Campaign ASU 2020: The basics

Learn the ins and outs of a fundraising campaign as ASU seeks to transform lives

February 7, 2017

In late January, Arizona State University publicly launched Campaign ASU 2020, a $1.5 billion campus-wide fundraising effort. We asked experts at the ASU Foundation, the non-profit organization that raises and invests private contributions to ASU, exactly what that means.

Question: What is a comprehensive campaign? Campaign ASU 2020 banner Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now Download Full Image

Rick Shangraw, chief executive officer: A comprehensive campaign is a chance for an organization to look across everything it does and put it all into a shared vision so that it can reach out to its community and to its friends to find ways to advance the institution.

Here, at ASU, Campaign ASU 2020 is designed to do just that.

Q: Why does a public university need private support?

Gretchen Buhlig, chief operating officer and managing director: Private support is not a replacement for a university’s other sources of revenue. Rather, it provides wonderful enrichment opportunities for students to transform their college experiences from good to great.

An example is a donor who provides a student the opportunity to study abroad: It provides not only a meaningful experience for the student, but the student can positively impact the community he or she is in.

Q: What areas does the campaign support?

Shad Hanselman, assistant vice president, Development Advancement: Campaign ASU 2020 supports a vast array programs, projects, and people that impact ASU’s efforts in the classroom, on the field, in the community and around the world.

Q: When did Campaign ASU 2020 begin?

Josh Friedman, chief development officer, Development Leadership: Our campaign began on July 1, 2010, at a time when ASU was contemplating many efforts that would require philanthropy to really help them reach the level we envisioned — from moving our law school downtown to dramatic improvements to ASU Gammage to huge, significant changes to Sun Devil Athletics and their facilities.

All of these require additional fundraising beyond what we were already doing, so a campaign was born.

Note: Campaign ASU 2020 was publicly launched Jan. 27, 2017. The university secured $1 billion in new gifts and commitments to advance ASU during the campaign’s pre-launch phase, which began in fiscal year 2011.

Q: Do all gifts count toward Campaign ASU 2020?

Andrew Carey, executive director, Campaign ASU 2020: All gifts to ASU — whether for a scholarship, faculty, research, equipment or any other program — count toward our goal of raising at least $1.5 billion by the year 2020.

Q: Will gifts made to the university be immediately available?

Buhlig: In donating to the university, donors can make a gift for immediate use or one that enables the success of the university to exceed their lifetimes. Non-endowed gifts provide immediate impact wherever a donor so chooses; endowed gifts are to ensure the long-term perpetuity of the success of the university. Both are essential and critical to the success of Campaign ASU 2020.

Q: How do you measure the success of a gift?

Friedman: Measuring success through philanthropy is crucial for the donor to know that they are achieving what they hope and for the institution to know that we are working to have the impact we need.

Some things are easy to measure, like scholarship dollars. Some things, like fundamentally transforming society or creating pathways to K-20 education, are bigger, harder and bolder — but that is what I’m most excited about. Those are the kinds of challenges ASU takes on. Those are the kinds of challenges our donors are most interested in. Here, we work together as partners on how we will measure that impact and what success looks like.

Q: How can I get involved?

Hanselman: The best way to get involved is to visit, make a gift to support something you are passionate about and share why you gave with your friends, family and fellow Sun Devils.

Q: If I make a gift, how can I be sure my financial information is safe?

Shangraw: Donor privacy and security is of paramount concern to us at Arizona State University:

  • We have a team of dedicated security professionals who work on our systems every day to make sure they’re safe and protected from intrusion.
  • We have encryption programs that allows us to store information in a way that is difficult to access.
  • When we transmit data, which we primarily do internally, we do it in a secure way.
  • We have a precise record retention policy so that we only maintain those records that are necessary.
  • Finally, we maintain a careful system to adhere to the wishes of our donors as to if they want their information public or not.


To learn more about Campaign ASU 2020, please visit

ASU professors encourage alumna to pursue new career path

February 8, 2017

Driven by a desire to embody the faculty at Arizona State University, alumna Lynn Vavreck seeks to inspire her students to chase opportunity and excel professionally. 

“One of the things I like about being a college professor is I get to have one-on-one dealings with young people in a way that I can make their lives better … their careers better,” said Vavreck, full professor of political science and communication studies at University of California, Los Angeles. “There are hardly any other more rewarding moments for a faculty member.” Arizona State University alumna Lynn Vavreck Alumna Lynn Vavreck was inspired by the political science faculty at Arizona State University to pursue a doctorate degree and become a professor of political science to help make students' lives and careers better. Download Full Image

In 1990, Vavreck graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a plan to attend law school. On the first day of orientation, Vavreck said she realized law school wasn’t the right fit and instead wanted to get a doctoral degree in political science.

“I didn’t know that much about being an attorney,” Vavreck said. “I missed thinking about political science. I had taken a couple graduate courses as an undergraduate so I read a lot of the research and it just hit me that I actually liked the political science research a lot and I thought I had a knack for it.”

Since she hadn’t applied to any PhD programs, Vavreck enrolled in the master’s program at ASU. She worked with the political science professors who had opened up their graduate courses to her as an undergraduate: John Geer, current professor at Vanderbilt University; Pat Kenney, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Kim Fridkin, professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies; and Richard Herrera, associate professor and associate director of the School of Politics and Global Studies.

“I absolutely would not have been on this career path if it wasn’t for the faculty members I encountered in my political sciences classes at ASU,” Vavreck said. “I didn’t come to college thinking I wanted to be a college professor. Those people literally changed my entire life. There’s no doubt about it.”

In 1992, Vavreck earned her doctorate from the University of Rochester in Western New York. She completed a post-doc at Princeton University and became an assistant professor at Dartmouth College, where she worked for three years. In 2001, Vavreck became a professor at UCLA. She received tenure in 2009, and she was promoted to full professor in 2012.

“One of the best things about my job is I get to be creative and analytical at the same time. I get to write, but I also get to do a lot of data analysis,” Vavreck said. “This is a great career for being able to use both sides of your brain.”

Vavreck teaches and writes about campaigns, elections and public opinion. She won the 2015 Andrew F. Carnegie Fellowship in the humanities and social sciences, which supports research on challenges to democracy and international order. Vavreck is an author of four books, including “The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election” (with John Sides). Currently, she is on sabbatical dedicating a year to writing a book on the 2016 presidential election.

“The whole idea behind these election books was for social science to enter the conversation with journalists about writing the elections into history,” Vavreck said. “In 2016, we hope to tell the story of why and how identity politics became the driving force behind the 2016 election.”

Vavreck is also a regular contributor to The Upshot at the New York Times — a straight-forward, data-driven approach to questions about politics, health, daily life and more. She writes a piece twice a month on campaigns, elections and public opinion. 

“I was absolutely thrilled to join the writing team,” Vavreck said. “It’s one of the highlights of my professional career. It’s hard but I love doing it.”

In the last 10 years of her career, Vavreck said her leadership experience as part of the Key Club Leadership Scholarship Program, Devils' Advocates and the Greek system at ASU unequivocally set her up for success as a tenured and full professor, especially in dealing with the wider university.

“You never know where good opportunities will come from so you have to be open to lots and lots of possibilities,” Vavreck said. “You have to walk through a lot of doors, even the ones you don’t think will lead anywhere, because you never know where inspiration, good ideas or the next opportunity will come from. Then just commit and work really hard. That’s the key to continued success I think.” 

Amanda Stoneman

Senior Marketing Content Specialist, EdPlus