Recently launched ASU Center for Political Thought and Leadership gains momentum

August 12, 2015

“Read what Thomas Jefferson read.”

That’s the mission of a new center at Arizona State University: read, discuss and debate the key texts at the root of democracy. man speaking at podium ASU President Michael Crow speaks at the launch of the Center for Political Thought and Leadership. Download Full Image

ASU’s Center for Political Thought and Leadership takes students back to the ancient Greeks, forward through English philosophers, to the Founding Fathers and up to modern day thinkers.

According to director Donald Critchlow, the center will further civic education and the principles of political liberty and economic well-being.

“Civic education and the principles of liberty and economic well-being were found in other courses but not in a concentrated program like we have,” he said. “The students will read not only the ancient philosophers on democracy but Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, Hume, as well as the Founding Fathers — and Abraham Lincoln. The courses are geared towards debate among our students, so they’re learning not only the fundamentals of the foundations of democracy, but they’re learning also how to debate critics of democracy as well as proponents of democracy.”

The center was recently bolstered with a $1 million dollar commitment from Dan and Carleen Brophy. Carleen is an alum of Arizona State University but neither she or Dan had been involved with the university until they attended a breakfast last December and became acquainted with the center’s existence and mission. Since then they have been very involved, including joining the center’s Community Advisory Board.

“How can a nation, particularly a republic, survive if its citizens don’t know a thing about its history, about its roots?” Dan Brophy said. “People must understand their roots in order to exercise good self government.”

The Brophys, Arizona natives who say they’re not active in national politics but are interested in state government and legislation, were impressed by courses required in the foundations of democracy and political thought and leadership. Their hope is that the center will create educated citizens who can apply the roots of western civilization to contemporary issues.

“This content that’s not being taught at most universities in the country and certainly not being taught in high schools,” Carleen Brophy said.

The center’s certificate program is more than just a classroom experience. Students are introduced to what leadership means in business and public affairs via opportunities to meet and network with executives, attorneys, and public officials.

“In the required leadership course we bring in speakers on what leadership means and what they learned in their careers,” Critchlow said.

Past speakers have included former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, the CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, a former Arizona Assistant Attorney General, the mayor of Scottsdale and leaders from non-profit campaigns.

Kyl is now honorary chair of the center. He said the Brophy’s recent commitment shows public enthusiasm for the center’s mission.

“I’m excited that, in its first year, the center has been so successful in reaching out to ASU students and the community to foster discussion about the fundamental foundations of democracy and constitutional principles,” Kyl said. “ASU seeks to educate students who will be our state’s future leaders. The center is making an essential contribution to this mission; and, with support from individuals like the Brophys, this positive impact will continue.”

The center also offers an internship program where students can work on political campaigns and organizations like the League of Women Voters and the state Chamber of Commerce.

“The great Brophy commitment really reveals that we have strong community support,” Critchlow said. “Their gift means the center will be around for a long time and become rooted at ASU.”

The Brophys feel ASU is in the forefront of restoring the works of thinkers like William Bradford and St. Augustine to university curricula.

“We think it’s laudable and significant for ASU to have founded this center and supported it,” Dan Brophy said. “We think they are definitely in the lead on this nationally. There’s growing recognition with people who have had a good education that students today are missing exposure to basic elements of the American experience. Our hat’s off to Don and the center but also the administration for doing it.”

Scott Seckel

Reporter, ASU Now


Move-in day, Fall Welcome events kick off school year

August 12, 2015

Moving into the residence hall. Learning the ASU fight song. Whitewashing the “A.”

College is all about traditions. And for those beginning their experience at Arizona State University over the coming week, there’s plenty of do and learn. Sun Devil Welcome event Sun Devil Welcome, which is set for Aug. 18 at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, is a chance for students to experience Sun Devil pride, sing the fight song and learn about what ASU has to offer students. <br><br> And did we mention it's a lot of fun? Download Full Image

But first, students have to unpack their stuff.

This fall, approximately 13,000 students will move into campus residence halls Aug. 14-17.

“Living on campus is an important part of the college experience,” said Matthew Brown, assistant vice president and executive director of housing at ASU. “It helps students connect with their peers and promotes involvement in student activities and campus life. This increased level of engagement is critical to student success.”

All first-year students live in the university’s residential college housing model: Students live in specific halls based on which college they’re enrolled in, and those halls are equipped with classrooms and multi-use rooms, beneficial to students seeking tutoring and study-group space. It’s an important way the university helps students connect with others in their area of study.

Assisted move-in will be available on all four campuses, with student volunteers on hand to answer questions and help students transition into their new living space. Students have time to settle in, meet new friends and become familiar with the campus before the first day of classes on Aug. 20.

Students and parents are encouraged to be move-in ready by doing the following:

• arrive at the assigned date and time
• complete the pre-check-in process
• bring a printed boarding pass and ASU ID
• follow specific directions to assigned residence halls
• stay well hydrated and wear comfortable clothing and footwear

Find out more at

Fall Welcome Week

The inauguration of the school year continues during Fall Welcome Week. A number of events — from concerts to a student-club fair to whitewashing the “A” on Hayden Butte — help students get into the Sun Devil spirit and learn about what ASU has to offer. With more than 140 events, there is something for everyone at each campus. Find the full calendar at; highlights include:

Camp Solera at West Campus, Saturday-Monday, Aug. 15-17
Incoming freshman stay two nights in the residence halls, learning university traditions and how to make the most of their first year at ASU from current students.

ASU Parents Reception, 5-7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 16, Memorial Union, second floor, Tempe campus
Parents can meet fellow ASU parents, the Sun Devil Family Association Board and ASU leadership and staff.

Sun Devil Welcome, 1:30-3 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe campus
Experience Sun Devil pride at its best! New and returning students sing the fight song and learn about the opportunities that lie ahead at ASU.

Culture at ASU Festival, 3-5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18, Memorial Union, Outdoor North Stage, Tempe campus
This year’s Culture @ASU Festival will feature national jazz artist Julian Vaughn. The festival immediately follows the Sun Devil Welcome.

Fall Welcome Concert, 6-11 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe campus
3OH!3 and Metric will hit the stage at this concert. Tickets are first-come, first-served and can be reserved at

Passport to ASU, 6:30-9 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19, Memorial Union and Sun Devil Fitness Complex, Tempe campus
More than 800 student organizations will be represented. Students can meet group members and get information on how to get involved.  Vendors from across the Phoenix area will be present with free food and other giveaways.

Fear the Fork BBQ, noon-2 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, Fletcher Lawn, West campus
Join the Undergraduate Student Government at this event.  Meet with student representatives over some barbecue on the first day of classes and learn how to be a voice for students at the West campus and across the University.

Whitewash the “A,”   9-11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, Hayden Butte (or A Mountain), Tempe campus  
Kicking off the school year wouldn’t be complete without one of the longest-standing traditions at ASU.  ASU students have been signifying a fresh start to the school year by whitewashing the “A” since the 1930s. Dress for hot weather and wear closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and a hat.

Residence Hall Association Presents: Water Wars, 2-4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, Sun Devil Fitness Center, Polytechnic campus
Show off speed and talents on the field at Water Wars, ducking, dodging and scoring against other teams. Tired after a long week and don’t feel up to that much action? Come tie-dye a shirt and cool off! Bring your own towel.

Sparky’s Carnival, 6-9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, San Carlos Room and Civic Space Park, Downtown Phoenix campus
Sparky’s Carnival is an opportunity for students to learn about the community and student organizations on or near the downtown campus. There will be free food and carnival activities.

Free shuttles will be provided to transport students living on the West, Polytechnic and Downtown campuses to the Sun Devil Welcome and Fall Welcome Concert.  For a complete list of Fall Welcome events, download the “ASU Events” app in the App Store or Google Play Store. Or for more information, visit

Students can share their experience or learn what others are doing by using #ASUFallWelcome on social media.