ASU Law welcomes its most highly credentialed and diverse class

August 18, 2020

Ranked a top seven public law school in the nation and No. 24 among all law schools according to U.S. News & World Report, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University continues to be a premier choice for law school students around the country.

Continuing its streak, ASU Law welcomes its most highly credentialed class for the third year in a row. The incoming fall 2020 Juris Doctor students have a median LSAT score of 165 and a median GPA of 3.83, ASU Law’s highest ever and up from last year’s 164 and 3.81. man wearing see through mask speaking to class ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester presents to students in-person and via Zoom at orientation ahead of classes starting Aug. 19. Download Full Image

The class is also the most diverse in ASU Law’s history with one-third identifying as students of color.

The group hails from more than 100 undergraduate institutions, 40 states and seven countries, with more than 60% from outside Arizona. Forty-seven percent of the students are women and more than 10% identify as LGBTQ. In addition, nearly 30 students are the first in their immediate family to graduate college.

On top of setting records for entering credentials and diversity, ASU Law again broke its record for JD applications at more than 4,700, a 28% increase over last year, while nationally applications remained nearly flat.

“While these numbers are impressive and drive us to continue our growth as one of the nation’s best law schools, I am even more humbled by the magnitude of students wanting to be a part of ASU Law in these unprecedented times,” said ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester. “The current health and economic conditions of our country, and the state of Arizona, put pressures on our students that no class has had to face in recent memory. Our faculty and staff are working hard every day to provide our incoming students with the most exceptional law school experience possible – in the way they feel most comfortable. That is why we are giving every student the choice of how they want to participate through in-person classroom experience (ASU immersion), online (ASU Sync) or a hybrid of both. The safety of our students, faculty and staff continues to be our top priority, and we look forward to making this a strong year.”

A total of 265 students will be taking first-year JD classes, and every first-year JD student is awarded a scholarship once they are admitted. Students have the opportunity to tailor their education with over 250 unique courses and several programs and externships to match their interests.

students being taught and physically distancing in a classroom

Incoming ASU Law students had the opportunity to participate while physically distancing and wearing masks during orientation sessions before classes begin Aug. 19.

ASU Law also offers nearly 50 student organizations, many appealing to diverse personal and career interests. These organizations include the Asian Pacific American Law Students, Black Law Students Association, Diverse Students Coalition, Environmental Law Society, Federalist Society, Women Law Students’ Association, and many others.

For individuals who want to expand their knowledge of the U.S. legal system and enhance their career opportunities without becoming an attorney, ASU Law offers a one-year Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree. The MLS program enrolled 31 new MLS students and over 200 MLS online students. The MLS graduate program continues to identify trending industry needs to provide students with new focus areas of legal study, such as contract management, corporate and health care compliance, construction law and Indian gaming and self-governance law programs, all without becoming a lawyer.

The Master of Sports Law and Business program that blends sports, law and business welcomed 54 new students, including those who are part of the Veterans Sports Law and Business program. Additionally, the Master of Laws (LLM) program welcomed six new students.

More than half of incoming students in all of ASU Law’s master's degree programs identify as people of color and over 60% are female. Fifty-six percent also hail from out of state.

Julie Tenney

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

ASU Art Museum receives $250,000 Art for Justice grant to support groundbreaking exhibition

August 18, 2020

ASU Art Museum has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc. for the implementation of the upcoming exhibition “Undoing Time: Art and Histories of Incarceration,” opening in fall 2021. 

This groundbreaking exhibition will trace the history of art and images that have contributed to the entrenched cultural belief systems associated with the criminal justice system today. “Undoing Time” considers the foundational roots of confinement from philosophical, sociological, theological and art historical perspectives to better understand the fact that today’s mass incarceration crisis was centuries in the making. The exhibition will analyze historical images of incarceration and put them in direct conversation with newly commissioned works of contemporary art. Image credit: Jeremy Bentham, "Plan of the Panopticon" in The Works of Jeremy Bentham vol. IV (Edinburgh- William Tait, 1838-1843), 172-3. Image credit: Jeremy Bentham, "Plan of the Panopticon" in The Works of Jeremy Bentham vol. IV (Edinburgh- William Tait, 1838-1843), 172-3. Download Full Image

“The generosity and vision of Agnes Gund and the Art for Justice Fund is making possible an unprecedented opportunity for the ASU Art Museum to partner with 12 extraordinary artists and co-create an exhibition that examines how the history of art has perpetuated certain narratives and obscured others with relation to our modern-day understandings of incarceration," said Miki Garcia, director of the museum and co-curator for the exhibition. "James Baldwin wrote, ‘The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.’ Inviting scholars, community members and artists into the making of this project, the exhibition seeks to contribute critique histories and offer new possibilities and imaginations for the future.”

“Undoing Time” is co-curated by Garcia, curator Heather Sealy Lineberry, LACMA-ASU Curatorial Fellow Matthew Villar Miranda and curator Julio César Morales, and features artists Carolina Aranibar-Fernández, Juan Brenner, Raven Chacon, Sandra de la Loza, Ashley Hunt, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Michael Rohd, Paul Rucker, Xaviera Simmons, Stephanie Syjuco, Vincent Valdez and Mario Ybarra Jr.

The Art for Justice Fund’s spring 2020 grantee cohort includes over $14 million in funding to 47 artists and advocates focused on ending mass incarceration. This amount includes $2.5 million in emergency public health funding to address COVID-19 in prisons, jails and detention facilities. 

“Our mission to decarcerate remains ever urgent, particularly for Black and brown communities,” said Helena Huang, Art for Justice project director. “Our investment in this cohort continues to challenge the notion of who is incarcerated and why, fight excessive sentences and eliminate the discriminatory barriers people face when they return home. Many of our grantee partners work across these areas and across the divisions of art and advocacy, which is a more powerful way to scale up and shore up change.”

The full list of spring 2020 grantee partners span four categories of work:

  • Keeping people out of jail and prison.

  • Shortening excessive prison sentences.

  • Improving reentry into the community.

  • Changing narratives about criminal justice.

With Art for Justice’s support, grantees will work to close prisons and create community alternatives for youth, raise awareness of the needs of women who are incarcerated and children who have incarcerated parents, and implement campaigns to change criminal justice policies and practices at the state and local levels. Learn more about Art for Justice.

The ASU Art Museum was previously awarded a $125,000 planning grant from Art for Justice to conduct initial research for the exhibition. 

For more information on the museum, visit