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ASU alum honored by White House as 'Champion of Change'

April 23, 2013

The White House has honored ASU College of Public Programs alumnus Ian Danley as one of 11 Cesar Chavez “Champions of Change.” This champions awards program, “A Legacy of Service: Organizing for Immigration Reform,” honors those who embody the spirit of Cesar Chavez’s legacy and commit themselves to working in their communities to advocate and organize around immigration-related issues.

Danley, who earned his master's degree in public administration from ASU’s College of Public Programs, is a community leader and community organizer whose work for nearly 10 years has been directing leadership and college preparatory programs for local urban youth at Neighborhood Ministries. He has mobilized community members to advocate for immigration reform through his organization, and as a board member at Promise Arizona. Additionally, Danley was elected last November to the Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board. 

Earlier this spring, Danley and approximately 100 individuals have campaigned for citizenship by knocking on 1,000 doors and making 4,500 phone calls, encouraging others to contact their congressional representatives. In March, his youth campaigners participated in a town hall with Senator John McCain and they met with Senator Jeff Flake last December, in support of the two Arizona Senators’ leadership serving on the Immigration Reform committee.

Danley’s extensive public service record within the Greater Phoenix community underscores the vision of ASU’s Spirit of Service Scholars Program, administered by the College of Public Programs. Unlike most scholarship programs, the Spirit of Service Scholarship focuses on the extent to which a student is committed to helping others. The program annually provides real-world learning, mentorship, networking opportunities and funding to exceptional students from diverse backgrounds who wish to pursue careers in public service. Danley was a member of the 2010 cohort while pursuing his master’s degree at ASU.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Ian Danley,” said Jesus Cera, program manager of public service initiatives with the College of Public Programs. “This award honoring Ian for his leadership and service in the community is richly deserved, and is proof that our scholars are out making a difference.”

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature groups of Americans – like Danley – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities to embrace the challenge of creating and preserving public goods.

“I am just one of many service leaders banging the drum for an exciting and historic movement for justice in the United States,” Danley said. “Our message is for our leaders to support a fair and accessible road map to citizenship that will take years, not decades. We need community people to be part of the process.”

Danley was unable to attend the March 26 White House event honoring the “Champions of Change” award recipients, but he said he was humbled by the recognition. 

“I am a little embarrassed that I was nominated for this, because there are many individuals who are working day and night who are personally affected by the immigration issue."