Hear from successful real estate entrepreneur

Jerry Coleman, co-founder of several Arizona real estate businesses, keynotes ASU event honoring him for Spirit of Enterprise Award

October 26, 2020

Jerry Coleman, the serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in real estate and a passion for developing and growing companies on a national scale, has been named the winner of the 2020 Spirit of Enterprise Award. 

Coleman, co-founder Offerpad, will accept the award on Tuesday, Nov. 3, during a virtual event hosted on Zoom. Spirit of Enterprise is part of the Economic Club of Phoenix event series, presented by Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business. Offerpad co-founder Jerry Coleman Jerry Coleman. Download Full Image

Now in its 24th year, Spirit of Enterprise honors Arizona’s best companies and entrepreneurs for creating jobs, boosting the economy and delivering outstanding customer service. While the company founder doesn’t need to be an ASU alumnus or have any affiliation with the university to be considered for the award, Coleman received his accountancy degree from the W. P. Carey School of Business in 1997.

“With daunting economic and social challenges facing our nation, leaders must push American businesses forward to create jobs and economic growth,” W. P. Carey School Dean Amy Hillman said. “I’m proud to recognize a local business leader and a W. P. Carey alum for his commitment to driving opportunity and prosperity in Arizona’s workforce.”

Coleman co-founded Invitation Homes (one of the pioneers in the institutional single-family rental industry) and Alliance Investment Group (which has acquired and developed over 10,000 acres of land in the Southwest) and co-founded Elevation Home Energy Solutions (a leading provider of residential energy solutions across the U.S.) in 2014.


In 2015, he co-founded Chandler, Arizona-based Offerpad, a premium real estate tech innovator that revolutionizes how people sell and buy homes while eliminating the stress and uncertainty of traditional real estate transactions. Through each of these ventures, he strives to provide more opportunities and jobs for the local economy.

“There’s never been a greater need for innovation in real estate and the energy sector. Job creation is also extremely important in the current environment,” Coleman said. “We are deeply focused on both of those things as we build great companies and support entrepreneurs and innovators. These areas will continue to drive progress in our communities and beyond.”

A key event in the annual Economic Club of Phoenix calendar, the Spirit of Enterprise Award will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3, from noon to 1 p.m. Arizona time (2 to 3 p.m. EST), live on Zoom. Tickets are available to nonmembers for $50.

Journalists can RSVP to attend the virtual event from noon to 1 p.m. on Nov. 3. One-on-one interviews with Coleman are possible before and following the event. Email press@offerpad.com for more information.

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business


New classes in the School of International Letters and Cultures shine light on sustainability

October 26, 2020

Principles of sustainability are the focus of four courses that will be offered this spring through the Italian program in Arizona State University's School of International Letters and Cultures.  

Most of the classes are new to ASU and they arose independently of one another, reflecting a broadening prioritization of sustainability across multiple academic disciplines. Though the courses are taught by faculty from the school's Italian program, they are open to students from a variety of majors and can satisfy undergraduate general studies requirements, such as global awareness and humanities, arts and design.  
 Principal Lecturer Chiara Dal Martello, left, stands with undergraduate student Bianca Navia at the top of Mt. Etna in Sicily, Italy, in June 2018. Principal Lecturer Chiara Dal Martello, left, stands with undergraduate student Bianca Navia at the top of Mt. Etna in Sicily, Italy, in June 2018. Download Full Image

For example, students in “Natural Disasters: Environmental and Cultural Resilience” taught by Principal Lecturer Chiara Dal Martello will identify and analyze examples of Italian cultural resilience in the face of natural disasters. Students will learn from experts in numerous fields, from volcanology and disaster management to history and art, and examine a variety of texts, including scientific studies, personal narratives, films and newspaper articles. 

“Currently, there is a lack of science and culture courses that highlight the connections between science and humanities,” said Dal Martello, noting that these two areas have overlapped to form new fields, such as environmental humanities. “Students need to observe and study these connections in a real-world context.” 

The “Natural Disasters” course is the product of an innovative partnership between Dal Martello and Bianca Navia, a senior majoring in political science and global studies. Navia helped develop the course as part of her thesis project for Barrett, The Honors College. Navia and Dal Martello even spent two weeks conducting field work in Sicily in 2018. 

In-depth student involvement is crucial to the planning and success of each of these classes. Another course titled “The Mediterranean Lifestyle in Italy” taught by Associate Professor Juliann Vitullo offers students the opportunity to study abroad in Sicily for a week after the conclusion of the spring semester as part of a “Global Intensive Experience.” 

Vitullo said her course, which has previously been offered in several formats, caters to students studying food and health issues, as well as those who just want to appreciate the delicious cuisine of other cultures. 

“Many students in our course also want to investigate the connections between healthier food practices, questions of social justice, and a sustainable future for our planet,” said Vitullo, who is also the interim director of the Humanities Lab. “A more sustainable future requires us to protect both bio- and cultural diversity. We need to protect not only the flora and fauna of different ecosystems, but also the place-based knowledge, practices, and languages of the peoples who have deep roots in those territories.” 

The other two courses, “Italian Ecocinema,” taught by Assistant Professor Serena Ferrando, and “Sustainable Fashion,” co-taught by Senior Lecturer Enrico Minardi and Professor of Practice Dennita Sewell (who is based in the School of Art), are open to both undergraduate and graduate students. 

In Minardi and Sewell’s Humanities Lab course, they take a step back as instructors to allow the students to tailor their learning experience to their individual interests, in what they call a nontraditional approach to the learning process. 

Students become active learners and their goal is to imagine solutions to the problems the class is set to tackle — in this case, asking the question of how fashion can be sustainable, the two instructors said. Students research, create and propose new scenarios for a sustainable evolution of the fashion system.

This pedagogical sentiment is echoed by Ferrando, who invites students in all her classes to be enthusiastic and open to collaboration and creativity through experiential learning activities. 

“I very much enjoy collaborating with my students and involving them in creative research projects,” she said. “In fact, one of my main objectives as an educator is to help them transition from students to independent learners and young scholars who can contribute to communities on campus and beyond.” 

The School of International Letters and Cultures is excited to offer these innovative courses, which are part of a larger push to ecologize the school’s curriculum and to prepare students for the environmental and social challenges that lie ahead.

Kimberly Koerth

Content Writer, School of International Letters and Cultures