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ASU's year in review 2017

December 21, 2017

A roundup of some of the university's top stories, milestones and triumphs

There was no shortage of changes for the nation and Arizona State University in 2017. In a year that celebrated the 15th anniversary of the New American University, the faculty, staff and students have made advancements in many fields of research, formed new partnerships and found innovative ways to help the communities they serve.

Related: Photos of the year from Charlie Leight and Deanna Dent and top 2017 video stories from Ken Fagan.

Here are some of the top stories of 2017:


ASU researchers and scientists were busy this year, with new findings in many fields, including tuberculosis testing, the effects of divorce and autism treatment. Not to mention a thumbs-up on a NASA mission.


From the 15th anniversary of the New American University to a startup idea for easier parking around campus, the faculty, staff and students at ASU sought out ways to better their world.


The creative juices were flowing for ASU in 2017: 3-D printing classes, a film production employing students on the Tempe campus and a movie star's ceramics show are just a sampling.


ASU's entrepreneurial spirit got a shot in the arm in 2017 from some big-name campus visitors, high-profile appearances for Arizona-based inventors and a heck of a lot of patents.

Global Engagement

Partnerships with China, work in developing countries and a slew of international scholars — both home and abroad — led ASU's contributions to the world stage in 2017.

Arizona Impact

Students, faculty and administrators were deeply entrenched in Arizona-centric projects this year, including launching a program to shore up numbers of Arizona K-12 teachers, designing a shadier bus stop shelter for Valley Metro and optimizing the use of the Salt River bed.

Sun Devil Life

It was an eventful 2017 for past and present Sun Devils alike: an innovative new residence hall opened its doors, a magazine for Native American students launched and ASU football mourned one legend and enshrined another.

ASU News

ASU was in the headlines this year for some grade-A excitement: a record number of incoming Arizona freshmen, a global partnership with adidas, another school making its way downtown, and a threepeat in innovation rankings.

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Year in pictures: Charlie Leight

December 22, 2017

The gift of photography is its ability to capture a moment, take it outside its boundaries and expand it for observers in other locations and time. These pictures capture snippets of times and events from the 2017 history of Arizona State University and deliver them to you on your computer, tablet or phone, at your convenience. It has been my incredible privilege to bring them to you. These moments tell the story of the rich Sun Devil life: the research, innovation, leaders, successes, inspiration and victories.

These images are for you, so that you, too, may be a witness to the moments. Discover research that observes life on the Earth’s surface, overhead and way beyond. Find out about the people who gave their time, their capital and their lives to take us into the future. And share the times that made us feel great about living the Sun Devil life.

AZLoop at SpaceX

Elon Musk threw down the gauntlet: create a prototype of a high-speed carrier that will transport people and cargo at more than 700 miles per hour to connect cities and regions around the world. ASU accepted the challenge.

We told the stories of the more than 100 students — from ASU, the ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff — who designed, built and tested their entry for the SpaceX Hyperloop II Pod Competition. It took the students thousands of hours and many sleepless nights to build the high-speed pod. The singular objective: build and test the fastest vehicle.

AZLoop finished in the top eight out of 35 teams in the second hyperloop competition sponsored by SpaceX.

After a grueling week of technical reviews and track tests, only three teams earned the honor of propelling their pods down vacuum-encased I-beam track at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Five teams, including AZLoop, were unable to compete in the final round of testing due to lack of daylight and not enough time for all eight teams to complete trial runs in the SpaceX tube.

Knowing their vehicle is able to compete at the highest levels, AZLoop is more than ready to take up the gauntlet again at next year’s Hyperloop III. See their journey so far in the photos below.

Charlie Leight

Senior photojournalist , ASU Now