air batteries that use advanced ionic fluids. He is the co-founder of a company, Fluidic Energy, dedicated to developing commercial applications based on this research.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering in 2000, Friesen earned a Ph.D. in materials science from MIT in 2004. He returned to ASU to accept a faculty position with the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical and Materials Engineering. Since that time, he has distinguished himself by winning a National Science Foundation Career Award and an ASU Faculty Achievement Young Investigator Award. He has been recognized by Technology Review Magazine as one of the top innovators in the United States under age 35.

Friesen was nominated for the award by Paul Johnson, executive dean and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Faculty Achievement Awards
About the awards: Faculty excellence is the heart of an outstanding university. Faculty achievement at ASU is recognized at the Founders’ Day event with individual awards for contributions in teaching, research and service.

Faculty Achievement Research Award
Honoree: Nancy Grimm ’80 M.S., ’85 Ph.D., professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences" alt="" width="150" height="150" />Nancy Grimm is being honored for her contributions to the emerging field of urban ecology, which brings together earth, life and social sciences to study human-dominated ecosystems. With her research collaborators, Grimm has sought to establish a conceptual basis for including human choice and action in theories of urban ecosystem dynamics.

Grimm was instrumental in the development of the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research (CAP-LTER) program at ASU, which has been the nexus for more than 290 research projects over the past decade.
Grimm was chosen as a fellow in the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008.

Grimm was nominated for the award by Dr. Robert Page, founding dean of the School of Life Sciences, a unit of the university’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Faculty Achievement Service Award
Honoree: Scott Ridley, associate dean and associate professor, Office of Innovation and Partnerships, College of Teacher Education & Leadership" alt="" width="150" height="150" />Scott Ridley is being honored for his efforts to prepare new teachers and principals and support existing educators, particularly in high-poverty urban and rural school districts. He is the principal investigator and project manager for a five-year, $33.8 million Teacher Quality Partnership grant.

His work on developing Professional Development Schools have enabled partner school districts to “grow their own” qualified teachers and principals. He also is currently participating as principal investigator in a grant, URBAN-EXCEL (Urban and Rural Bridge for Action Network – Excellence and Collaboration in Educational Leadership), which facilitates the ongoing professional development of district-level educators by providing access to coursework designed to improve their skills as evaluators and coaches.

Ridley was nominated for the award by Mari Koerner, dean of the College of Teacher Education & Leadership.

Faculty Achievement Teaching Award
Honoree: Miles Orchinik, associate professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences" alt="" width="150" height="150" />Miles Orchinik is being honored for his work teaching undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Life Sciences. An authority in the field of stress research, his research has helped promote an integrated understanding of how stress alters brain function.

As a teacher, Orchinik has taught undergraduate courses such as Human Anatomy and Physiology and Basic Physiology, facilitating student learning in classes that typically have more than 100 students per section. He employs an inquiry-based approach and encourages discussion of the “big picture” of the coursework, rather than the recitation of dry facts. He has done outreach to K-12 students and teachers through participation in the “Ask-A-Biologist” podcast series and Web site run by the School of Life Sciences, and by acting as a science fair judge for elementary and middle school students.

Orchinik was nominated for the award by Robert Page, founding dean of the School of Life Sciences, a unit of the university’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Staff Achievement Award
About the award: The Staff Achievement Award is presented to an Arizona State University staff member whose outstanding contributions to ASU have significantly enhanced the well-being and reputation of Arizona State University within the community at large.

Honoree: Gerald Snyder ’76 M.B.A., Senior Advisor" alt="" width="150" height="150" />Gerald Snyder is being honored for his work as the senior associate vice president for finance and the university’s deputy treasurer during a period of unprecedented growth for the university.

He began his employment with ASU in 1972 as a senior accountant. By 1982, he had become ASU’s Comptroller. During his nearly 40-year career at ASU, he coordinated an estimated 55 separate financings or refinancings, for a total of $2.7 billion – the largest number of financings by any person in the state.

Units under his supervision have received an ASU Presidential Citation and the Governor’s Recognition Award for superior performance. Snyder himself received the Student Affairs Tribute to University Staff, and the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Award for exemplary service and dedication to the students of ASU.

Snyder retired from university employment in December and currently is serving ASU as a senior advisor.

Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


Gym Devils host Oregon State, Air Force in co-ed meet

February 25, 2010

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The No. 22 Arizona State women's gymnastics team hosts No. 7 Oregon State this Friday at 7:30 at Wells Fargo Arena. Competing alongside the Sun Devils and the Beavers will be the ASU men's club gymnastics team and their opponent Air Force. This is the third time in recent years the two Sun Devil gymnastics teams have competed alongside each other. The Gym Devils are currently 2-7 while the Beavers just lost their first meet to UCLA last weekend. Download Full Image

Co-ed Classic
The ASU women's team has had a spectacular showing in the past at the co-ed meets, currently boasting a 2-0 record when the men compete with the ladies. Last season, the Sun Devils earned their then season-high against the Washington Huskies while competing alongside the men's meet. In 2007, the Sun Devils topped the Huskies to earn their then best score of the season with a 196.525.

Gym Devils in the rankings
The Sun Devils are currently sitting at 22nd after the first rankings based on Regional Qualifying scores. They are ranked in every event, including beam for the first time all season. The Gym Devils are 12th on floor, 16th on bars, 23rd on beam and 24th on vault. With the RQS rankings, Mary">">Mary Atkinson is now 12th in the all-around, 11th on vault, 12th on bars, and 18th on floor.

Promotions and more
The ASU women's gymnastics team will perform at halftime of Thursday's women's basketball game. Fans who attend the women's basketball game and bring their ticket stub to meet on Friday will receive $3 admission. Fans will receive a men and women's poster at the meet.

30 years of Spini
Arizona State University's longest currently tenured coach, John">">John Spini, has entered his 30th year of coaching. In his 30 years at ASU, Spini has sent his Sun Devil teams to 20 NCAA Championships and has had at least one Sun Devil represent ASU at the NCAA Championships 24 out of 28 seasons. He has coached 26 All-Americans for a total of 80 All-American accolades. Six women have won individual NCAA titles under Spini. Additionally, nine of Spini's Sun Devil squads have finished in the top five at the NCAA Championships, including four teams (1983, 1985, 1986, 1997) who were runner-up. The Sun Devils have qualified for an NCAA regional each of the seasons Spini has been the ASU gymnastics skipper.

Scouting the competition
Oregon State has been ranked as high as third this season. Senior Mandi Rodriguez leads the Beavers who are ranked seventh in the current rankings. They are fourth on vault with Rodriguez at seventh in the indivdual rankings while Becky Covin (10th) and Makayla Stambaugh (21) are also ranked. On bars, the Beavers are listed at sixth with Laura-Ann Chong (fifth) and Jen Kesler (21st) leading the team. The Beavers are seventh on beam iwth Rodriguez (19) and Chong (24th) ranked as individuals. The Beavers are ranked highest on floor as they have the second-highest RQS score in the event. Rodriguez leads OSU at fourth. Rodriguez is also ranked fourth in the all-around.

Miss Mary
Atkinson has emerged into the nation's top all-arounders this season. Last week, the junior combined a career-best 39.5 thanks to three career-highs on vault (9.9), beam (9.8) and floor (9.9). She has been incredibly consistent on vault this season as she has scored her career-high of 9.9 four times this season. Bars and floor have also been strong events for Atkinson as she has garnered team-high 9.95 on bars and has been the team's top floorworker this season. She has been consistently improving on beam this season and is the team's anchor in the event.

Leaving it all on the floor
The Gym Devils have bounced up to 12th nationally on floor after achieving a season-best 49.275 against Stanford. Atkinson's elegant routine has garnered several high scores (including a career-best 9.9) while the crowd cannot help but dance along to Nickie">">Nickie Johnson's Lady Gaga routine, in which she has delivered a 9.875. Madison">">Ma... Snowden has wowed the crowd each week, including last week against Stanford when she delivered a personal-best 9.9.

New kids on the block
The Gym Devils 2010 roster is full of new additions to the team. Six newcomers have already made the lineups this season. Nickie">">Nickie Johnson and Christina">">... Salavec are both training in the all around. Carly">">Carly McMahon earned a career-best 9.825 on vault at Washington. Amelia">">Amelia Rew, who just came to the team this month, is looking to be in the vault and potentially beam lineups. Freshman walk-on Jordyn">">Jo... McIntyre is working hard for a spot on the bars lineup. Another newcomer who will contribute significantly this season for the Gym Devils is sophomore transfer Amanda">">Amanda Davies who has been steady in the team's intrasquads this preseason. Madison">">Ma... Snowden has also been a powerful force on the floor as she has garnered three scores over 9.825 in three meets.

We're cuckoo for Kahoku
Kahoku">">Kahoku Palafox has emerged into quite the gymnast for the Gym Devils. Palafox, who has been a starter on bars since her first meet of her freshman season, nailed her bar routine against Arizona to tie for second with a career-best 9.9. Palafox has also been a strong beamworker for the Sun Devils. Against Utah, she led the team with a career-high 9.825. The Sun Devils had their best beam rotation of the season that meet.

Shining senior
After two years of being one of the team's top beam and bar-workers, Kaitlynn">">K... Bormann has given vault a shot again and has consistently been in the lineup this season. Despite not competing it since her freshman season, Bormann topped her previous career-high on vault by nailing it for a 9.8. She has earned that score three times this season. Bormann has also put up scores of 9.825 on beam.

Injury update
Beate Jones, who was the Sun Devils' top all-arounder last season, is out indefinitely with a Lisfranc injury that occurred during preseason. Jones achieved career-highs last season on V (9.925), UB (9.825), BB (9.9), FX (9.9) and in the all-around (39.4). Freshman Christina">">... Salavec, who has been one of the team's most consistent performers this season, has been out with a minor toe injury.

Socialize with the Devils
Be sure to follow the Arizona State Gymnastics team on Facebook and Twitter! Links to both are on Inside information, trivia questions and videos are featured on the fan sites.

Next up
The Gym Devils will host Central Michigan for their final home meet of the season on March 3 at 7:30 p.m. Senior Kaitlynn">">K... Bormann will be honored that night.