New gift supports actuarial science at ASU

February 4, 2014

The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Arizona State University has received a gift provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona to support the school’s new actuarial science program.

The Phoenix-based insurance company has established the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Actuarial Science Scholarship. The company contributed $30,000 to endow the scholarship to support a School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences student specializing in actuarial science. Download Full Image

The scholarship is the first at the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences that specifically benefits actuarial science majors. The school’s new actuarial science program, which is accepting students for fall 2014, will train qualified graduates to earn professional actuarial credentials, thus enhancing the workforce for insurance companies and other organizations. ASU offers the only undergraduate actuarial degree program in Arizona, and one of only a few such programs in the inter-mountain west.

Housed at the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, the bachelor of science in actuarial science program was established to give students a strong background in mathematics, statistics and business. Students must pass a series of exams to become certified actuaries. The first several exams can and should be attempted during their undergraduate studies. The remaining exams can be completed while on the job.

“We’re proud to establish this scholarship in support of the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and its students,” said Sandy Gibson, executive vice president and former chief actuary at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, who began her actuarial science career at ASU. A member of the new ASU Actuarial Advisory Board, Gibson added, “By providing support for the students in this new actuarial science degree at ASU, we are investing in the development and growth of the next generation of actuaries.”

Al Boggess, director of the school, said the gift “will help qualified undergraduates pursue this new degree which will prepare them for one of the most lucrative careers in the country. I sincerely thank Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona for their generosity.”

The first Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Actuarial Science Scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded this fall to a full-time undergraduate actuarial science student at the junior or senior level. Recipients will be known as the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Actuarial Scholars.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest Arizona-based health insurance company. The not-for-profit company was founded in 1939 and provides health insurance products, services or networks to more than 1.2 million individuals.

The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences is an academic unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Rhonda Olson

Manager of Marketing and Communication, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences


Leading journalist to discuss dynamics of change in the Middle East

February 4, 2014

The Iraq-Syria border is in chaos. Al-Qaeda affiliated groups are in resurgence. It’s been three years since the Arab spring began, and the political map of the Middle East seems increasingly unstable.

Which way are things heading? Rami Khouri will address this question in a free public lecture at 4:30 p.m., Feb. 20, in the College of Law Great Hall on the Tempe campus. Rami Khouri Download Full Image

Khouri is an internationally renowned political columnist who has reported on the Middle East for more than 20 years.

Khouri’s lecture, “Sectarianism, Secularism and Statehood: Challenges and Change that Shape the Middle East,” will speak to the dangers and the opportunities of emerging democracies in the region.

“If Arab countries can peacefully and democratically define a new military-civilian power balance along with a new balance of religious-secular values in their constitutions and public spheres, these would be two enormous gains that will long loom as a critical foundation for sensible and legitimate nation-building in the years ahead,” Khouri says.

Khouri is the editor-at-large of The Daily Star and director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University in Beirut. He is well-known for his nuanced coverage of the local, regional and global issues that make Middle East conflict so complex.

“Rami Khouri’s extensive experience living in and covering the Middle East makes him an extraordinarily valuable resource to help explain the recent dynamics of change in that region,” says Linell Cady, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.

Khouri's writings and commentary appear in a wide variety of media outlets, including the BBC, NPR, the Charlie Rose Show, the International Herald Tribune, Time Magazine, the New York Times and the Guardian/Observer.

He is also a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Dubai School of Government, has served as a visiting scholar at Stanford, Syracuse, Tufts, Mt. Holyoke and Northeastern, and is a recipient of the Pax Christi International Peace Award.

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is an interdisciplinary research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that examines the role of religion as a driving force in human affairs.

The lecture is part of the center’s “Alternative Visions” lecture series. The series brings nationally and internationally recognized experts such as Peter Bergen, Elaine Pagels and Reza Aslan to campus to address the sources of conflict and strategies for resolution.

The series is supported by a grant from philanthropist John Whiteman.

See for more information, or click here to RSVP for the lecture.

Written by Katie Mykleseth