Celebrating 120 years of the ASU Moeur Award

May 3, 2021

This spring, nearly 550 graduating Sun Devils will be recognized as Moeur Award recipients. This academic distinction and longtime tradition has been awarded by the ASU Alumni Association since 1901.

Undergraduate students with a 4.0 GPA who meet all the criteria receive the Moeur Award. To qualify, graduating students are required to earn all of their courses at ASU within eight consecutive fall and spring semesters with no transfer hours. This is the 120th year that the Moeur Award has been bestowed upon graduates, though it has not always been a scholastic honor. ASU graduates who receive the Moeur Award wear maroon stoles at commencement and convocation ceremonies. Download Full Image

In 1901, B. B. Moeur awarded two students, one female and one male, with the Moeur Medal for excellence in debate at the institution. Moeur was a Tempe physician and businessman who sponsored the award. His business ventures included serving as president of Southside Electric Light and Gas Co., and partnership in the Tempe Hardware Co. on Mill Avenue.

Moeur served as governor of Arizona from 1933 to 1937, and led the state through the Great Depression. In addition to his leadership in government and business, Moeur also was active in the community, serving eight years on the Tempe School Board and as a member of the board of education of the Tempe Normal School, the predecessor of Arizona State University.  

In 1902, the Moeur Medal transitioned to an academic honor. It was used to recognize the Tempe Normal School graduate with the highest average in all regular coursework during the two years prior to a student’s graduation. But just one year later, the award returned to an award for debate competition, which it remained until 1909.

In the years the Moeur Award served as a debate award, the recipient was chosen at an annual debate competition that occurred between students at the University of Arizona and the Tempe Normal School. In 1903, Tucson’s Arizona Star newspaper published that the University of Arizona had won that year’s debate by less than a point. The Moeur Medal was given to L. M. Laney, who the judges described as “admirable from every point of view.” 

In 1914, Moeur officially outlined the criteria for his award. Many of the standards he set that year have remained in place. In the early 1900s, the Moeur Award was given exclusively to one student, and now, all undergraduate seniors who meet the criteria receive the award.      

Moeur, in an outline of the Moeur Award qualifications from 1914, shared, “It is my desire and promise to make such provisions for the future as will make the Moeur Medal a permanent annual award to the student having the highest average scholarship in the Tempe Normal School of Arizona.” The ASU Alumni Association has helped continue this promise throughout 120 years.

“The ASU Alumni Association has been honoring the legacy of Dr. Moeur and awarding this distinction to recognize graduating students who have achieved and maintained a high level of academic excellence throughout their collegiate experience at Arizona State,” said Christine K. Wilkinson, association president and chief executive officer. “The Moeur Award honors graduates for their outstanding academic performance and celebrates this significant accomplishment.”

Macey Sierka

Student assistant, ASU Alumni Association

ASU grad shows all students that they belong

May 3, 2021

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

During her time at ASU, Tasmia Alam worked to show all ASU students that they belong, that their mental health is supported and that resources are available for their well-being.  Tasmia Alam portrait ASU grad Tasmia Alam. Download Full Image

Alam, born and raised in Phoenix, is graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education, focusing on English.

Outside the classroom, Alam was committed to education in the realm of mental health. She was the committee chair for education and training for Devils 4 Devils, a student-led community that is dedicated to improving the social and emotional well-being of students and the community.

“I was trained in teaching students and staff the importance of empathy, how to respond empathetically, as well as what actions to take when someone has expressed their struggles. My job was to promote as well as provide the training to student organizations to staff and different colleges within ASU,” she said.

Alam said that her favorite part of working for Devils 4 Devils was the members. 

“We are all so supportive of each other and are working together to achieve a shared goal of promoting and advocating for mental health resources at ASU and beyond,” she said. “We are all very collaborative, and that sense of belonging is what makes me enjoy working with Devils 4 Devils!”

Alam feels proud of having studied abroad and deepened her knowledge and research about education while living in another country. She is looking forward to the future and to experiencing another place in grad school. 

Alam spoke with ASU Now about her time at ASU, what advice she’d give to current students and what the future looks like for her. 

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: My “aha” moment arrived quite early: third grade to be exact. I used to be always helping others, editing papers, correcting spelling and grammar and watching relief on my classmates’ faces as their hard work paid off with a decent grade. At that moment, I realized that getting people where they needed to be, to teach them and watch them grow as a learner, really gave me a pep in my step. Hence, the decision was made. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Going to the study abroad fair and picking out a program helped further change my perspective on the type of educator I aspired to be. I went to Finland for a little over two weeks and was able to truly immerse myself into learning more about education as well as the educational approaches that the teachers practice. 

Learning more about what education looks like outside of the classroom and the country taught me how big the world truly is. Seeing that there are so many different possibilities out there made me more excited about the future!

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: To be honest, I wanted to stay close to home, and ASU was 15 minutes away. I also thought ASU was a cool university to go to, given the multitude of resources and opportunities that they provide for their students.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Professor Blasingame; he taught ENG 471. He would always be authentic and always checked in on each and every student. He taught me to be excited and to make the most out of everything in life and to do everything you wanted. Because in the end, you will end up where you need to be.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Seize any opportunity that tugs at your heart. College is all about exploring, and none of us have it all figured out. Take every opportunity that interests you and excites you, and explore more about what you want to do and who you want to be. It’s the best time to figure out what you want, who you are and how you function. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? 

A: It is definitely really hard to pick just one favorite spot, but whenever I had a bad day I would always just sit at the Hayden Lawn or head to the Secret Garden. I loved the Secret Garden because once you’re down there, it’s completely quiet and usually empty, which is the perfect place to think about life. Other than that, I use the Hayden Library to study and the Memorial Union when hanging out with friends!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I’m going to be doing a huge coming-of-age move to New York, where I will be getting a master’s in secondary education online at NYU while teaching full time at a school!

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Definitely climate change. I believe that is one of the most pressing issues right now, given that it is time-sensitive.

Written by Austin Davis, ASU Student Life

Hannah Moulton Belec

Digital marketing manager, Educational Outreach and Student Services