ASU director recognized with 2020 Gary Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Award

July 27, 2020

Al Boggess is the recipient of the 2020 Gary Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Award.

Boggess was selected by the deans in Arizona State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in recognition of eight highly successful years of service as director of the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.

"Al is so deserving of this award. He checks each of the criteria the Gary Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Award was meant to recognize, including having a broad and strategic vision for his school, the ability to adapt to challenge and move ideas into action, and a calm and effective presence that encouraged others to take risks and made him an exceptional advocate for his students, staff and faculty," said Nancy Gonzales, dean of natural sciences. "In addition, and what made him a natural choice, is that he does all of this selflessly and without concern for personal credit." Al Boggess - Director of the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Download Full Image

Al Boggess joined ASU in July 2012, after heading the department of mathematics at Texas A&M University from 2002 until 2011.

Andrew Bremner has been a mathematics professor in the school for many years, including back when Gary Krahenbuhl served as a dean.

“Al arrived in the School at a difficult time in its history, but with many years of administrative experience already to his record," Bremner said. "He immediately established himself at ASU as an effective leader and advocate for the school’s individual mission."

"Unassuming and modest, he appointed excellent school officers and created a leadership team that under his guidance has been responsible for the development of important institutional programs and growth of the school in general. He proves an excellent ambassador to The College administration across all levels of concern, a nontrivial achievement given the sometimes prevailing external view of the unit solely as a service department.

"He has received full support of the faculty and staff, and has been a great director. He is a most worthy recipient of the Gary Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Award.”

Don Jones, associate director for undergraduate programs, finds it difficult to say no to a request from Boggess.

"Al has a remarkable ability to create an environment of cooperation and of not wanting to disappoint. I think he enjoys solving the problems of the day, and this leads to a calm, productive, positive atmosphere in which people want to contribute to a larger cause," Jones said. "He trusts people to get things done. The creation of the new data science degree is a great example of that. The undergraduate committee was given free rein to create it. He doesn't micromanage — he outsources. His ability to bring people together is an intangible. It is the result of the work environment he created and his ability to get resources."

Boggess hired John Stufken to help build and strengthen the statistics group within the school.

"Al's unwavering and selfless support for statistics were instrumental in expanding the statistics group by recruiting outstanding faculty. I had worked as department head at the University of Georgia for 11 years prior to joining ASU, but still learned a lot from Al. He is truly an exemplary and effective leader," said Stufken, who is currently director of informatics and analytics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Jelena Milovanovic, actuarial science coordinator and professor of practice, believes that without Boggess' ability to recognize an opportunity and need for an actuarial science program at ASU, the school would not currently have a bachelor's and master's degree.

"His continual support, vision and understanding needed to grow the actuarial science program has ensured national recognition both academically and professionally," Milovanovic said. "Throughout the six-year journey of building a reputable actuarial program, Al has gained respect from the local insurance practitioners for his commitment to the profession and patience as we continue to work towards becoming a center of excellence."

Joe Davis, assistant director for academic services, says Boggess is always looking for ways to improve the experience for students, whether it's deep diving into curriculum, improving processes, or advocating for additional faculty.

“Dr. Boggess has been a tireless advocate for not just our own degree programs, but for all students taking mathematics classes at ASU," Davis said. "He always has an open ear and is willing to critically examine new methods of providing support for our students.”

Working closely as his assistant for the past five years, Melanie Smock knows how much Boggess values his staff.

"Dr. Boggess fully trusts, supports and empowers his staff," Smock said. "This results in staff not being afraid to suggest innovative ideas because they know he will not only listen, but encourage them to pursue their initiatives. He treats mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve."

As associate director of first-year mathematics and principal lecturer, Scott Surgent witnessed the transition when Boggess arrived from a traditional department to a full-fledged school of multiple programs, including not only mathematics and applied mathematics, but also actuarial science, statistics and mathematics education.

"Al came aboard just when we were beginning to develop our online program, and also when Knewton was first being tried, a radical new way to teach math at the lowest divisions. These were radical changes and not ones met gladly by everyone," Surgent said. "Our online went from zero to 100 mph in about two years. Enrollments went from the hundreds to the many thousands. The actuarial science program has grown tremendously, and our department has a much bigger footprint than it did in 2012.

"Al has always been a trustworthy leader. He always seems calm, cool and collected, never gets emotional and always seems to make the right choice. He never once has promoted his own agenda, and I honestly believe he makes decisions based on sound logic and what he feels is wisest for everyone involved. It's impossible to please everyone all the time, but he is successful at pleasing most people most of the time."

Rhonda Olson

Manager of Marketing and Communication, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences


Phoenix law firm gives ASU Law grads meaningful opportunities to work where they studied

July 27, 2020

Students in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University not only gain an exceptional experience at the nation’s No. 24-best law school, they have numerous opportunities to stay and work for prestigious firms right here in the Valley of the Sun.

Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C. is one of those firms. Among the largest and most distinguished law firms based in Arizona since its founding in 1942, Jennings Strouss is deeply rooted in the legal and business community, with its attorneys helping their growing list of clients succeed. photo of Jennings, Strouss & Salmon attorneys Long recognized as one of Arizona’s premier law firms, Jennings Strouss is one of the oldest, largest and most distinguished law firms in the state. The firm has hired more than 30 ASU Law graduates since the school opened. Download Full Image

“The founders of this firm established a tremendous legacy for us at Jennings Strouss,” said managing attorney John C. Norling. “And we strive and work very hard to maintain that and will continue to do that in the future as we look forward to our next 75 years, and the only way we’re going to be able to do that is by hiring talented people out of law schools such as ASU.”

With Arizona offices in Phoenix, Peoria and Tucson, and a Washington, D.C., office, Jennings Strouss is well known for its rich heritage, commitment to community and long-lasting relationships. Backed by a deep understanding of business and law, the firm’s experts dedicate themselves to partnering with clients to achieve practical, strategic legal solutions.

“I’ve only practiced here (at Jennings Strouss) and in this day and age that’s a pretty unusual situation,” said J. Scott Rhodes, chair of the firm’s Legal Ethics Group, and a 1995 ASU Law JD and adjunct professor. “I think the reason for that is because this firm values people for what they are and lets them become the best that they can be.”

Almost a quarter of Jennings Strouss attorneys are ASU Law graduates, Norling said, with six graduates hired in just the past year. “The firm has had a strong history of supporting the (ASU) college of law. We’re very fortunate to have a very innovative, highly ranked law school right down the street from us.”

Video by ASU Law featuring managing attorney John C. Norling and ASU Law Adjunct Professor J. Scott Rhodes of Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C., a Gold ‘n Gavel 2019 Law Firm Honoree

Consistently recognized as a top company to work for, Jennings Strouss has garnered several recent accolades including:

  • Named one of the 2020 “Top Companies to Work for in Arizona” for the fourth year in a row. And for a second year in a row, Jennings Strouss is the only law firm ranked in the medium-sized company category of 100-999 employees.
  • Named as a 2020 AZ Business Magazine and BestCompaniesAZ “Most Admired Company” for the fourth year in a row.
  • Named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Phoenix Business Journal from 2007–2010, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019.
  • Jennings Strouss attorney Lindsay G. Leavitt selected by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Valley’s 2020 Class of “40 Under 40” up-and-coming business leaders.
  • Jennings Strouss corporate and tax attorney, Brett D. Siglin, has been recognized by Opportunity Zone Magazine as a 2020 “Top 25 OZ Influencers” in the category of attorney.
  • Jennings Strouss attorney John J. Balitis, chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Department, has been elected as a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and has been ranked in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2020 as a top labor and employment lawyer.
photo of Norma Izzo

Norma C. Izzo

Jennings Strouss attorney Norma C. Izzo, a 2005 ASU Law grad who chairs the firm’s Family Law and Domestic Relations Department and the firm’s Associates Committee, has been voted the “Best Divorce Attorney” in Arizona Foothills Magazine’s 2020 “Best of Our Valley.” Izzo concentrates her practice in the area of family law and domestic relations matters, including complex litigation and asset division, business dissolution, collaborative divorce, mediation, arbitration, parent coordination, child custody and child support, and spousal maintenance.

“I was drawn to Jennings Strouss because of the diversity of practice areas and wealth of experience,” Izzo said. “If there’s a novel issue that arises in a case, there’s someone in the firm who has experience with it. The firm encourages and strongly supports my business development, and my partners look for ways to help me grow my practice. Jennings fosters an entrepreneurial spirit in a way that aligns with our personal visions of the legal practice.”

photo of Daniel Peabody

Daniel J.F. Peabody

“We are very proud of our deep Arizona roots and our firm’s role not only in the growth of Phoenix, but the state of Arizona as a whole,” said Teresie Zmyslinski, Jennings Strouss director of marketing and communications. “Like many successful businesses, we firmly believe our success is a direct result of the quality of the individuals who make up our firm from the most junior file clerk to the most senior partner.”

Daniel J.F. Peabody, a 2017 ASU Law graduate and associate at Jennings Strouss, focuses his practice on labor and employment law with an emphasis on preventing and defending discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination cases, and wage and hour audits.

photo of Ashley Mahoney

Ashley M. Mahoney 

“One of the reasons I was attracted to Jennings Strouss when deciding where I would start my legal career was the firm’s prestige that has been established through some of the firm’s notable alums, such as Arizona Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court justices, a U.S. attorney general, and a U.S. senator,” Peabody said.

Jennings Strouss is also pleased to welcome back ASU Law JD Class of 2018 graduate Ashley M. Mahoney, who started at the firm last week. She worked for Jennings Strouss as an intern in 2018.  

Julie Tenney

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law