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Julie Ann Wrigley creates new sustainability scholarship


School of Sustainability graduate Farren Hinton walks at convocation

Farren Hinton, graduating with a master's degree in sustainability leadership, walks across the stage at the School of Sustainability convocation on May 10, 2018. Photo by Summer Sorg/ASU Now

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July 05, 2018

Julie Ann Wrigley isn’t one just to talk about what needs to happen in society. She takes action. At Arizona State University alone, Wrigley has invested more than $50 million dollars in something she believes deeply in: sustainability.

Without Wrigley’s investments in ASU, the university wouldn’t be the leader in sustainability that it is today. Her philanthropy at the university started in 2004, when she joined ASU President Michael M. Crow at a pivotal retreat where many of the world’s sustainability leaders discussed challenges facing our planet and what a university could do to address them. At this retreat, the vision for an interdisciplinary sustainability institute was born.

Wrigley helped make this vision a reality with an initial gift of $15 million dollars. In doing so, she became the co-founder of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, a dynamic hub of research, education and solutions. After Wrigley invested another $25 million in the institute, it was renamed after her in 2014.

With the institute grew the nation’s first and best School of Sustainability, established on ASU’s Tempe campus. Wrigley gifted $10 million dollars so that ASU could recruit the world’s top sustainability scholar-researchers to teach at the school, providing students with an exceptional education in a budding and urgently needed field. Since the school's 2007 launch, 1,234 students have graduated with sustainability degrees at ASU. That’s 1,234 more leaders who are helping the world navigate an uncertain future in ways that are healthy for the planet and its people.

Even after investing so generously — not just financially but also by giving her time and her talents — Wrigley isn’t done investing in students and in the planet’s future. With a matching investment from President Crow, Wrigley just created a new scholarship for students enrolled in the School of Sustainability: the Rob Melnick Scholarship in Sustainability Solutions, named in honor of Professor Melnick’s 10 years of leadership and service to the ASU Wrigley Institute and the university.

“One of the great privileges of my job is that I get to work with leaders who give of their time and resources to help solve society’s biggest problems, and few match the commitment of Julie Ann Wrigley,” said Crow. “Few match her energy, her passion, her dedication to the issues we address in the Global Institute of Sustainability. Perhaps most importantly, few engage as generously with our students as Julie does. She’s an outstanding partner in important work.”

Wrigley’s new scholarship in Melnick’s name will be awarded to an ASU School of Sustainability student each year to support an education, research or service activity that prepares them to address a specific sustainability challenge.

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