In memory: ASU alum, Ariz. historian Dean Smith

July 17, 2012

Prolific writer, historian, storyteller and ASU alumnus Dean Smith, who wrote "The Sun Devils: Eight Decades of Arizona State Football" (1979), among many other titles, died July 7 at Banner Desert Medical Center. He was 89.

"Arizona and especially Tempe have lost a fine writer, historian and storyteller – Dean Smith, the prolific author of more than 20 books, many of them specialized histories of our state," wrote Lawn Griffiths in a July 12 special feature that appeared in the East Valley Tribune. Download Full Image

Smith was an Arizonan for more than seven decades, a frequent contributor to Arizona Highways magazine, and a book editor for the University of Arizona Press. He explored his state's lesser-known places and history in one of the last books he ever wrote: "Arizona Nuggets." The book is a popular title around the state, available on, and has been updated this year with a new Centennial Edition.

"Many of the thousands of copies of 'Arizona Nuggets' were distributed to Arizona schools, and Dean gave the Kiwanis Club of Friendship Village rights to sell 'Arizona Nuggets' as a fundraiser," writes Griffiths.

A Kansas native raised in Glendale, Smith attended Arizona State University when the institution was known by a different name: Arizona State College. He received his bachelor's degree in 1947 and later returned to earn an MBA in 1971.

After serving as a sports writer for the Glendale News and the Mesa Tribune, he worked as the sports information director for ASU from 1950 to 1952. Smith covered Sun Devil Athletics as a sports writer for the Arizona Republic from 1952 to 1959, when he rejoined his alma mater, becoming director of publications.

"He retired from ASU in 1984, then turned to independently writing and producing his long string of Arizona books," writes Griffiths. His 22 books include:

• "Tempe: Arizona Crossroads"

• "The Goldwaters of Arizona"

• "Arizona Pathways"

• "The Meteor Crater Story"

• "Arizona Goes to War"

• "Arizona Ghost Towns and Mining Camps"

• "Barry Goldwater: The Biography of a Conservative"

• "Brothers Five" – a history of the Babbitts of Arizona

A memorial service for Smith is scheduled for 10 a.m., July 28, at Skirm Auditorium at Friendship Village, located at 2625 E. Southern Ave., in Tempe.

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

When faced with goodbye, write a letter

July 17, 2012

ASU alum, Valley writer seeks 'goodbye letters'

"One of these days, I'm gonna sit down and write a long letter, to all the good friends I've known." – Neil Young postmark Download Full Image

After the recent passing of her father, ASU alumnus Susan Geer, a Valley resident and writer, sat down and wrote a letter to her father – a "goodbye letter."

Geer said she found the experience to be so comforting that she felt inspired to begin collecting other goodbye letters from people who also have struggled with the loss of a parent, a child, a friend.  

“My idea is to collect and publish these letters that can heal and enrich those who are faced with saying goodbye, whether that is by death, leaving for the military, going to college or moving out," says Geer. "All letters of goodbye will be considered."

Geer holds a bachelor's degree in advertising from ASU, and her late father, Robert Huff, served as executive director of the Arizona Board of Regents from 1979 to 1986. He later became an ASU professor emeritus, teaching higher education management.

"I believe people are faced with the question of what do you say, how do you act when you may be seeing your loved one for the last time or for a long time," Geer says. "So, for me, I felt it was a positive, comforting and uplifting experience to get all my thoughts on to paper and give my father this letter."

Sincerity is the only rule for crafting a goodbye letter, says Geer. She suggests thinking about the person to whom you are writing and then writing about a specific incident with that person. Goodbye letters can be long or short, and they don't have to say everything. Finally, Geer says to give it to your loved one. If you can’t give it in person, then mail it, email it, have it delivered, or read it over the telephone. Be sensitive to the recipient's emotions and needs, Geer warns.

For those interested in sending a goodbye letter for publication consideration, you can email your letters to or mail them to 1155 S. Power Rd., Suite 114, #65, Mesa, Ariz., 85206. Visit for more information.

“I can’t wait for the letters to come in," Geer says. "I think I will end up seeing a pattern, or a logical way to group the letters so I can formulate chapters based on subject matter. I hope the finished project will inspire others to write down their thoughts and feelings, and help them get through this difficult process.”

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

ASU staff, students among amateur athletes to compete for US

July 13, 2012

When the Olympic Games open in London on July 27, a small band of Arizona’s elite canoe paddlers will be preparing to pit their skills against the best in the world, but in Canada at the International Va’a Federation (IVF) Outrigger World Sprint Championships in Calgary, Alberta.

The paddlers, who are quick to tell you they are not rowers, are Kehaulani Young, Alicia Lin-Kee, Terry Santiago, Anne Cook, Catherine Hershfelt, Marisalyn Singpradith and Margaret Coulombe. The team, the first ever from Arizona, will race against competitors from 22 countries, Aug. 11-15. A six person outrigger canoe with ASU crew members Download Full Image

Coulombe, Cook and Singpradith will also be carrying the banner of Arizona State University with them into battle. The group trains on Tempe Town Lake four times a week, during temperatures that often soar into the triple digits; a challenge that makes their journey to Worlds just “that more compelling,” says Cook, who is a graduate student in ASU’s School of Social Work.

The racers are members of Na Leo O Ke Kai (or Voices of the Sea), the largest competitive outrigger canoe club in Arizona. This nonprofit group supports the athletic dreams of more than 120 members, who come from all across the Valley and as far as away as Lake Havasu. Club members, men, women and children, paddle all year round, and race in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Canada from April to October.

“Outrigger canoe is a huge part of my upbringing. I grew up on Molokai, with both of my parents paddling competitively in Hawaii,” said Lin-Kee, who is a mother of two little boys. “I fell in love with the positive attitudes and energy in the sport. It’s something I want my boys to experience and share.”

Much like the fondly-remembered Jamaican bobsled team – underdogs of the 1988 Olympics – Arizona’s land-locked World Sprint crew strives to be crowned fastest in the world. They have trained together since 2011 and qualified this last March. However, the paddlers themselves have competed for up to 17 years in canoes. The Arizona team will be part of a larger group of men and women drawn together to represent the U.S. from four IVF-U.S. regional groups in California, the Pacific Northwest, the eastern U.S., and Hawaii. And while outrigger canoe is not yet an Olympic sport, the top teams attract some of the best canoeists in the world, including present and former Olympians and Paracanoe athletes.

The va’a or outrigger canoe originated in Hawaii nearly 4,000 years ago and a sailing version of the canoe was used to populate islands chains throughout Polynesia. The modern sport has likewise spread from Tahiti and Hawaii across the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. Traditional boats in Hawaii were made of the native tropical hardwood, koa, which has become rare. Modern racing canoes are lightweight, from 250-400 pounds, typically made of fiberglass or other lightweight man-made materials. 

Calgary crewmates Singpradith and Santiago also paddle or coach dragon boat with the Arizona Dragon Boat Association. Both joined Na Leo O’ Ke Kai to expand their skills as competitive paddlers. “I found more than what I bargained for!” said Singpradith, who is an ASU alumnus. “Whether it’s one or 60 paddlers, Na Leo O’ Ke Kai has showed me what it is to be one team striving to bring out the very best in the community.” 

Arizona’s Na Leo O Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club has been a feeder club for the establishment of five other canoe clubs in the Southwest. Founded by Louise and Lono Navarro in 1997, the group offers much more than a high level of competition. It also has summer paddling programs for Native American and other local youth, promotes team work and leadership, as well as an understanding of Polynesian culture and heritage, and a close family atmosphere or Ohana.

“Even though I am not Hawaiian, growing up with Hawaiian traditions has been a blessing and this culture continues to bring many new experiences into my life,” said Hershfelt, a dental hygienist who learned to paddle in Northern California at age 6.

“Our Calgary crew has students, mothers, retired Air Force and active members of the Arizona Army National Guard; women working at universities; professionals working with Honeywell Aerospace, Honeywell Defense and Space and American Express. I am constantly impressed by my teammates, their dedication and feel fortunate to be part of the first team to represent Arizona as part of a U.S. team in Calgary,” said Coulombe, the club’s head coach and staff member with ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Despite training hard for the race itself, the sprint crew’s challenges still include one more major hurdle – fundraising. They are asking the public for their support. To find out more about the group, the competition or to help support the crew:

What’s ahead after Worlds? Coulombe hopes to bring the sport of outrigger to ASU, working with John Parker, a lecturer with Barrett Honors College, and ASU students to establish a student club, with support from partner Na Leo O Ke Kai. 

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


Diogu, Harden join 14 Sun Devils competing in London Olympics

July 9, 2012

Editor's Note: For more information on ASU's Olympic athletes, click here.

Former ASU basketball players Ike Diogu and James Harden will compete in London this summer at the 2012 Olympics, joining 14 fellow Sun Devils who also qualified for the games. Download Full Image

As the 2004-2005 Pac-10 Player of the Year and All-America pick, Diogu put Nigeria on his back and led the team to an 88-73 win over the Dominican Republic in the final qualifying game in Caracas, Venezuela. Diogu scored 25 points and grabbed 10 boards en route to MVP honors as Nigeria earned the final men's basketball spot.

Harden, who competed for the Sun Devils for two seasons from 2007-2009, and was the 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American, was named July 7 as a member of the final 12-man roster for the London Olympics, setting the team that will travel on an international tour over the next few weeks.

The 14 other Sun Devils who will be competing in London this summer are:

Desiree Davila

2001-2005 Sun Devil Desiree Davila (marathon – USA) will be making her first appearance in the Olympics and in qualifying she became just the second Sun Devil in history to advance to the Olympics in the marathon behind only Marie Trujillo (Mexico) in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.  Davila earned the bid courtesy of her runner-up finish at the USA Olympic Marathon Trials in January.  Davila helped lead the Sun Devil cross country team to a 14th place finish at the 2003 NCAA Championships during her time at Arizona State.  She earned her first All-America honors in 2003 (10th, outdoor 5,000m run) and garnered All-America honors in cross country as well.  Davila ranks 10th on ASU's all-time outdoor 5,000m list.

Kelsey Campbell

2007-2008 Sun Devil Kelsey Campbell (wrestling – USA) will enter her first Olympics this year and holds the historical honor of being the one women to make an Arizona State roster. Campbell competed in seven events while at Arizona State, placing in all six tournaments in the 2007-2008 year as a Sun Devil. In 2007, Campbell earned her first tournament victory and national title in the 63kg weight class after going 3-0 in the tournament as an unseeded underdog against the No. 4, No. 2 and No. 1 competitors. Campbell followed up a year later claiming her second crown in the 59kg class. On April 21, Campbell beat top-seeded Helen Maroulis at the U.S. Olympic Trials for the first time in her career at 55 kilograms. The victory earned her an Olympic berth.

Zeke Jones

1987-1990 Sun Devil Zeke Jones (freestyle wrestling head coach – USA) earned three All-America honors and was a national runner-up in his senior campaign with the Sun Devils. A member of the 1988 NCAA Championship wrestling team, Jones also collected four Pac-10 crowns at 118 pounds while the team won the conference crown all four years and finished as national runners-up twice. As a post-collegiate wrestler, Jones excelled on the international scene, winning silver at the 1992 Olympics. He also won the 1991 World Championships along with five other World appearances and six US Open titles. Jones won gold at the Pan-Am and Goodwill Games before entering the coaching ranks. An assistant coach with the Sun Devils from 1993-1998, Jones has been a member of the Team USA Freestyle coaching staff for the past four Olympic Games (2008, 2004, 2000 and 1996) and was named the Team USA Freestyle Head Coach in 2009, a title he still holds as he leads the team to his fifth Olympic Games as a coach.

Alison Williamson

1991-1995 Sun Devil Alison Williamson (archery – Great Britain) is set to compete in her sixth Summer Games and will look to improve upon her first Olympic medal after capturing bronze at the 2004 Athens Games. An All-American in 1993 with the Sun Devils (the last year the team was a varsity sport), Williamson was part of six national championships in her days in Tempe as the women won the 1991, 1992 and 1993 titles while joining the men to captured mixed crowns in each of those three years. During her previous four Summer Games, Williamson placed eighth in 1992 Barcelona before taking 10th in both 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney.  Williamson was 17th at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Between her first two games, Williamson won the 1994 U.S. Collegiate Individual Championships.

Amy LePeilbet

2000-2003 Sun Devil Amy LePeilbet (soccer – USA) is a member of the national team since 2004, LePeilbet is one of six defenders on the 2012 USA Olympic soccer squad. LePeilbet started all six games at the 2011 FIFA World Cup, where the USA made it to the final before falling to Japan in a penalty shootout following a 2-2 tie after extra time. The 2011 World Cup represented the first world championship tournament of LePeilbet's career.  A four-year letterwinner at ASU from 2000-2003, LePeilbet led the Sun Devils to the second round of the NCAA tournament in three of her four seasons (2000, 2002, 2003) and is considered one of the most decorated players in ASU history, earning first-team All-American honors her senior year.

Riley McCormick

2009-current Sun Devil Riley McCormick (diving – Canada) is making his second-consecutive Olympic appearance, having represented his home country of Canada in the 2008 Beijing games. A two-time Pac-12 Diver of the Year in his first two seasons at Arizona State, McCormick grey shirted the 2011-12 season to focus on Olympic training. In Beijing, McCormick placed 16th overall on the 10-meter platform for Canada, narrowly missing the Olympic finals. At Arizona State, McCormick won two Pac-12 Championships ('10, '11) on the 10-meter platform, setting a new school record in the event, and finished runner-up at the 2010 NCAA Championships on the 10-meter platform.

Gal Nevo

2005-2007 Sun Devil Gal Nevo (swimming – Israel) is making his second-consecutive Olympic appearance, having represented his home country of Israel in the 2008 Beijing games. Won the Pac-10 400 IM crown in 2007. After joining the Sun Devils midway through the 2005-06 season, Nevo earned All-America honors in the 1650-yard freestyle and 400-yard IM. Set school records in the 1650 free and 400 IM. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finished 11th in the 400 IM and 13th in the 200 IM. Qualified for the 2012 Olympics in July 2011 at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai by placing 15th in the 200 IM with a time of 1:59.98, qualifying him for the semifinals of the Olympics, for which he had to meet the criterion of 2:00.17.

Micky Benedetti

2006-2008 Sun Devil Micky Benedetti (diving – Italy) was a two-time All-American (07 platform; 08 1-meter) after joining the Sun Devils for the 2006-07 season. Benedetti also earned Honorable Mention All-American Honors in 2006-07 (3-meter and 1-meter) and in 2007-08 (platform and 3-meter). He was a two-time Pac-10 Champion and the 2008 Pac-10 Diver of the Year. Qualified for the 2012 Olympics in February at the 18th FINA Diving World Cup 2012 in London after finishing 12th in the 3M Springboard with a score of 424.05.

Rowie Webster

2005-2006 Sun Devil Rowie Webster (water polo/Australia) will be making her Olympic debut with the team and has been a member of the Senior National Team for the past four years.  In that time, Webster has been an admirable defender for the Stingers and helped the squad to silver medal performances at the FINA World League Finals and the FINA World Cup in 2010 and a first-place finish at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia earlier this year. Webster scored 63 goals as a freshman for ASU in 2006 and added 19 assists to that for 82 points on the year.  Both were freshman records and both marks have not come close to being touched since her departure.  Her 63 goals rank fourth all-time in single-season goals scored for the Sun Devils and was selected as a third-team All-American by the American Water Polo Coaches Association.

Amy Hastings

2002-2005 Sun Devil Amy Hastings (track and field – USA) will be making her first Olympic appearance in 2012 after becoming the American champion at 10,000 meters at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.  Hastings is still the holder of the Arizona State school record at 10,000 meters with her time of 32:30.37.  Hastings ranks as one of the all-time greats to pass through the ranks in the Maroon and Gold, earning seven All-America honors for track and field and three for cross country.  Her 10 total All-America honors rank her second in ASU history.  Hastings was the 2006 NCAA Champion at 5,000-meters indoors and finished fourth earlier this year at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Ryan Whiting

2006-2010 Sun Devil Ryan Whiting (track and field – USA) earned his first Olympic bid after taking runner-up honors at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June.  Whiting was a six-time NCAA champion during his years at Arizona State, five of them coming in shot put competitions.  He was the 2012 world indoor champion earlier this year in Istanbul, Turkey.  Whiting was ranked fourth in the United States entering the weekend, so his inclusion on the squad was a minor upset. With his inclusion, Whiting became the first ASU Olympian in the shot put in history.  Whiting still holds the ASU school record in the shot put and, between he and Clarke, has helped ASU to win eight of the last 10 NCAA indoor and outdoor shot put titles.

Eric Boateng

2007-2010 Sun Devil Eric Boateng (men's basketball – Great Britain) has earned a spot on the 12-man Great Britain men's basketball team for the 2012 London Olympics, his hometown. It will be only the second appearance for England hoops in the Olympics, joining 1948, the last time London hosted the Games. The team is coached by Houston Rockets assistant Chris Finch.  Boateng, 26, will backup Robert Archibald in the post. Boateng plays professionally for the Peristeri team in Greece. The Denver Nuggets had Boateng in training camp in 2010, and he played for the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League before signing with Peristeri in November.

Kyle Alcorn

2006-2008 Kyle Alcorn (track and field – USA) earned his first-ever Olympic bid after a third-place run in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase on Thursday in Eugene, Ore. Alcorn, who now competes for Nike, clocked an Olympic ‘A’ standard of 8:22.17 at Hayward Field in the final of the men’s steeplechase to take the final qualifying spot to London behind Nike teammates Evan Jager and Don Cabral.  Alcorn became ASU’s first-ever Olympian in the steeplechase with the performance. Alcorn was a two-time NCAA Champion - once in the indoor 3,000-meter run and once in the outdoor steeplechase - and continues to train with Arizona State University head men’s cross country coach and assistant coach for distance, Louie Quintana.

donald sanford

Born in Los Angeles, Sanford competed at Arizona State for two seasons, was the 2010 NCAA runner-up at 400 meters and earned All-America honors as part of the 4x400-meter indoor and outdoor relays that season as well. Sanford ranks ninth in ASU’s impressive 400-meter dash history with his career-best time of 45.21 in that runner-up performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.  Sanford will be competing in his first-ever Olympics and is just the second Sun Devil to ever compete for Israel at the Olympics outside of swimmer Gal Nevo, who will be competing in his second Olympiad in London.

Harden and Diogu join Eric Boateng, who was named to the Great British men's basketball team earlier this week, in the 2012 Olympics.

Harden was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for the 2011-2012 season as part of the Oklahoma City Thunder squad that finished as the runners-up in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. On the season, Harden led the league in bench scoring with 16.8 points per game on 49.1 percent shooting while also adding 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 31.4 minutes per game. He helped lead the Thunder in 2011-12 to the West Conference's second best record of 47-19, to a first-place finish in the Northwest Division, and to the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

For more 2012 London Olympics coverage, visit

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

ASU Travel & Tours is born

June 29, 2012

The ASU Alumni Association recently announced a new name for its travel program – ASU Travel & Tours – along with an expanded list of travel itineraries for 2013.

ASU Travel & Tours, formerly known as Sun Devil Destinations, allows members of the Alumni Association an opportunity to continue their pursuit of lifelong learning as they travel to locations across the country and around the globe with other Sun Devils. The association has revamped its travel schedule and worked with tour operators to enable members to learn, discover and explore on trips that inform as well as entertain. canoes Download Full Image

The upgraded program will feature a varied portfolio of trip itineraries, with travel programs suited to alumni representing a broad range of ages and life experiences. There will be trips aimed at young alumni, families, travelers seeking a luxury cruise experience, those wanting to learn more about the culture and history of a region, and those wanting to be immersed in the culture of a destination for an extended period. A special highlight during 2013 will be the program’s first sponsored trip, a cruise to Alaska from July 26 to Aug. 2, which will be hosted by ASU Alumni Association President Christine K. Wilkinson.

Jennifer Holsman Tetreault, executive director of operations for the Alumni Association, said the travel program was enhanced to better align the service with the goals of the Alumni Association, which exists to unite and serve all Sun Devil Alumni.

“We enhanced and renamed ASU Travel & Tours to ensure that our members are able to learn more about a destination’s culture and history on trips that we sponsor,” she said. “Our program offers travelers many exciting and enriching ways to stay connected to Arizona State University and to each other while they learn about another part of the United States or the world.”

ASU Travel & Tours has confirmed dates and tour operators for the following trips in 2013:

March 12-24: Treasures of Ecuador, AHI

March 14-24: Antebellum South, Go Next

April 7-18: Tahitian Jewels, Go Next

April 20-28: Mediterranean Marvels, Go Next

May 19-28: Normandy/Paris, AHI

May 28-June 12: Jewels of Antiquity Cruise, AHI

June 22-July 3 : Northern Europe, Vacations to Go

June 25-July 5: An American Celebration, Go Next

July 26-Aug. 1: Alaska, Vacations to Go

Aug. 7-15: Scotland, AHI

Aug. 26-Sept. 6: Taste of Europe, Go Next

Sept. 7-15: Italian Riviera, AHI

Sept. 23-Oct. 1: Villages & Vineyards Cruise, AHI

Oct. 7-18: Cradle of History, Go Next

Oct. 11-19: Northern Italy, Go Next

Oct. 29-Nov. 11: Classic China & The Yangtze, Odysseys Unlimited

To learn more, or to request/download trip brochures containing detailed itineraries and cost information, visit

Ten students awarded Legacy Scholarships to attend ASU

June 29, 2012

Students majoring in a variety of fields, ranging from communication and education to engineering and supply-chain management, are among the most recent recipients of the Arizona State University Alumni Association’s Legacy Scholarship program, which was established in 2010 to help students who have a family tradition of attending ASU. Thirteen students have previously been recipients of the scholarship.

Relatives of ASU Alumni Association members are eligible to apply for the scholarship. The 10 recipients for the 2012-13 school year will receive $1,200 each, or $600 in aid per semester. Download Full Image

The following students have been selected as 2012-13 Legacy Scholars:

Lisa Atkinson is majoring in music education at ASU and anticipates a 2015 graduation. Her uncle is a proud ASU alumnus who advocated for Atkinson to become a Sun Devil. She maintained a 3.98 GPA at Glenwood Springs High School in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and participated in numerous musical competitions. She received multiple awards in songwriting and original composition, and placed in a percussion world championship. At ASU, Atkinson has been active in the music department and the America Reads program. As an alumna, she would like to continue to give back to the ASU community of which she and her uncle are so grateful to be a part.

Anne Carman is a junior at ASU majoring in communication and minoring in media analysis. She attended Royal High School in Simi Valley, Calif., and participated in many extracurricular school activities, including Relay for Life and tennis. While in high school she was captain of her high school varsity tennis team, and received a scholar athlete achievement award and a coach’s award for her service to the team. Carman was also a youth tennis camp volunteer. At ASU, Carman is a member of the Association of Human Communication and a student events intern with the ASU Foundation for a New American University. Her mother is a proud alumna who represents ASU by being involved with the Los Angeles ASU Alumni Association chapter and the ASU Alumni Admissions Ambassador program, and Carman plans on doing the same one day, because she believes that being a Sun Devil is who she was meant to be.

Megan Conroy, a senior at ASU, is pursuing degrees in supply-chain management and marketing. Her brother, Brandon, was her inspiration to attend ASU. She graduated from Highland High School in Gilbert, and attended Oklahoma City University and Chandler-Gilbert Community College, maintaining a 4.0 GPA at both institutions. She anticipates a 2013 graduation from ASU, where she has been deeply involved in the community as a member of the Sun Devil Spirit Squad and as a member of the international honor society Beta Gamma Sigma. Conroy motivates youth to maintain a strong work ethic and love for dance while working as a dance instructor in the Valley and plans on continuing to be an ASU role model for girls who want to grow up to be dancers or cheerleaders.

Don Green plans to major in engineering at ASU. He was an honor student who ranked in the top 10 percent of his class at Marcos De Niza High School in Tempe, and was involved in many school-related activities, including band, choir and drama. Green wrote in his scholarship application that he is eager to attend the university and to become involved in organizations like the Sun Devil Marching Band and Engineers Without Borders. His father is a proud lifetime member of the ASU Alumni Association, and Green wishes to follow in his footsteps, so that he may receive the same outstanding education his father did.

Kaitlin Grunst is planning to double-major in special education and elementary education at ASU. Five of her family members have graduated from the university, including her mother, and Grunst always has wanted to do the same. She graduated from St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Ill., then attended Eastern Illinois University, where she maintained a 3.89 GPA. Grunst has been involved in many philanthropic organizations including Alpha Phi Fraternity, the Phi Eta Sigma honors society and A.R.R.O.W (Advocating the Rights and Relief of Women). She plans on continuing to give back to the community as an ASU student and alumni.

Alyssa Hansen, a sophomore at ASU, is majoring in filmmaking practices at ASU. She graduated from Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Calif., and studied at Irvine Valley College, where she maintained a 4.0 GPA. She anticipates a 2015 graduation from her bachelor’s program at ASU. She says she “eats, sleeps and breathes maroon and gold” as a member of the Sun Devil Marching Band and as a member of the national band honor fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi. Hansen also has been involved in numerous marching band and color guard activities, and was a national spokeswoman for the By Kids For Kids organization in the entertainment industry, where she encouraged youth to be creative and bring their imagination to life. She hopes to become a filmmaker and work for companies like Pixar, where she can take what she learns at ASU to tell stories and become an ethical leader. Her parents are proud members of the ASU Alumni Association.

Joseph Harrington is a senior at ASU who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering. His uncle is an ASU alumnus who inspired Harrington to make a difference in the community through his dedication to the university and his support of its programs. Harrington graduated with a 4.0 GPA from the Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and the captain of his varsity football and basketball teams. He is a student at Barrett, the Honors College at ASU, and he contributes to the community as an officer of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and as a member of the national civil engineering honor society, Chi Epsilon. Harrington has a passion for assisting others and is currently an undergraduate teaching assistant, with a goal to complete a doctoral degree and become a professor of engineering at ASU one day. Like his uncle, Harrington hopes to inspire others through his dedication to the ASU community as an alumnus.

Rori Leaverton is planning to major in kinesiology at ASU. Her cousin, Raquel Leaverton, inspired her to attend ASU. Leaverton maintained a 3.7 GPA at Skagway High School in Skagway, Alaska, was the salutatorian of her class, and a participant in many of her school’s extracurricular athletic programs including basketball, cross country, track and field, and volleyball. She was the captain of each of her athletic teams, in addition to being a member of a regional academic team and the student body president of her high school during her senior year.  Leaverton believes that her hard work and dedication will carry her as both a student at ASU and an alumna.

Claudia Nunez-Eddy will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology and society at ASU. Nunez-Eddy’s mother is a proud ASU alumna who had her daughter cheering on the Sun Devils and, in her words, “swathed in maroon and gold” since she was a child. Nunez-Eddy graduated from the Chandler Preparatory Academy in Chandler in 2012, where she participated in extracurricular activities like varsity soccer and varsity volleyball, and where she mentored her fellow preparatory students. Nunez-Eddy also has volunteered at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and she hopes ASU will help her to develop intellectually and pursue her academic goals so that she may attend medical school one day. While at ASU she hopes to be involved in philanthropy and be able to attend the many school events that ASU offers.

Stevi Rex is planning to major in journalism at ASU. She attended Moorpark High School in Moorpark, Calif., and graduated with a 3.85 GPA. While in high school, she was involved in multiple extracurricular activities from sports to charity work. Rex spent most of her time with local high school baseball teams where she was a statistician, due to her deep understanding and appreciation for the game. She also volunteered with youth programs like See-Me-Read, where she assisted children with their school activities. She is interested in attending ASU and studying journalism in order to learn how to share her knowledge and passion for baseball with the world. Rex aspires to become a female sports commentator one day. Her mother is a proud ASU alumna.

In order to be selected, Legacy Scholarship recipients had to demonstrate evidence of academic success, a strong commitment to community service and/or university involvement, and dedication to the achievement of their personal and educational goals. As part of the university’s commitment to promoting access to education, the association distributed half of this year’s awards on the basis of financial need.

Christine K. Wilkinson, president of the ASU Alumni Association, said this year’s group of scholarship recipients demonstrated the strength of engaged Sun Devil alumni.

“This cohort of Legacy scholars are accomplished students, who also have given generously to the community around them,” she said. “They are living proof that their relatives have done a great job of passing along values they learned at ASU.”

For more information on the Legacy Scholarship program and other awards and scholarships offered by the Alumni Association, visit

Alumni Association announces 2012-2013 Young Alumni Council

June 28, 2012

 The Arizona State University Alumni Association recently elected its officers and newest members for the 2012-2013 Young Alumni Council.

The council was formed in 2009 to direct and facilitate the development of the association’s Arizona State Young Alumni (ASYA) program for ASU graduates age 35 and younger. As the program enters its fourth year, Jennifer Holsman Tetreault, executive director of operations for the Alumni Association, said members of the council are shaping the program into one that sets the stage for strategic growth. ASYA Young Alumni Council president Jayson Matthews Download Full Image

“The evolution of the Young Alumni Council, like the growth of the Arizona State Young Alumni program itself, has been inspirational to watch,” Holsman Tetreault said.  “The council is shaping ASYA into a powerful tool for keeping Sun Devil graduates embedded in the ASU community.

“We've been impressed by the initiative that our volunteer leadership team has shown,” she continued. “We are thrilled to have such impressive talent on the council to provide leadership and guidance.”

The following ASU alumni will be part of the 2012-13 Young Alumni Council.


President: Jayson Matthews ’03 M.P.A. is the assistant director and chief program officer for the Tempe Community Council. He has worked for the city of Tempe as a management intern for former Tempe City Manager Will Manley, and as an executive assistant for former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano. He has served on the boards of the Tempe Transportation Commission, the City of Phoenix Commission on Housing and Neighborhoods, the City of Phoenix License Appeals Board, and the Tempe Leadership’s board of directors.

Vice President: Sean J. O'Hara ‘03 B.A. is an associate with the law firm of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. His practice focuses on intellectual property litigation.  O’Hara, his wife Amy, and their children, Ellen and Patrick, are all avid Sun Devil fans who rarely miss an ASU football game. 

Secretary: Maja Aurora ’03 B.A. manages public art, art in private development, and arts grants for the city of Tempe. During her time at ASU, she served as the president of Miracles ASU and worked as an adolescent life skills volunteer with Save the Family. Aurora continues to serve the community through her participation in Tempe Leadership with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and by volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona for more than seven years.

New Members

Nicole Almond '04 B.A., '09 MNpS is the manager of marketing, communications and stakeholder relations for ASU's Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. Previously, she worked in alumni relations programs for ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business and the ASU Alumni Association. As a student, she was president of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and was involved with the Leadership Scholarship Program, Devils’ Advocates and the American Marketing Association. Almond is a member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Phoenix and is the faculty advisor for Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. She is a proud gold life member of the ASU Alumni Association and is a passionate supporter of Sun Devil Athletics.

Yesenia Barraza 08 B.A. is a certified public accountant and assists businesses and individuals with their tax, accounting and consulting needs. At ASU, Barraza was part of the Leadership Scholarship Program and served in key roles for various on-campus organizations including the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting and the Hispanic Business Students Association. She shares her knowledge related to financial topics with the community through frequent presentations, and also volunteers for programs that aim to increase the access of underrepresented students to a college education.

Alexander Benezra '03 B.S. is an attorney for the Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton, Ariz., where his practice focuses on criminal defense, juvenile and child custody matters for tribal members.  As an ASU student, Benezra was a resident assistant at Manzanita Hall for two years and active in Hillel. Since graduating from ASU, Benezra earned his law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law in 2007. Outside of work, Benezra volunteers for the Valley of the Sun YMCA Youth and Government program and for the Mountain Region B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, and is a member of the State Bar of Arizona's Technology Committee. Benezra lives in Phoenix with his wife, Allison, who is also an ASU alum.

Alexandra M. De La Paz ’03 B.S. is a Leadership Development Coordinator at Amazon. While a student, De La Paz was active in Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, traveled abroad with the W. P. Carey School of Business as an International Business Seminar Scholar and was the recipient of the ASU Maroon & Gold and Hispanic Business Alumni scholarships.  De La Paz serves as the current vice president of communications for the Alpha Kappa Psi Phoenix alumni chapter, and has served as the organization’s president and treasurer. Her volunteer portfolio includes community service with Junior Achievement of Arizona and St. Vincent de Paul.

Dan Killoren ’06 B.A., ’11 Ph.D. is a research analyst at Salt River Project. While a student at ASU, he helped to launch GlobalResolve, a sustainable entrepreneurship program in the College of Technology and Innovation, and traveled to Ghana three times to work directly on development projects. Killoren also was involved in the Edison Student Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Barrett Summer Scholars program. While living in Ohio, Killoren helped launch a connection group for the ASU Alumni Association and also co-organized the first Pat’s Run “shadow run” in the state.

Alec Esteban Thomson ’11 B.A. is the director of programs and operations for the Arizona-Mexico Commission in the Arizona Office of the Governor.  Thomson recently was appointed by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to serve on the board of directors for Phoenix Sister Cities. He is on the executive board for the Leadership Scholarship Program alumni chapter and is vice president of the LGBT Devils’ Pride alumni chapter.

Billy Watson ’11 B.S., ’11 B.A. is a financial analyst with LMI Solutions. He previously worked as an investment banking intern with Columbia West Capital LLC and an operations/accounting intern for the ASU Alumni Association. While he was earning his degrees in finance and political science at ASU, he served as the president of Sigma Chi fraternity and president of the Intrafraternity Council, and as director of membership for the College Republicans organization. Watson also served as a senator for the Undergraduate Student Senate.  

The new council members and officers join current council members Sara Agne ’04 B.A.; Tim Agne ’04 B.A.; Jessica Aguilar ’10 B.A.; Saif Al-Alawi ’05 B.A.; Teniqua Broughton ’00 B.I.S., ’05 M.Ed.; Alexander Clark ’10 B.A.; Meghan Cox ’07 B.A.; Meghan Dorn ’02 B.I.S.; Matt Gervin ’01 B.S.; Brandon Goad ’04 B.A.; Kurtis Hingston ’09 B.S.; Ashley Irvin ’07 B.A., ’09 M.Ed.; Christopher Lee ’10 B.A.; Arlene Miramon ’06 B.S.; John Mitman ’10 B.S.; Oquendo Perez ’06 B.I.S.; Michelle Pishkur ’04 B.A.; Jessica Taylor White ’05 B.A.;  and Tara Trzinski ’05 B.S.

For additional information on the Arizona State Young Alumni program, visit

Sustainability alum named to Phoenix '40 Under 40'

June 26, 2012

Colin Tetreault is not one to sit around and wait for something to do. He’s the senior policy advisor for sustainability at the Phoenix Mayor’s office. He’s a faculty associate with ASU’s School of Sustainability. He’s the inaugural president of the school’s alumni chapter, having earned his master’s here in 2010. He is secretary of the board for the Greater Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Valley Forward Association.

Perhaps more telling of his bustling nature, Tetreault managed in one weekend to squeeze in his wedding rehearsal, a presentation at TEDxPhoenix, his rehearsal dinner, his wedding, and an Ironman Triathlon. man standing onstage Download Full Image

It’s fitting that the dynamic Tetreault, dressed in suit and green tie, graced the cover of the Phoenix Business Journal’s special 40 Under 40 superhero section.

ASU’s Tetreault joins the "40 Under 40" class in the journal's 12th year of honoring extraordinary individuals serving the metropolitan community.

In January 2012, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton appointed Tetreault as his senior policy advisor for sustainability. As Stanton’s advisor, he is responsible for overseeing and advising the creation of all policy related to sustainability for the City of Phoenix.

Tetreault envisions a community-based sustainability advisory committee, sustainable internal operations for the city, and converting vacant lots into “living, learning laboratories” in the form of green space.

Tetreault’s holistic view of sustainability provides him advanced decision-making skills for his mayoral appointment.
“Sustainability is about more than just one narrowly defined field of work,” he says. “By incorporating the many aspects, backgrounds, viewpoints and opportunities around us, we can better craft a shared vision that provides for a great economic environment, a great place to live, and a beautiful environment in which to enjoy it.”

Tetreault’s fusion of business and environment comes from his experiences as a student and faculty member in ASU’s School of Sustainability.

“The School of Sustainability and ASU have grounded me in the impactful science of sustainability, challenged me to incorporate the numerous viewpoints and values of constituents and stakeholders, and given me the capacity to execute programs focused on benefiting the greater good,” says Tetreault.

“As a faculty member," he says, "I challenge students to find creative and equitable solutions to complex sustainability challenges within the business world."

Michelle Schwartz

Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability


Alumni Association welcomes new students with Sun Devil Send-Offs series

June 25, 2012

The ASU Alumni Association will partner with Sun Devil alumni and families to welcome Arizona State University’s incoming freshmen and transfer students at a series of Sun Devil Send-Offs, to be held at locations across the United States this summer.

Send-Offs offer a casual, relaxed setting for new and returning members of the ASU community to meet each other. They provide a personal welcome to ASU for students and their families, as well as opportunities to connect with ASU alumni and continuing students. New students are encouraged to ask questions about life at ASU, share their concerns and excitement, and socialize with other students from their home area. San Diego Sun Devil Send-Off 2011 Download Full Image

ASU students who have attended previous Send-Offs give them high marks for helping them prepare for their time at the university.

"I really liked getting to meet other new students who live in the same state and area that I do,” said Cami Samuels, a broadcast journalism major who attended a Send-Off in Portland, Ore. “I think it is really helpful to know them going into the school year, and we all exchanged phone numbers and info so we can stay in contact.”

Jaime Watson, a political science major from Tucson, said, “I loved meeting the alumni and hearing about their experiences at ASU and gaining advice from them."

More than 30 Sun Devil Send-Offs are planned for 2012.

2012 Sun Devil Send-Offs Dates and Locations:
• June 23 – Denver
• June 24 – Atlanta
• June 24 – Indianapolis
• July 7 – Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
• July 12 – Yuma, Ariz.
• July 14 – Las Vegas
• July 14 – Orange County/Newport Beach, Calif.
• July 14 – New York
• July 14 – Pinetop/Lakeside, Ariz.
• July 15 – Washington, D.C.
• July 21 – Boise, Idaho
• July 21 – Chicago
• July 21 – Idaho Falls, Idaho
• July 21 – Orange County/Ladera Ranch, Calif.
• July 21 – San Diego
• July 22 – Houston
• July 22 – Madison, Wisc.
• July 24 – Los Angeles/Westlake Village
• July 24 – Philadelphia
• July 26 – Los Angeles/El Segundo
• July 28 – Albuquerque, N.M.
• July 28 – Austin, Texas
• July 28 – Charlotte, N.C.
• July 28 – Columbus, Ohio
• July 28 – Portland, Ore.
• July 29 – Los Angeles/Arcadia
• July 29 – Pittsburgh
• July 29 – St. Louis
• July 29 – Tucson, Ariz.
• Aug. 4 – Salt Lake City, Utah
• Aug. 4 – Bend, Ore.
• Aug. 5 – New England/Cambridge, Mass.

To learn more, or to register a student for a Sun Devil Send-Off, visit

Sun Devil's car wrapped in ASU pride thanks to Alumni Association

June 20, 2012

ASU Alumni Association life member Kegan Remington recently received a complimentary car wrap featuring Sun Devil and ASU-themed images. He was the winner of the ASU Alumni Association’s vehicle-wrap contest essay contest this spring, and his vehicle was wrapped by Cortez Vehicle Wrap and Design. Remington is an instructional technology analyst for ASU’s School of Life Sciences.

In his essay, Remington mentioned that he and his wife met in college on the field of Sun Devil Stadium during half time at a football game while both participated in the ASU Marching Band. At Remington’s wedding Sparky made an appearance as ring bearer. Both Remington and wife Meghan work for ASU and share Sun Devil spirit wherever they go. Congratulations Kegan! ASU car wrap Download Full Image