The annual ASU Founders' Day ceremony highlights the efforts of game-changing faculty members, distinguished alumni and, for the 1st time, a philanthropic organization
In front of a sold-out crowd of 800 community leaders, business executives and ASU alumni on March 20, the 2019 Founders’ Day celebrated the founding of the institution by honoring ASU alumni, faculty members and a charitable trust for distinguished achievements.
The awards ceremony, hosted by the ASU Alumni Association, has been a signature event for the university for decades and recognizes individuals who exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School of Arizona, ASU’s predecessor institution.
For the first time, ASU this year honored an organization as its Founders’ Day Philanthropist of the Year. Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust embodies the core values of its founder and of the New American University. Piper Charitable Trust gifts to the university have included ASU’s Infant Child Research program, with specialized training for teachers of at-risk preschoolers; the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, a vibrant hub for writers; the Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics, which focuses on the prevention and early detection of disease; and the new Knowledge Exchange for Resilience, which will equip communities to overcome social and economic stress.
Sparky strikes a pose with the recipients of the 2019 Founders' Day awards and other distinguished guests and presenters.Photo by Tim Trumble
ASU Alumni Association President and CEO Christine K. Wilkinson welcomes the guests at the 2019 Founders' Day ceremony on March 20.Photo by Tim Trumble
Sky Kurtz, founder and CEO of Pure Harvest Smart Farms in Abu Dhabi and a 2004 graduate in finance, received the 2019 Young Alumni Achievement award.Photo by Tim Trumble
Denise Resnik, a 1982 graduate in general business administration, is the founder and CEO of DRA Collective, an award-winning public relations, marketing and communications agency. Resnik won this year's Alumni Achievement award.Photo by Tim Trumble
(From left) Chair of the Founders' Day committee Rick Dircks, Wilkinson, Anne Jones and Ian Gould of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ School of Molecular Sciences, and ASU President Michael Crow. Jones and Gould were jointly awarded the Faculty Teaching Achievement award for an innovative new approach to pre-med education.Photo by Joshua Spaulding
(From left) Dircks, Wilkinson and Crow gather to honor Faculty Service Achievement award winner Associate Professor Erika Camacho.Photo by Joshua Spaulding
Representatives from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust appear onstage with President Crow. This year marked the first time the Philanthropist of the Year award went to an organization.Photo by Joshua Spaulding
Dircks, Wilkinson and Crow congratulate Faculty Research and Creativity Achievement Award honoree, poet Natalie Diaz, a 2018 MacArthur “genius” grantee, the current Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, and an associate professor of creative writing in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Department of English.Photo by Joshua Spaulding
Hundreds of attendees enjoyed the festivities at Founders' Day on March 20.Photo by Joshua Spaulding
This year's award recipients:
Faculty Research and Creativity Achievement Award: Natalie Diaz
Faculty Service Achievement Award: Erika Camacho
Young Alumni Achievement Award: Sky Kurtz
Alumni Achievement Award: Denise D. Resnik
Philanthropists of the Year Award: Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
Top photo: Christine Wilkinson addresses the assembled alumni and community members at the 2019 Founders' Day ceremony. Photo by Tim Trumble