President Obama addresses graduates

May 14, 2009

Says core mission of ASU matches that of his presidency

At what may have been the largest U.S. graduation in history, President Barack Obama told graduates at Arizona State University that opening the doors of higher education to students from every background is a core mission of ASU and of his presidency, and should serve as a model for universities across the country.

Six high school seniors who are among the first recipients of ASU’s President Barack Obama Scholars program got to meet the charismatic president and be introduced on stage. The scholarship, an expansion of the university’s key financial aid program which will benefit 1,600 freshmen next fall, offers up to $17,000 annually to help students pay for tuition, room and board.

“What a wonderful gift, to open the doors of education for students of every background,” Obama told a crowd of 71,000 people in Sun Devil Stadium at ASU.

“With a degree from this outstanding institution, you have everything you need to get started. You have no excuses not to change the world. You can help our struggling non-profits. . . teach in a high-need school . . .help us lead a green revolution, developing new sources of clean energy that will power our economy and preserve our planet.”

For the last six years, ASU has served as America’s largest effort at institutional transformation in higher education, building a solution-focused institution that combines the highest level of academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic and maximum societal impact.

Since 2000 ASU has increased its enrollment by 17,000 students while enhancing student quality each year, as a response to the growing number of Arizona high school graduates academically qualified to attend college.

ASU also is home to the nation’s first School of Sustainability and the Biodesign Institute, both of which focus on huge global challenges and which prepare students for essential future careers. The graduating class includes 13 students who are the first to graduate with degrees in sustainability.

"As a nation, it is clear that we need to build a new foundation – a stronger foundation – for our economy and our prosperity, rethinking how we grow our economy, how we use energy, how we educate our children, how we care for our sick, how we treat our environment," said Obama.

“Many of our current challenges are unprecedented. There are no standard remedies, or go-to fixes this time around. That is why we are going to need your help.”

He told the graduating class of 9,267 that starting their careers in troubled times is a challenge, but also a privilege, because they are forced to dig deeper and discover gifts they never knew they had.
“At this difficult time in our national history, the old approaches won’t get you where you want to go. The leaders we revere, and the businesses and institutions that last, are the result of devotion to some bigger purpose. A commitment to make sure that an institution like ASU is inclusive and diverse and gives opportunity to all, that's a hallmark of real success.

President Obama’s emphasis on building the next generation of leaders in science, technology and sustainability, as well as the arts, mirrors ASU’s mission as a New American University, said ASU President Michael M.Crow, who invited Obama to be the university’s first graduation speaker in many years.

“President Obama’s priority on education and his stand on building a green economy as the solution to our economic crisis is a perfect fit for ASU’s mission and aspirations,” said Crow. “He has a deep understanding of the need to drive change, and of the role of knowledge in advancing the American ideal. He gives hope to all who dream.” Download Full Image

Western States provides ‘invaluable’ experience for Morrison School student

May 14, 2009

The Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus hosted the annual Western States 2009 Collegiate Sales Competition (WSCSC) April 18, and one of its very own placed in the competition.

Nick Odom, a senior business administration major, won cash and accolades for his performance, placing first in the ADP company’s portion of the competition beating out 10 other contestants for the coveted prize. Download Full Image

"The Western States Collegiate Sales Competition is an invaluable experience that can benefit you more than you know," said Odom.
Randi Bailey, from California State University-Bakersfield, was named overall champion for this year’s competition. Bailey achieved the highest score recorded over the five years of the competition.

The Morrison School brought together 16 students from Arizona and California to compete in the event. Schools competing this year included Northern Arizona University, ASU-Morrison School, and California State Universities from Fresno, Chico and Bakersfield. In the future other schools from the western states will be added as the program grows and establishes its position as a top regional sales competition for students interested in sales as a career path.

“The sales competition was established in 2005 as a valuable way for students, company recruiters, and faculty to interact in a spirit of competition, collegiality, and professionalism,” said Otis White, director of the competition and lecturer in the school.

“It enables students to experience the excitement of competition, while benefiting from training and teamwork outside the classroom,” White said. “For students interested in a sales career, this competition is a stepping stone to their dream of a top position in a leading sales organization.”

Sponsoring organizations got to see students in action while they presented sales scenarios from two top lead companies — Liberty Mutual and ADP. Student teams were presented with a sales scenario to work from and the lead companies provided training in sales techniques prior to the competition in each of the team’s home regions. Students were judged by representatives of sponsoring companies and were scored on their structure, product knowledge and overall sales approach.

This year’s sponsors also included Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a long time sponsor and supporter of the event.

“Sponsoring organizations benefit by having an opportunity to meet and watch the performance of some of the best and brightest students in the western states,” said White. “Many new hires result for the sponsoring organizations not only soon after the contest but later as students remember the sponsorship and support received and seek positions with these top companies.”

Teams are coached, mentored by school faculty members who say this is the highlight of their year. Tim Heinze, coach for the CSU Chico team, said, “This competition is a great experience for students and helps bring what we teach them in the classroom into a real life sales situation.” 

For more information about the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition contact Otis.White">">


Chris Lambrakis, lambrakis">">
(480) 727-1173
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus