Skip to main content

ASU Alumni Association honors 130 years of excellence at Founders’ Day event


The ASU Alumni Association is celebrating 130 years of growth, innovation and excellence at ASU at its annual Founders' Day Awards Dinner, Feb. 3.

January 11, 2016

The Arizona State University Alumni Association will honor alumni, faculty and university supporters who have fostered 130 years of growth, innovation and excellence at ASU, and the evolution of the institution into the New American University, at its annual Founders’ Day Awards Dinner, slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix.

The award ceremony has been a signature event for the university for decades, and honors individuals who exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School of Arizona, ASU’s predecessor institution, which received its charter from the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature on March 7, 1885. As part of the celebration, ASU President Michael M. Crow will provide an update on the university.


The following individuals will be honored by the Alumni Association at the Founders’ Day event.

Faculty Achievement Awards

Faculty Achievement Research Award
Charles Arntzen, Regents’ Professor, Biodesign Institute Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology; Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Chair, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Charles Arntzen is being honored at Founders’ Day for his revolutionary work in the use of plant-made pharmaceuticals, particularly vaccines. His leadership role in developing ZMapp, a therapeutic vaccine produced in tobacco to fight Ebola, led to him being chosen last year as the No. 1 honoree among Fast Company’s annual list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. His primary research interests are in plant molecular biology and protein engineering, as well as the utilization of plant biotechnology for enhancement of food quality and value, and for overcoming health and agricultural constraints in the developing world. Arntzen has been recognized as a pioneer in the development of plant-based vaccines for human disease prevention (with special emphasis on the needs of poor countries) and for disease prevention in animal agriculture.

After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plant physiology from the University of Minnesota, Arntzen received his doctoral degree in cell physiology from Purdue University. In addition to holding academic/research positions at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University, he also worked for DuPont in biotechnology research and was appointed dean and deputy chancellor for agriculture at Texas A&M University. From 1995 to 2000, Arntzen served as president and CEO of the Boyce Thompson Institute, a nonprofit corporation affiliated with Cornell University. He arrived at Arizona State University in 2000, and in 2004 was named a Regents’ Professor.

Arntzen was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1983 and to the National Academy of Sciences in India the following year. He is a fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science and also of the American Society of Plant Biologists. In 2001, he was appointed as a member of President George W. Bush's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and in 2004, he was appointed by the president to serve on the National Nanotechnology Oversight Board.

Faculty Achievement Service Award
Josephine Peyton Marsh, associate professor, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College; professor-in-residence, Arizona State University Preparatory Academy – Phoenix

Josephine Peyton Marsh is being honored at Founders’ Day for her service work to ASU, her contributions to the field of literacy education, and her work at ASU Preparatory Academy. For the past five years, Marsh has served as the professor-in-residence at ASU Preparatory Academy (ASU Prep), a K-12 public charter school district sponsored by ASU. In this role, she works with ASU Prep administrators, teachers, and students to create supportive literacy and learning environments that also are rigorous academically for K-12 students from a wide range of backgrounds. She conducts ‘just-in-time” literacy professional development with teachers, and uses ethnographic and action research methods to build knowledge about instructional methods and about the school transformation process.  

Her work at ASU Prep informs her graduate literacy education teaching, and supervision of graduate students. As part of her work in the teachers college, she has supervised a number of graduate research assistants who work with her to investigate the processes, initiatives, and social interactions that transform learning at ASU Prep. She also has chaired the dissertation committees of numerous students.

Marsh has been published in professional journals and in books, and served on editorial boards for a variety of professional journals, including the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Reading Research Quarterly, and the Journal of Literacy Research. She has presented at conferences held by the Literacy Research Association and the International Literacy Association, among others. At ASU, she has served as a college administrator and has taken on many service activities, including chairing the Learning, Literacies, and Technology Ph.D. Program Committee, a secondary education task force, and faculty search committees. She served as the faculty advisor for the college’s language and literacy conference, and participated in the college personnel committee and the college grievance committee.

In recognition for her efforts, Marsh received the Outstanding Integration of Scholarship with Teaching Award from the teachers college in 2014. She has been honored with the Golden Bell Award from the Arizona School Boards Association and the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award from the teachers college.

She received a bachelor’s degree in education-psychology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, then earned master’s and doctoral degrees in reading education from the University of West Florida and the University of Georgia, respectively. She joined the faculty of ASU in 1998 in the curriculum and instruction division of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Faculty Achievement Teaching Award
Wendy Hultsman, director of undergraduate programs and associate professor, School of Community Resources and Development, College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Wendy Hultsman is being honored at Founders’ Day for her innovative contributions as a teacher in the School of Community Resources and Development. Hultsman has been on the Arizona State University faculty for more than 20 years. She has been an instructor for classes on special event management, recreation planning and facilities management, commercial recreation, team building strategies for recreation programming, and many others. She has been instrumental in the development of a minor/concentration and an undergraduate certificate in special events management.

Her students frequently praise Hultsman’s hands-on approach to learning, and she describes herself as someone who avidly goes beyond being a “4 x 2” teacher (four walls of the classroom and two covers of a book). Her special event management students have played key roles in the execution of the city of Glendale's Sinister Sinema (haunted house) event, and have been producers of the ASU Holiday village that is part of the city of Phoenix APS Fiesta of Light Parade's Friday night festivities.

She has served as editor and associate editor of Schole Journal, the official refereed publication of the National Recreation and Park Association. She also has been president of the Arizona Festivals and Events Association. She is the co-author of the textbook “Planning Parks for People,” and author of the books “Woodall’s Guide to Recreation Activities” and “Outside the Classroom Window.”

In 2012, she received the Outstanding Partnership Award from the Arizona Festivals and Events Association, and in 2011, she was honored with an Outstanding Teaching Award from the School of Community Resources and Development. That same year, she received a Silver Medal Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals and Events Association for the development of ASU’s certificate in special events management. She also received the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service from Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. 

Hultsman received her bachelor’s degree in physical education from the State University of New York at Cortland, then earned a master’s degree in parks and recreation administration from Indiana University, and a doctoral degree in recreation and parks from Pennsylvania State University.

Alumni Achievement Awards

Young Alumni Achievement Award
Courtney Klein ’05 B.I.S., ’10 M.Np.S., co-founder and CEO, SEED SPOT

Courtney Klein is being honored at Founders’ Day for her work facilitating the ventures of individuals, located in the Valley of the Sun as well as around the globe, who desire to resolve social challenges with innovative ideas and approaches.

Klein received her bachelor’s degree at ASU in 2005, and shortly thereafter launched New Global Citizens, a nonprofit that empowers young people to create social change. The organization has partnered with organizations in 33 countries and served more than 10,000 young people. She also served as the director of strategic planning and development at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and completed a course with the United Nations UPEACE Centre for Executive Education in designing for social innovation and leadership. She created SEED SPOT in 2012 to educate, accelerate, and invest in entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to social problems. The nonprofit focuses on creating a community around social entrepreneurs and equipping them with the funding, mentorship and training to successfully launch and sustain their organizations. To date, it has accelerated the dreams of more than 160 social entrepreneurs, and has been named one of the top three social impact incubators in the United States by UBI Global and Cisco.

Klein has been profiled by Forbes, the Huffington Post and other national news outlets for her work supporting the dreams of entrepreneurs. She recently was named a finalist in the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2015 Businessperson of the Year contest. She has spoken to corporate, academic, and entrepreneurial audiences around the world about her journey as an entrepreneur, including the SXSW Conference in 2015. In 2013, the Phoenix Business Journal named Ms. Klein as one of its “25 Most Dynamic Women in Business” and Splashlife Magazine recognized her in 2011 as one of the nation’s top 30 civic leaders under 30. BizAZ Magazine named her to its list of top 35 local entrepreneurs under the age of 35 in 2008. She has served on the boards of directors for many nonprofit organizations.

Alumni Achievement Award
Derrick Hall '91 B.S., president and CEO, Arizona Diamondbacks

Derrick Hall is being honored at Founders' Day for his leadership role in building the Valley's Major League Baseball team into a strong and vibrant franchise, as well as his contributions to the Phoenix community and Arizona State University.

Hall received a bachelor's degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1991. He spent parts of 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, joining the organization's minor-league affiliate in Vero Beach, Fla., as an intern in 1992 and departing as the club's senior vice president for communications in 2004.

The unique corporate culture of the Diamondbacks, which was created by Hall after arriving in 2004, led Yahoo! to deem the club as "the best workplace in sports.” The company has accumulated a number of honors under his leadership, including Make-A-Wish Foundation's Chris Greicius Award (2014), the Phoenix Indian Center's Leon Grant Spirit of the Community Award (2014), Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce IMPACT Award — Community Champion (2013), and the City of Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department Excellence Award.

Hall’s leadership has guided the Diamondbacks to two National League West Championships in 2007 and 2011, and one National League Championship Series Championship in 2007. He oversaw development of the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, a 140-acre training facility shared with the Colorado Rockies. He also hired baseball veteran Tony La Russa in 2014 as the team’s first-ever Chief Baseball Officer.

In 2002, he was inducted into the Cronkite School Alumni Hall of Fame, and the following year, he was honored with the Young Alumni Achievement Award at the ASU Alumni Association's Founders' Day Awards. He serves on the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees and is a member of the W. P. Carey School of Business Dean's Council of 100.

Hall currently is associated with many boards in the Valley, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. He has chaired capital campaigns for the YMCA and the Phoenix Zoo, and is a lifetime member of The Thunderbirds.

His community contributions have led to his receiving the APS Peacemaker Award at Valle del Sol's Profiles of Success, the Bill Shover Leadership Award from United Blood Services and the Phoenix Award by the Phoenix Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 2013. He was the inaugural recipient of the Active 20-30 Club of Phoenix’s Goldwater Community Service Award in 2012.

The Philanthropists of the Year Award, presented by the ASU Foundation For A New American University

Cindy and Mike Watts, co-owners/co-founders, Sunstate Equipment

Cindy and Mike Watts are being honored at Founders' Day for their generous civic involvement and investment, a passion that began with their west Phoenix neighborhood of Maryvale and now extends to the Arizona State University community.

The Watts are co-founders and co-owners of Sunstate Equipment, a highly successful equipment rental company that began in 1977 in Arizona and has expanded to eight other states. They both grew up in Maryvale, where they met during a high school graduation ceremony. At the time, Maryvale was a newly developed suburb. However, like many ‘inner-ring’ suburbs, Maryvale began experiencing urban decline in the 1980s and '90s. To reverse this, the Watts made leadership gifts to the Maryvale YMCA and endowed the Center for Violence and Community Safety, an initiative of the university’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions, commissioning a study of the Maryvale Community. More recently they have gifted a generous amount to the Jewish Family & Children’s Services’ new Catalina Health Center, in their ongoing commitment to the community they grew up in.

At ASU, the couple has been engaged with the university since 1988 and are lifetime members of the ASU President's Club.  In October 2015, they made a transformative investment to name the Watts Center for Academic Excellence and Championship Life, an initiative within Sun Devil Athletics dedicated to the success of the university’s student-athletes. In addition to these ASU commitments, Cindy also has served as co-chair of the Women & Philanthropy program at the ASU Foundation for A New American University and currently serves as vice-chair of the Trustees of ASU, an advisory body for the university and ASU President Michael M. Crow.

The Watts are dedicated to using their resources, both financial and personal, to elevate the quality of life for all in our community and state.

Tickets to the Founders’ Day event are $150 for Alumni Association members and $200 for nonmembers. Table and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. For additional information about Founders’ Day, or to RSVP, visit alumni.asu.edu/foundersday.

More University news

 

Case family members perform at a concert to raise money for the James Case Scholarship.

College of Health Solutions scholarship honors speech and hearing professor

James Case loved teaching. Specifically, he loved helping develop future practitioners and teachers in the field of speech-…

February 23, 2024
Exterior of the Westward Ho, an iconic building in downtown Phoenix.

Charter Professor invests in the power of connection

Who do you call if you are feeling lonely, isolated or disconnected? A friend, family member or, if you are one of the residents…

February 22, 2024
An infographic showing headshots of the five recipients of the NCAA Men’s Final Four Phoenix 2024 Legends and Legacy Community award

5 ASU alumni receive NCAA Final Four community award

Five Arizona State University alumni have been named recipients of the NCAA Men’s Final Four Phoenix 2024 Legends and Legacy…

February 21, 2024