The Arizona State University community mourns the passing and celebrates the life of Dana Ault, a committed ASU employee who dedicated her 36-year career to service to the university. Ault died unexpectedly on Oct. 25, 2020.
Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Ault came to Arizona as a college student, earning a business degree from the University of Arizona and going to work for ASU shortly thereafter. In an interesting twist, the UA grad shifted her allegiance and became a devoted Sun Devil, while her sister, an ASU grad, moved to Tucson and became a diehard Wildcat fan.
In 1986, Ault joined the ASU Foundation as financial director, where she helped advance the organization’s mission and brought an abundance of financial knowledge to the foundation. Her former supervisor Lonnie Ostrom said the entire team enjoyed Ault’s warm and welcoming personality.
From the ASU Foundation, Ault joined the W. P. Carey School of Business in 2004, serving as the senior fiscal services manager for alumni affairs. In 2007, she became the director of fiscal business services for University Student Initiatives and later in November 2009, when Enrollment Services was formed and housed within the Office of the Provost, Ault was appointed to lead its fiscal and business operations.
For more than a decade, under her leadership within Enrollment Services, Ault led the fiscal services team through budget projections, purchasing and human resources. Throughout her tenure, the university experienced significant enrollment growth while maintaining budgetary discipline — thanks largely to Ault’s creativity and steadfast fiscal leadership.
Vice President for Enrollment Services Kent Hopkins said of Ault, “She always showed genuine care for the people she worked with and was interested in what was going on in their lives.”
Hopkins, who was Dana’s supervisor, said he’ll miss her knack for overcoming any challenge.
“Whenever we needed to find a creative solution, I could rely on Dana to figure it out and get the job done. She never gave up and always worked with positivity and grace. I dearly miss her presence.”
Respect and honor for those she met
Quick-witted. Positive. Generous. Caring. Someone you could speak plainly to. These are all phrases that Ault’s family, friends and colleagues use to describe the type of person she was. But the two that seem to come up the most are “supportive” and “nonjudgmental.”
At her celebration of life, held at the Secret Garden on the Tempe campus on Jan. 16, a longtime friend said that Ault once gave her a bracelet made out of plastic bags recovered from the ocean because Ault understood her friend’s passion for the environment.
“She really respected and honored who you were,” her friend said.
Alexa Ault, Dana’s daughter, said her mother respected and cared for so many people at ASU and had wonderful stories and memories about her friends there.
“The ASU family had touched her life,” Alexa said, “and our family is so appreciative of that.”
A lasting effect on friends and colleagues
Along with Alexa, Ault raised a son, Eamon, and made a life in the Phoenix area, but she traveled often. Her journeys often returned her to Boulder to visit family and friends. During her last trip there, she shared a fried chicken dinner with her niece — just a normal meal and conversation, but a dinner that her niece said Ault made so memorable.
She will be remembered by friends and colleagues at ASU as someone who could do just that — bring joy to an ordinary workday and make it feel memorable for those with whom she shared it. As one friend said, “After being with Dana, you always walked away feeling better.”
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