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ASU Foundation appoints noteworthy alumni to its board of directors

February 17, 2020

Arizona State University alumni Lauren E. Bailey (’02) and Tony B. Sarsam (’85) have joined the board of directors of the ASU Foundation, a subsidiary of the nonprofit ASU Enterprise Partners.

“We are thrilled to have Lauren and Tony join our board,” said Gretchen Buhlig, CEO of the ASU Foundation. “Lauren is a young entrepreneur who, in a short time, has built and sustained a highly successful company, Upward Projects. She is the first person on our board to have graduated from ASU as a New American University, and we know she will bring an important new voice and perspective to her service.

“Tony brings a wealth of experience as a widely admired executive in the Dallas area. His roots at ASU run deep; he not only is an alumnus with a long history of service to ASU, but also is the father of current Sun Devils,” Buhlig said. “We look forward to working with Lauren and Tony to continue building and sustaining a culture of philanthropy at ASU.”

The ASU Foundation is a private nonprofit that raises private contributions on behalf of ASU students and faculty, and its research enterprise. Fueled by ASU donors, the Foundation has experienced record-breaking fundraising success year over year. With each successful fundraising year, the Foundation enables ASU to continue its ascent as a global leader in academic excellence and accessibility, interdisciplinary research and social embeddedness.

Lauren E. Bailey

The ASU Foundation board of directors establishes the policies and annual goals for the Foundation and oversees management of ASU’s endowment and investments.

As CEO and co-founder of Upward Projects, Bailey brings a record of innovation and entrepreneurship to the board. The Phoenix-based company oversees five restaurant concepts — Postino, Joyride Taco House, Federal Pizza, Windsor and Churn — and operates 12 restaurants in Arizona, Colorado and Texas.

Throughout her career, Bailey has earned accolades for her entrepreneurial skills. She has been recognized as a 2018 Phoenix Magazine “40 Under 40,” a 2014 Phoenix Business Journal “40 Under 40” and an Arizona Republic “35 Entrepreneurs 35 & Younger” in 2013.

In 2014, the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame named her Restaurateur of the Year, and in 2015, the Phoenix Business Journal selected her as an Outstanding Women in Business honoree.

Bailey already serves on the Foundation’s Next Generation Council, which is composed of alumni of the millennial generation who share their unique perspectives on fundraising with board members. Her commitment to higher education includes serving as an advisory board member for the Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University.

Sarsam has long served as an executive and leader within the food industry. Since 2018, he has held the position of CEO of Borden Dairy Company. Prior to that, he was CEO of Ready Pac Foods Inc. and an executive for Nestle and PepsiCo Inc.

Sarsam has been recognized for excellence in the course of his distinguished career. In 2019, the Dallas Business Journal named him one of the Most Admired CEOs in North Texas.

Tony Sarsam

Tony B. Sarsam

ASU roots run deep in Sarsam’s family. As a student in the 1980s, he served in the ASU Student Government and the Sun Devil Band. His wife, Judy, received a BS in accountancy from ASU in 1983.

Their daughters are currently students at ASU. Kamila is an undergraduate student studying supply chain management and computer information systems in the W. P. Carey School of Business, and Karissa is an undergraduate student studying secondary education (biological sciences) in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. The Sarsams care for several other children in addition to their two daughters, one of which, Juliana Enriquez, is an undergraduate student studying health care coordination at the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Over the years, Sarsam has maintained strong ties to ASU. He is a member of the ASU President’s Club, a group of supporters who contribute intellectual and financial resources to advance initiatives of the ASU president, as well as the Industry Engagement Catalyst in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“Both Lauren and Tony bring a unique skill set and life experiences to our board, and we’re eager to hear their perspectives and share in their knowledge,” Buhlig said. “But most of all, they bring a shared love of and belief in ASU’s mission that will help drive the university forward.”

The ASU Foundation for A New American University is a private, nonprofit organization that raises and manages private contributions to support the work of ASU. It is one of five affiliated organizations that make up ASU Enterprise Partners, an innovative organizational model designed to generate resources to meet the needs of ASU. 

Written by Melissa Bordow

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